Freedom to Love: A Valentine’s Day Op-Ed
by John Maelan, Communications Committee Member
Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! And I do mean everybody. On this holiday, we Americans celebrate the finest in human emotions: love. Now typically, when we put up all those hearts and flowers we’re talking about romantic love, and why not? After all, doesn’t love make the world go round?
Okay, okay, so complex gravitational forces involving the sun, moon, and other more subtle space/time factors cause the Earth to spin on its axis at an angle of twenty-three degrees for the past 4.6 billion years or so… but also love!
In any case, we all know love alone cannot grant human happiness. Happiness also requires at least one other element to fully function in harmony with love–freedom. As in, the freedom to pursue what makes one happy. Now, where have I read something like that before? Regardless, we also know that we are not all made happy by the same things. You like baseball, while I like Star Trek.
So, where does that leave love?
Thankfully, the old ways of arranged marriages have been largely done away with in America in favor of the freedom of choice. We choose who we love, and we profoundly hope they love us in return. And if they do return our feelings, and we are all consenting adults, happiness often ensues. So, hurray for the freedom to love!
But unfortunately, in this Trumpian age, even that freedom is under attack. I have to admit, it often frustrates me when I hear some MAGA Republican shout “FREEDOM!” from a rooftop. Why? Because they use the word so strangely. Freedom for who to do exactly what? We all know they oppose same sex marriage, the existence of transgendered people, and they are in favor of forced pregnancies… so where is this FREEDOM they’re talking about?
Naturally, we Democrats see things differently. We didn’t want Roe V. Wade overturned and we darn sure don’t want to see Obergefell v. Hodges (which grants the right for LGBTQ people to marry) knocked down. But these are perilous times for our freedoms. The hard won liberties gained in the last fifty years or so are being steadily eroded by a right-wing movement that thinks it has the wisdom to tell everybody who and how to love.
Scary times indeed. But, if we stand together, respect each other’s rights, and VOTE like our democracy depends on it, love will triumph over hate. So, this Valentine’s Day, let us not only celebrate our own, personal love, but respect the freedom of others to love as richly and deeply as we do.
In short, let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day like Americans.
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