Letters to the editor

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‘Illinois Valley News’ encourages letters to the editor provided they are legible and not libelous or scurrilous. All letters must be signed, including name, address and telephone number. The latter need not be published, but will be used to verify authenticity. The “News” reserves the right to edit letters. Letters are used at the discretion of the publisher.

(Editor’s Note: Views and commentary, including statements made as fact are strictly those of the letter writers.)

So what does this word “Freedom” really mean? Clearly, to a slave it means the end of captivity and to most people the antonym would be “Oppression”, perhaps by the state or other organized body. In the halls of Congress we hear about a Freedom Caucus, implying that there is a subgroup of representatives who are protecting our personal rights, liberties and freedom against tyranny from some deep state.
However, as citizens we should also have a right to freedom from fear, either imposed by an angry group or individual. Does a person armed with a semi automatic weapon roaming in a public place cause fear? You bet it does. Do people have the right to be free from this fear? Sadly they don’t because the right to threaten others takes precedence. Freedom seems to mean that you get to do what you want and we have to accept your right to do it.
Women no longer have the freedom to control their own bodies because the state has taken it away. The very people who shouted loudest about demanding “freedom” and “liberty” are the ones who impose their agendas outlawing any form of terminating a pregnancy. An example of this is the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian legal advocacy group that works to curtail rights for LGBTQ people; expand Christian practices within public schools and in government; and outlaw abortion. Does freedom mean that you have the right to force your beliefs on everyone else? Seems more like oppression.
In many states, Oregon included, there is a process of “Initiative and Referendum” whereby the citizens have a process for challenging an overreaching law or by initiating needed legislation. This also occurs on a local level as we have seen with recent measures concerning codes and property law. Unfortunately we have no such pathway on a national level; no National Referendum for the citizens to decide on national issues. There is overwhelming support for stricter gun laws and a woman’s right to choose but no way for the decision to be put up to the people. Instead we see a small handful of judges, Senatorial and Congressional representatives making decisions contrary to the will of the people. Is this “Freedom”?
Robert Hirning