The theme for this year’s annual Warren Fourth of July Parade is Liberty. That theme will undoubtedly invoke sarcastic and political floats mocking elected and appointed leaders.
Here is how Merriam Webster defines the word liberty:
1. the quality or state of being free: a: the power to do as one pleases.
b: freedom from physical restraint. c: freedom from arbitrary or despotic (see despot sense 1) control. d: the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges.
2. a: a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant: privilege.
b: permission especially to go freely within specified limits was given the liberty of the house.
Here’s another definition:
The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior, or political views.
It’s hard to square those basic definitions with last week’s heinous, extremist, highly politicized decision by the United State Supreme Court striking down Roe v Wade, the settled law of the land for almost five decades.
It’s hard to square that definition with a court ruling, which will – in some states -- basically turn women and their reproductive systems into breeding stock with no access to reproductive choice, contraception or in many cases, the critical health care needed to save their own lives.
Look at some of the words in those definitions of liberty. “The power of choice/autonomy.” It’s hard to square that with this despotic ruling that cites Matthew Hale, an English judge who lived from 1609 to 1676 and supported burning witches and also the concept that men rightfully controlled women.
How incomprehensible and beyond measure for the women who fought for the right to control their own bodies and make such personal and private decisions to see their granddaughters lose that right.
We’re lucky in Vermont that reproductive autonomy is the law of the land but we can’t ignore 52% of the population of our country. Warren Fourth of July Parade participants will not be shy about how they respond to this travesty in their float building.
We all need to respond to this travesty.
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