February 8, 2015

The Irony Board: Personal Freedoms

Gee, the Republicans are running into a bit of backlash on their whole "people have the right not to vaccinate their kids" talking points. That whole personal freedom thing is a little more complicated that they thought, it seems.

For a while now, the R's have inserted little lines into their state party platforms, like this excerpt from the Texas GOP platform in 2014:
All adult citizens should have the legal right to conscientiously choose which vaccines are administered to themselves, or their minor children,without penalty for refusing a vaccine.  We oppose any effort by any authority to mandate such vaccines or any medical database that wold contain personal records of citizens without their consent. 
Obviously, personal freedoms, particularly personal medical freedoms, are very important in Texas and in many other red states.

The same folks who believe that people have the right to vax or not vax don't seem to have any problem with kids who are not vaccinated hanging out with other kids in school, day care centers, playgrounds, Chuck E Cheeses, bounce houses and birthday parties and all the rest, even if the personal choice of a parent can in fact jeopardize other people's children. And when there is no way of knowing whether the kids present have been vaccinated or not.

And there's no legitimate reason for the government to jeopardize anyone's right to participate in society, to go freely about their lives as a citizen, exercising their personal freedoms, right?

So where on the personal freedom continuum, do some of these typically Republican-supported ideas, regulations, and strongly held beliefs fall?
  • Limiting the right of a person to vote, by reducing hours at urban polling stations, or requiring government-issued ID to allow a person to vote, but not automatically issuing said government ID (and vehemently opposing a national ID card), or not allowing a person to leave a voting line once they're in it, or other foolish steps that have been taken under the guise of preventing virtually non-existent in-person voting fraud in America? (Joe Biden would have said 'literally non-existent' and he wouldn't have been far off.)
  • Forcing women to undergo invasive medical procedures like trans-vaginal ultrasounds? 
  • Keeping people on life support against the wishes of the patient and family?
  • Extending benefits to one class of Americans that you would refuse to pass to another class of Americans because they exercised their own personal freedom of speech?
  • Declaring that judicial candidates must have a 'biblical' world-view but also insisting that certain religions assimilate or referring to them as a 'cancer' ? 

Chris Christie, who put a healthy, symptom-free Ebola worker in a plastic bubble in New Jersey, until she could leave the state (and go into forced quarantine in Maine), apparently doesn't see the irony between that action and his statements in England about 'personal choice' when it comes to vaccines.  But if he was right on Ebola, can he also be right on vaccinations?

Well, of course, silly! As the blustery,belligerent Governor of New Jersey, he has the right to protect the people of his state.

And as a blustery, belligerent potential presidential candidate, he has to protect the state of the people on the Right.