Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Freedom???

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | July 17th, 2019

There Seems To Be A Lot Of Confusion About What Freedom Is!
At a recent conference of the evangelical Christian’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Chairman Ralph Reed, long a hard worker for the Moral Majority’s Jerry Falwell, had the freedom to proclaim this about our president, the Manhattan Village Idiot: “We have had some great leaders! There has never been anyone who has defended us and fought for us, who we have loved more that Donald J. Trump. We have seen his heart and he is everything he promised he would be, and more!” How could a “good Christian” like Ralph profess love for an illiterate psychopath who only loves himself? When will Ralph and his crowd, who dream of dominating a white Christian nation, realize they have been used by a charlatan who worships only himself, a man who has no guiding principles or morals?

Professor John Fea of Messiah College, the author of “Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump,” also has the freedom to pass this idea along: “They don’t see this at all as hypocrisy. They believe that Trump is appointed by God for a moment such as this. They believe that God uses corrupt people—there are examples of this in the Bible so they’ll call upon these verses. They truly believe that God works in mysterious ways. He uses even someone like Donald Trump to accomplish his will.” Will the average evangelical ever believe that “super genius” Kim Vladimir Trump has used them simply to win a personal victory, that he is completely void of any Biblical principles? Or did they vote for him because they are actually just Southern white racists, KKKs, and supremacists in the end? The worship of Trump by “religious” people is beyond bizarre.

Freedom was the subject of a recent Fargo Forum column by Anna Enright. She voiced the usual platitudes about freedom in the first couple of paragraphs—but then veered and crashed into right-wing politics. She writes: “Freedom is not a government handout or mandate.” In reality, paupers, the sick, the physically and mentally handicapped all the way to billionaires have received handouts from democratic governments for ages. That’s how we take care of each other in a complex society. Enright has to remember that half the population has an intelligence quotient of 100 or less due to genetics, accident, heredity, and often bad luck. We all need care at certain times in our lives—even the One Percent who have been lucky and have lived on the economic mandates created by themselves because they have a majority share in political power at the federal level. OSHA is an example of a mandate created by a democratic government to protect workers from injury and death on the jobsite. We owe that to each other.

Enright writes: “Freedom is not free college or student loan forgiveness.” Over the last decade legislatures, responsible for funding education in their states, have been actually cutting tax support for K-12 and higher education. Minnesota under Republican Governor Tim “Toolittle” Pawlenty and Republicans have created a situation where parents with a median income cannot send their children to higher education without assuming huge debts. While income for the middle class has stagnated in the country for three decades, over 44 million Americans—including many seniors on Social Security--have a student loan debt that is now well over $1.6 trillion. Tuition goes up every year.

Sixty years ago as a poor farm kid I went to Moorhead State Teachers College without a dime of assistance from my parents and worked my way through four years to a BA in English Literature, my favorite reading and writing hobby. I had a few contacts in landing jobs because I played both football and baseball, but I cleaned dorm bathrooms for my alleged “scholarship.” I remember saving $120 to pay for my first two quarters of college. Now Minnesota students leave college with an average $33,000 student loan debt and often have to live in their parent’s basements to make the monthly payments. The University of Minnesota costs over $20,000 a year. It’s no longer realistic to work your way through anymore, particularly with such low minimum wage patterns. I believe universal freedom will exist only when state taxes pay for the higher education of all students capable of performing at that level. What a tremendous benefit for society! Education determines freedom.

Enright writes: “Freedom is not a one-size-fits-all universal health care system. Instead, it is a less-regulated medical market that results in more doctors, more competition and more independent clinics that give patients options to seek out the best care at affordable prices.” How many accident victims call from the ambulance for the best medical deal in town? The problem today is the unconscionable greed of any business associated with health care. Unregulated drug prices have allowed drug companies to gouge U.S. insulin users ten times what insulin costs in border and other countries. Insulin inventors 100 years ago sold their complete patent for $3. In 1996 Eli Lilly charged $21 an insulin vial. Today they charge $275!

Because of intense lobbying a bought Congress has banned the importation of cheaper drugs. Drug companies have run amok over high prices—with the approval of the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA just approved the sale of Zolgensma, a drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy in babies, for the world’s highest drug price of $2.1 million for a single treatment! Novartis claims the treatment is worth between $4-5 million. The claim brings up the question: what is a human being worth? There are other one-treatment drugs that are also priced for other planets: $850,000 for one shot of Luxturna a treatment for blindness; and $475,000 for a single shot of Kymriah, a cell therapy treatment for leukemia. There are other rare-disease drugs that have an annual cost exceeding $1 million.

The Federico Cavatore family’s experience with health care and insurance is a very common microcosm of what is happening to families around the country under our current medical “system,” if one dare call it that. The insured Houston, Texas couple had twins early, so they had to be placed in an intensive care neonatal unit. One twin thrived, the other did not. After a dozen operations, one died in the hospital when seven months old. Even with pretty good health insurance, the family received one bill that totaled over $1.1 million. After three years they are still receiving bills for medical supplies, copayments and deductibles, and hundreds of calls from bill collectors. The family has spent thousands of hours arguing with the insurance company over the bills. If we had a single-payer universal care plan and charged each person in the United States 25 cents we would raise $82.5 million to cover rare diseases. Every developed, industrialized country in the world has some kind of universal care except us. We have a large portion of people in this nation who say they follow Christian teachings. Health care evidently is not covered in the Bible.

