The WØRD – “Freedom”

From the chair:

Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt laid out this nation’s core principles 83 years ago, in his 1941 State of the Union speech given even as a totalitarian dictator, Adolph Hitler, was assaulting democratic freedoms across Europe.

Too often, we take freedom for granted. But it under assault today by leaders of the Republican Party:

  • Attacking free speech by banning books, calling anyone who speaks out against them Socialists or Marxists or Communists; and re-writing history by banning the teaching of anything that makes them uncomfortable;
  • Attacking freedom of religion by demanding all of us live under their religious beliefs and promoting discrimination against non-Christian faiths;
  • Attacking freedom from want by slashing the social safety net that guarantees basic subsistence: food and shelter, and demanding cuts in Social Security;
  • Attacking freedom from fear by instead stoking fear with claims of crime waves when, in fact, crime has been going down for the last two decades – and claiming without foundation that Democrats want to defund the police when it’s Republicans who call for defunding the FBI … and adding to fear of devastating illness by opposing guaranteed access to healthcare.

Republican leaders demand that government make medical decisions for women over the objections of the women and their doctors.

They fight against free-and-fair elections with outrageous gerrymandering, voter purges targeting minorities and young people, limiting the number of polling places in Democratic-leaning locations, and seizing control of elections so that elections are controlled by gerrymandered legislatures.

Donald Trump has even gone so far as to say publicly that he’d use the Department of Justice and FBI to indict and jail anyone who spoke out against him. That’s what they do in Russia, North Korea, Iran and China. It’s what Stalin, Mussolini and Hitler did to seize and hold onto power in the run-up to World War II.

Democrats stand by FDR’s Four Freedoms. Republicans do not. That fact is mirrored by the record of our Governor and Legislature this year, a year in which dozens of bills have been signed into law advancing the Four Freedoms, many strongly opposed by Donald Trump’s Republican Party.

As Coretta Scott King has told us, “Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.

We must never take our freedom for granted, or we will lose it.

Joining the podcast this week is Representative Helena Scott, chair of the state House Committee on Energy, Communications, and Technology.

Rep. Helena Scott (D-Detroit)

Rep. Scott is a former organizer and longtime labor and social justice community activist. She was appointed to serve on the House Democrats’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Planning Committee and the House Committee on Committees. Scott graduated from Marygrove College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and political science.

As the lead organizer for Southeast Michigan Jobs with Justice, she spearheaded a petition drive to gather over 5,000 signatures for the One Fair Wage ballot proposal initiative. More recently, she served on the Steering Committee to Protect and Defend One Fair Wage. Her sister-in-law, former Detroit City Council Pro Temp Brenda Scott, fostered her passion for service.

Scott’s commitment to the community led her to volunteer and serve on many boards and organizations. Formerly, she was an executive board member for the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the Detroit League of Women Voters, and vice chair of the Michigan Democratic Party Black Caucus. Currently, Scott is a vice chair of the 14th Congressional District and was recently elected to serve as the vice chair of the Detroit Caucus. Additionally, she serves as the chair of the bicameral Legislative Care Caucus and the historian of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. Before joining the Legislature, Scott worked in the airline industry for over 20 years as a sales and service instructor. She also worked for her predecessor, former Rep. LaTanya Garrett, as her community liaison.

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