I watched a four hour video rant of an astrologer whom I actually do appreciate – he was predicting the presidential election. He had some logic for thinking that the next president of the United States would be about freedom. I don’t remember which aspect he was reading but, I agreed as we are moving into the Aquarian age that freedom will become an important consideration in the coming months, years and century. Then he made a comment that was clearly not based on astrology but rather his own bias in interpreting the astrology. He said that Trump was more aligned with freedom. I thought that was interesting. He is not alone, many of Trumps supporters have rallied against mask mandates and decried their freedoms being restricted. Trump has said that he is running on a platform of Freedom and liberty.
Perspective also is an important consideration when evaluating alignment with freedom. I’m guessing asylum seekers at the Mexican boarder don’t feel as much freedom from this president as do white suburban Americans. Muslims and inpats on education and work visas are also experiencing much less freedom under Trumps administration. I’ve felt fortunate that some of these very restrictive policies don’t impact me as a white American citizen but I am hyper aware that many members of my Los Angeles community were not having the same experience. Shortly after the 2016 election, one friend legally changed her last name to appear less Jewish. Other friends formed groups to support people of color amongst our community – at the request of people of color within our community. One teacher in our school had to return to Canada when her visa expired and lost her job. Another parent in our school experienced her live-in nanny of many years be forcibly removed from the country when she went into a government agency to renew her visa as she had done many times before. Then as the Covid-19 pandemic began to rage – I too was grateful to be able to travel in March because the president had not taken the pandemic seriously and therefore not restricted my freedom but as I saw my mother and others become more and more fearful of the pandemic and restrict their own movement in response, I realized again that my experience was not everyone’s experience. A lack of collaboration and cooperation amongst leaders- with no unifying message created a less free environment for those who are vulnerable and had mixed information making them less able to ascertain where it is safe to move about. These are not experiences of freedom for these individuals and groups of people. They do not see Trump as aligned with freedom. The freedom he represents is an illusion. It’s for a small group of people and it has an opposite effect of restriction and un-safety for others.
To me though this is all smoke and mirrors. An illusion of freedom. On the surface we can say we are free to wear a mask or not. But on a more deep level we cannot say we are free from the virus until we over come it.
Freedom is related to safety. Trump supporters feel more safe when they have no restrictions on their gun ownership and when immigration is restricted. They interpret that as freedom. Those experiences of safety though actually impede on the freedoms of others. When I cannot enter a Target store without seeing a person with an AK47 on their back – I don’t feel safe. Sure I’m free to leave or free to join them but the very liberty that one considers essential to freedom feels unsafe to me. And the safety others feel when immigration is slowed or stopped takes away the freedoms of the immigrants and asylum seekers.
So – what is freedom really? If one persons freedom is anothers restriction – how do we experience freedom for all?
First I think we have to identify safety and fear. Those two seem to reflect freedom to different people. Like a mirror. We see safety reflected as freedom when actually it’s an entirely different thing. And feelings of safety have a lot to do with our ability or inability to confront fear. Safety also is about healthy boundaries and that may restrict some freedoms. These different weights on the scale of justice – of safety and freedom have to be untangled. In order to maximize freedom for all people it has to be balanced. One group cannot have all the freedom at the expense of others, if all are to be free.
We routinely take away the freedom of prisoners in order that everyone else may feel safe and therefore free. Laws determine the balance of safety vs freedom. If laws skew too much in either direction the balance is upset.
Healthy boundaries might look something like trigger locks on open carry guns in public. Or seatbelts in cars. There is still freedom for the carrier or driver but also a reasonable balance in order for others to retain their freedom to shop and ride along without fear for safety.
Masks during a pandemic is similar. If everyone wears one – all can be free to move about. If some refuse because they prefer to be free of a mask then others may feel unsafe and restrict their own movement in response. You may say – that’s their choice. Choices though come with consequences. They are also free to move about or not with a mask or not. But truly one is not experiencing freedom if one is forced to make choices because he or she feels unsafe. When that feeling of un-safety is unwarranted – then it should be checked and worked on. When that feeling of un-safety is based on practical wisdom then it is the freedom monger who should be checked for their lack of balance.
There was a meme going around that said – equal rights for others does not mean less rights for you – It’s not pie. There is enough for everyone. I agree and liked the pie analogy.
Freedom though, I’ve decided is like pie. If someone eats the whole pie, others go without.
Trump is not aligned with freedom for all people. White Americans are getting the greatest share of the freedom pie under his administration. Trump is only aligned with freedom for those getting the lions share of the pie and who haven’t looked up from their plate long enough to notice others going without. For this reason we saw 90% of black voters vote against Trump and other racially skewed voting stats. Everyone is entitled to their perspective but that doesn’t make it fair. And as for astrology, I was coerced into my own prediction for the election after realizing that bias had overwhelmed the astrological community. I predicted a Kamala win via Biden. I look at astrology a bit differently than most – looking at cards of destiny, using astrology tarot and the degrees of astrological phenomenon. ( you can find my pre election prediction on YouTube). I think my prediction does align with what the afore mentioned astrologer was seeing – if his freedom bias had been removed.