Enright repeats the Republican stand on abortion: “Freedom for a woman facing an unexpected pregnancy is not abortion.” First, who is going to provide the women with the $286,000 it is going to take to raise that child to age 18? Enright writes: “Community, family, and friends can provide her with the encouragement and practical help she needs to joyfully give birth to her little boy or girl.” Gee, isn’t that sweet? The Republican Party has passed over 200 laws in the last three years seeking to criminalize personal decisions around abortion. These laws create untenable choices for poor women, crime victims, those who have failures with contraceptives, and those with fetuses who have medical complications such as no brain development. At least nine states have passed laws that will greatly impact the health of women with a dangerous pregnancy. Georgia just passed HB 481 which criminalizes anyone who performs or assists with an abortion, anyone seeking an abortion, and anyone who might even assist driving the patient to an abortion clinic. Some states have no exceptions for victims of rape, incest, or domestic violence. Doctors performing an abortion in Georgia will go to prison. Freedom in the case of abortion means that an ob-gyn doctor and the pregnant woman have the absolute choice. Alabama law holds that life begins at conception. Does a fertilized cell on a uterus wall equal a Michelangelo? One in five pregnancies end in miscarriage. Four out of eight babies born have IQs below 100. Think about the odds. A question to fundamentalists: why didn’t a perfect God make perfect babies?

Enright continues her right-wing rant in the Forum: “Freedom is not ‘taking a knee’ during the National Anthem.” I spent eight years on active and reserve duty in the United States Marine Corps so Americans could take a knee during the National Anthem any damn time they feel the government is doing something to restrict their freedom. North Koreans and Chinese who take a knee end up in reconstruction camps or dead.

Her reference is to Colin Kaepernick, the black football player who is protesting the treatment of minority races in the U.S., particularly the blacks who have been here since the 17th Century. Certainly relationships between whites, reds, yellows, browns, and blacks have changed over the four centuries, but equal treatment has never been reached at this point.

I’m going to use a few stanzas of “Let America Be America Again,” a poem written by my favorite black poet Langston Hughes in 1936, to illustrate why Kaepernick is still protesting the treatment of minorities in 2019—and why racial discrimination has lasted over 400 years. Colin needs a lot of freedom to take a knee.

“There’s never been equality for me, nor freedom in this ‘homeland of the free.’
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart, I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land, I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek.

And finding only the same old stupid plan of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am a young man, full of strength and hope, tangled in that endless chain
of profit, power, of grab the land! Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!

Of work the men! Of take the pay! Of owning everything for one’s own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil, I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all. I am the people, humble, hungry, mean-
Hungry yet today despite the dream. Beaten yet today-O Pioneers!

I am the man who never got ahead, the poorest worker bartered through the years.
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came to build a ‘homeland of the free.’
O, let America be America again-the land that never has been yet-
And yet must be-the land where every man is free.”

RECENTLY IN

Gadfly

Tracker Pixel for Entry HarborHealthClinic Tracker Pixel for Entry HPR Sales Tracker Pixel for Entry HPRONLINE Tracker Pixel for Entry TAK

Recently in:

MOORHEAD - As a young boy growing up in Kurdish-controlled Iraq, Jahwar Salih played soccer and tennis, dreamed of a college education. Those dreams were smashed after he turned 16; he picked up an AK-47 and joined the Peshmerga to…

By the time Butch Patrick was cast with the iconic role of Eddie Munster the wolfboy son on the classic television program “The Munsters,” he was a seasoned child actor. Starring in television roles on such programs as…

Best Bets

​Lick Narson

by HPR Staff

The Aquarium, 3rd Ave & BroadwayWednesday, October 23, 9 p.m.-2 a.m.The talented songwriter, local favorite and DJ hosting the Cult of Lick EP launch party. Electronic dance music but now striking out in new directions. Our…

Last week we had the opportunity to attend the Climate Change Forum at Standing Rock High School in Fort Yates. If there was one word to describe the experience it would be inspiring. Tribal elders, Executive Director of…

American Health Care—From Tropical Paradise To the Bottomless Muddy MuckWe have the best medical care in the world for the 10% who can afford it and the worst care for the bottom 90% among the Organization of Economic Cooperation…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

By Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comThe unassuming old truck shop on First and University is now frying up Funky Fried Chicken for Fargo. Their menu features chicken tenders and sandwiches with a selection of sides like pimento…

Music

10 years of vinyl

by HPR Contributor

By Jill Fikelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comDean Sime has been collecting records since he was in sixth grade. Since then, he hasn’t stopped. Though he stopped working in a music store twenty years ago, he has spent the last ten years…

Admirers of previous television and film incarnations of Charles Addams’ legendary collection of macabre icons have another variation to contemplate, but the computer-animated feature from “Sausage Party” directors Conrad…

Arts

Folk arts make happy hearts

by HPR Contributor

By Lonna Whitinglonna@lonna.coNot long ago at a North Dakota nursing home located in Nelson County, a storyteller from The North Dakota Council on the Arts helped an elderly woman express in writing an important milestone from her…

By Michael Str!kemichaelstrike.solo@gmail.com“No one moves to Fargo to become a professional actor,” she said, but after starting Theatre B with her husband and a core ensemble of performers almost 18 years ago; Carrie…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

The famous 20th century Southern writer William Faulkner quipped, “Civilization begins with distillation.” Technically one brews beer instead of distilling it, but the sentiment still holds true. Fargo is no stranger to the…

Wellness

Yoga on the Farm

by Ryan Janke

Every Thursday evening during the month of June, Mara Solberg is inviting people to come out and try Yoga on the Farm. It is a unique yoga experience that was born from an idea that was proposed to Solberg.“I’ve been with Red…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

By William Southworthwsouthwo@cord.eduThe United Kingdom has a new boss. Considered to by some to be a British counterpart to Trump, Boris Johnson is riding a wave of political discontent with a can-do attitude and bubbly stage…