Snark Attack — Mike Pence’s Freedom Agenda

12 October Carp Tail (second version) Photo by Howard J.

Remember when I said I’d be talking to you about this Freedom Agenda soon? Well, here we are. The tl;dr version of Pence’s Freedom Agenda is this is the slightly kinder, gentler version of Rick Scott’s 11-Point Plan.

When republicans talk about a “freedom agenda” they’re not talking about freedom for everyone. Freedom is only for those who toe the line; the rest of us are just SOL.

Here’s part of the intro on the site:

Unfortunately, today American Freedom is under attack. Big Tech, Big Media, Big Government, and even Big Business have locked arms to advance a pernicious “woke” ideology designed to control the American people and destroy the American Dream. The ruling elites have never been more detached from the experiences of the average American – yet they have never worked harder to dictate what Americans can think, say, and do. They’ve already said, “You can’t go to work, you can’t go to school, and you can’t go to church.” They’ve exploited a pandemic to increase their power over our lives, and they aim to keep that power long after the pandemic is gone.

Mike Pence’s Freedom Agenda, intro

Who among us is currently being barred from going to work, going to school, or going to church? So how, exactly, are those bent on exploiting the pandemic to increase their power over our lives doing this long after the pandemic is gone? (And, yes, I know; the pandemic isn’t over yet. But most people are acting as if it is.) Which serves the point even more, because even while Americans are dying in numbers that are still too high, we’re all back at work, school, and church. So, again, where’s the control over our lives?

Big Tech, Big Media, Big Government, and Big Business are the villains who are trying to steal our freedoms, y’all! (Even though there’s no evidence whatsoever of any of them not letting people go to work, school, or church at the moment. Details, details!) You can be damned sure the Freedom Agenders are going to make them pay! Why, here’s Laura Ingraham now:

Unless you dispense forthwith with all this “wokeness,” you can expect to have your businesses ransacked by the “Freedom Agenders!” So much for their freedoms, huh? Remember when the GOP was the party of Big Business? Yeah, not so much anymore.

The Freedom Agenda is broken down into three sections: American Culture, American Leadership, and American Opportunity. Each section is divided up into a variety of different parts, and each part lists a number of points. Here’s an example, under American Culture:

Honor the God-given worth and dignity of all people.

Mike Pence’s Freedom Agenda, American Culture Section

I have a sneaking suspicion they’re not going to be talking about the worth and dignity, of, say, trans people or immigrants, or even the worth and dignity of women who seek an abortion…

Here are all the points under this section about honoring the worth and dignity of all people:

End federal taxpayer-funding for abortion once and for all.

End all taxpayer funding of the largest abortion provider in America – Planned Parenthood.

End the assault on faith-based adoption and foster care agencies that will only place children into families with one male father and one female mother.

Work with state and local governments, churches, and other non-profit organizations to promote adoption, foster care, and crisis pregnancy centers.

Support embryo adoption.

End all federal funding for destructive fetal tissue research. Support ethical, non-destructive research using adult stem cells.

Permanently ban foreign aid funding for abortions.

Mike Pence’s Freedom From Abortion Agenda, American Culture Section

Unborn babies seem to be the only people who have worth and dignity… What about the gay couples who want to adopt? Nope, you don’t have worth or dignity.

Yeah, it’s gonna all be like this, innit?

Celebrate religious freedom.

Allow religious leaders to publicly talk about politics and policy without retribution from the IRS.

Ensure that the Department of Justice and other federal agencies respect and do not interfere with our First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.

Prevent government agencies from placing unconstitutional barriers before religious organizations seeking access to disaster and pandemic relief.

Stand up for religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities around the world.

Mike Pence’s Freedom Agenda, American Culture Section

Basically, freedoms and rights for “we,” but not for “thee.” Churches — at least the ones who promote Trump and conservatism — will be allowed to mix politics into their sermons. Does anyone here think black churches will be afforded that same privilege? Why or why not? And when they talk about standing up for the religious freedoms and rights of religious minorities around the world, what they’re talking about is for Christians. No one else need apply for these protections.

