As Democrats are slowly coming to terms with the opinion polls (showing their radical progressive policies are in opposition with most Americans), re-branding is becoming their new priority. As part of an attempted re-brand, they are now trying to turn from the blue state lockdowns and mandates, censorship of conservative speech, and the Biden administration’s hyper-regulations. They are now claiming the “freedom” mantel from Republicans. This is clearly not a change of heart, but pure electoral politics.
From The Washington Post: “Anat Shenker-Osoria, a liberal communications consultant, said Democrats can’t politically afford to give away the concept (of freedom). In her research, she’s found that ‘freedom’ is the top value Americans associate with this country across race, gender, and geographical lines.” While it’s heartening to see the Democrats wake up to this reality, their understanding of freedom is not what most middle-class Americans would recognize. Let me explain.
First, it is critical to understand the importance of freedom as the unifier of Americans as a distinct people. We are a nation of immigrants, without the same kind of ethnic and racial unifying characteristics as most countries throughout the world. Freedom has held Americans together from the foundation of the nation, as we proclaimed freedom as our top value in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evidence, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among those rights are life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. The primary job of the government is to protect our freedom. When I was deployed overseas, my personal motivation to put my life on the line was for the protection of freedom.
As a general told a group of us going to Afghanistan, “man has a duty to die free.” Such a true statement! Freedom is worth fighting for and dying for as life means nothing without it. The Republican Creed concludes with “I am a free America”.
While the Democratic leadership can attempt to pivot to this new “branding,” they just don’t get what freedom means. Former White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer provided Democrat leaders with a “freedom” policy plan called “American Freedom Agenda.” Pfeiffer noted internal party polls showing freedom “is a powerfully persuasive message” and so they must adapt to survive. Unfortunately, many of the so-called “freedoms” Pfeiffer advocates are anything but freedom. According to Pfeiffer, a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, immigration reform, and spending to stop climate change are alleged American “freedoms.” Further, enhanced background checks and “an assault weapons ban” becomes “personal freedom,” according to Democratic elites. Pfeiffer even goes so far as to claim “DC Statehood” and Democrat “Voting rights legislation” are freedom.
Of course, we all know government flexing its coercive power in regulations is the antithesis of freedom. Certainly, infringing on the right to bear arms (in direct opposition to the Second Amendment) is the opposite of freedom. The creation of dependency on government programs may feel good for a time, but it’s like calling a prison a model of freedom because it provides free food and shelter. George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm don’t hold a candle to this kind of political spin.
The bottom line is that Democrats are just repackaging their political big government and progressive social policy under the word “freedom” because they learned most Americans love freedom. Ironically, of all the freedoms under attack in America, the greatest danger comes with the ongoing attack against freedom of speech. The recent growing progressive attempts to censor free speech among conservatives are most disturbing. The epitome of this came with the recent attempt to create the Homeland Security Disinformation Board. Also, think of the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal story by big tech and media. The suppression of conservative speech on university campuses, the increasing attacks on the freedom of religion, and particularly orthodox Christianity, are just a few examples of this troubling trend. None of this is part of the Democrats' plans for “freedom.” It’s a ruse, and they know it.
As the Democratic leadership realizes, Americans do hold freedom as a top American value. Repackaging Democrat big government progressive ideology under the word “freedom” doesn’t make it true. Americans are not stupid. Without agreement and unity on the concept of freedom, America ceases to be a nation in the truest sense of the word.
Bill Connor, a retired Army Infantry colonel, author and Orangeburg attorney, has deployed multiple times to the Middle East. Connor was the senior U.S. military adviser to Afghan forces in Helmand Province, where he received the Bronze Star. A Citadel graduate with a JD from USC, he is also a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Army War College, earning his master of strategic studies. He is the author of the book Articles from War.