Contrasting Freedoms

Listening to Republican National Convention speakers and GOP talking heads covering the convention, I have been struck by the stark contrast between the ideas being expressed by today’s GOP and President Franklin Roosevelt’s now famous “Four Freedoms” speech.

FDR believed in four core freedoms for a vibrant democracy:

  1. Freedom of speech and expression;
  2. Freedom to worship;
  3. Freedom from want; and
  4. Freedom from fear.

These freedoms have formed the bedrock of Democratic values in America since FDR delivered his inspirational speech.  Today, the Kansas Democratic Party still holds dear the freedoms FDR so eloquently captured.

In contrast, today’s GOP, both nationally and in Kansas, espouse a very different notion of freedom, based not upon lifting our society up together, but a vision based on freeing individuals and corporations from accountability and responsibility.

The freedoms espoused by today’s GOP could best be described as:

  1. Freedom from facts;
  2. Freedom to discriminate;
  3. Freedom from regulations; and
  4. Freedom from responsibility.

This can be seen at the national and local level. Just yesterday, Mitt Romney’s pollster Neil Newhouse said that the Romney campaign would continue running false attack ads that fact checkers and Governor Brownback have declared to be demonstrably false.  It seems ignoring facts is the first tenet of the Republican Party.

Here in Kansas we see more of the same from the GOP.  Republican Sec. of State Kris Kobach came under fire this week for comparing same-sex unions to drug abuse in an attempt to justify the GOP’s discriminatory platform that opposes same-sex unions.

Finally, Governor Sam Brownback’s irresponsible tax plan undermines any sense of shared responsibility among Kansans. The governor’s plan actually raises taxes on low-income working Kansans while giving massive tax breaks to special interests and the wealthiest Kansans.  This plan also ignores the state’s main responsibility – providing a quality education to every Kansas student.  Governor Brownback made the largest cut to public education in Kansas history and then chose tax breaks for millionaires over more teachers in the classroom.

Remember this Republican mindset next week when watching the Democratic National Convention.  I will be at the convention along with Democrats from across the country.  And we will continue working to fulfill FDR’s belief that together Americans can achieve a more perfect union through respect and a sense of shared responsibility.

Joan Wagnon
Chair, Kansas Democratic Party

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