I’m only going to highlight some of the rest of these, because we’d be here all weekend and into next week discussing all of these. And nobody wants that, especially when you find out what I have planned for you tomorrow. Bwahahahaha!

Promote patriotic education.

State and local jurisdictions should require high school students to pass testing on their knowledge of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Federalist Papers prior to graduation to ensure that high school students are graduating with a basic knowledge of America’s most important founding documents and ideals.

Reject the racism of quotas and set-asides. Insist on Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s admonition that we should all be judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin.

Teach Frederick Douglass’ “What the Black Man Wants” speech.

Oppose radical political indoctrination – including the teaching of anti-American racist ideologies like Critical Race Theory – in our schools and universities (as well as businesses and government agencies).

Support maximum curriculum transparency so that parents have all the information necessary to pick and monitor schools that best fit the needs of their families.

Mike Pence thinks republicans have a lock on patriotism, American Culture Section

Given what they’ve been saying lately, I sincerely doubt the majority of the republican caucus in Congress could pass a “patriotism” test on the Declaration, Constitution, and the Federalist Papers.

After skimming some of Douglass’ “What the Black Man Wants” speech, I’m wondering if Pence or anyone who helped him create this Freedom Agenda of his has actually read it.

I am for the “immediate, unconditional, and universal” enfranchisement of the black man, in every State in the Union. [Loud applause.] Without this, his liberty is a mockery; without this, you might as well almost retain the old name of slavery for his condition; for in fact, if he is not the slave of the individual master, he is the slave of society, and holds his liberty as a privilege, not as a right. He is at the mercy of the mob, and has no means of protecting himself.

Frederick Douglass’ “What the Black Man Wants” speech

There’s also this part, which sounds downright prophetic, given our experience of the past seven years. Sadly, the party which championed the rights of the black man has turned into what Douglass warned about:

I believe that when the tall heads of this Rebellion shall have been swept down, as they will be swept down, when the Davises and Toombses and Stephenses, and others who are leading this Rebellion shall have been blotted out, there will be this rank undergrowth of treason, to which reference has been made, growing up there, and interfering with, and thwarting the quiet operation of the Federal Government in those states. You will see those traitors, handing down, from sire to son, the same malignant spirit which they have manifested and which they are now exhibiting, with malicious hearts, broad blades, and bloody hands in the field, against our sons and brothers. That spirit will still remain; and whoever sees the Federal Government extended over those Southern States will see that Government in a strange land, and not only in a strange land, but in an enemy’s land.

Frederick Douglass’ “What the Black Man Wants” speech, that we totally didn’t read

Sound familiar? The only thing Douglass got wrong was that the malignant spirit of racism would be confined only to the South. Sadly, it has spread throughout our country.

We already saw that the GOP wants to end all quotas for hiring minorities, in the name of ending racism. Let’s compare and contrast the quotes from Douglass’ speech with the next points, about protecting freedom and democracy through election “integrity.”

Protect American freedom and democracy by ensuring the integrity of the democratic election process at all levels.

Mike Pence wants to help the GOP steal elections, American Culture section

You already know where this is heading, doncha?

Make in-person voting the primary method of voting, encouraged and supported by all levels of government and election administration. Mail-in voting should be rare and only for a very limited set of circumstances, with clear guidelines and procedures for requesting, receiving, casting, validating, and auditing mail-in ballots.

Always require voter identification.

Prohibit early in-person voting – when allowed at all – more than ten days before election day. [emphasis mine]

Mike Pence wants to help the GOP steal elections, American Culture Section

Eight states—California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Washington—allow all elections to be conducted by mail. So if the federal government is going to make mail-in voting “rare and only for a very limited set of circumstances,” then isn’t that denying these states their right to oversee their elections as they see fit?

Oh, and just for shits and giggles, we’re going to limit early in-person voting, as well. So imagine what it will be like in a county of about half a million people, where they’ve reduced the number of polling places to about 20-25 county-wide, trying to get most everyone to vote in person on election day and count those votes before midnight…

Hey, no worries! The lines will be so long that most people won’t get the chance to vote! How did Douglass put it again? “… he is the slave of society, and holds his liberty as a privilege, not as a right. He is at the mercy of the mob, and has no means of protecting himself.”

Only now, the GOP will see to it that it’s not just the black man whose ability to vote is hindered. They’re happy to spread that to other groups, like the elderly, or poor workers who can’t afford to take off the entire day to stand in line to vote.

Oh, and the bone they’ve tossed to women is this predictable one:

Save and protect women’s sports.

Mike Pence throws a bone to the wimyns, American Culture section

Yes, as a woman, the most pressing issue of concern to me is whether or not some person with one Y chromosome is competing against athletes with two X chromosomes. Forget that silly glass ceiling or anything like that.

American Leadership is all about the military and foreign policy. I’ll let you read that yourselves, but one of the points is fighting “wokeness” in the US military. Because of course.

There are more points than this under American Opportunity (like they’re going to build that wall!), but this is the biggie:

Limit government, empower federalism, and respect individual liberty and economic freedom.

Reform the federal spending process to make it easier to cut spending, harder to increase spending, and impossible to fund something that has not first been authorized by Congress.

Write laws to give maximum control over spending and regulatory decisions to legislators and not to judges or bureaucrats.

End the gamesmanship around government shutdowns by automatically continuing federal spending at current levels when Congress or the President misses spending deadlines.

Reverse federal overreach by ceding rightful authority back to the states.

Sell or donate millions of acres of federal land to the states.

Restore the division of governmental responsibilities between the federal government and the states so that, as often as possible, the federal government merely supports state and local management and execution.

Protect federalism by requiring agencies to assess and report how their actions will impact states’ rights.

Oppose excessive use of eminent domain and enact legislation to ensure that property owners are fairly compensated when the government deprives them of the use of that property.

Advance state and local authority over common shared resources, public lands, and water rights.

Allow longer timeframes for Congress to disapprove a rule issued by a federal agency.

Oppose any form of federal land-grabbing and fight every type of overreach by the federal government that encroaches upon the ability of states and private property owners to cultivate the land and care for our waters. Legislation or agency actions which seek to continually extend federal control over land and water, such as the 30×30 plan, should be rejected if they threaten private property rights.

End the COVID national emergency and return freedom to the people.

Oppose federal mandates (such as vaccination and mask requirements) and empower states and localities to respond to the needs of their residents.

Reform the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which mismanaged guidance on testing, surveillance, masks, and social distancing.

Ensure accountability by making it easier to hire and fire government employees.

Support judges who will uphold the Constitution’s governing principles and the rule of law. [emphasis mine]

End the adversarial role the government takes against law-abiding citizens and end the IRS’s attacks on nonprofits.

Mike Pence’s Contract on America, American Opportunity section

Unless those judges are black female lefties, amirite?

Okay, you can read and discuss the rest amongst yourselves in the comments.

For tomorrow, you have homework, if you so choose. What I mean is this: my feature for Sunday’s column will be discussing a film noir (or noir-adjacent) movie that TCM broadcasts in their “Noir Alley” feature, which airs tonight (during the Saturday/Sunday overnight, they usually start around midnight-ish.) Tomorrow’s movie airs at 12:45 AM eastern and then again at 10 AM. (All times Eastern. You’ll have to do maths to figure out when it airs in your area.) If you don’t get TCM or don’t have cable, never fear! You can usually watch these films on Amazon, YouTube, Netflix, or wherever all those who don’t have cable watch movies. Tomorrow’s film is called “Pitfall,” produced in 1948, starring Dick Powell, Lizabeth Scott, Jane Wyatt, and featuring Raymond Burr. So do be sure to join me back here tomorrow for all that noir goodness!

As always, this is an open thread; feel free to discuss anything you like. Stay snarky, my Blender peeps!

About the opinions in this article…

Any opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this website or of the other authors/contributors who write for it.