When I was younger, so much younger than today, a doctor with the interesting name of Alex Comfort published a popular book, which sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. It was called "The Joy of Sex". Perhaps slightly risky for the time, it even came with hand-drawn images of photographs.
But nowadays, with more than 63,000 Covid deaths in my state, Florida, and almost 1 million deaths nationally, a conservative author may leap forward to liberate us from another issue that grabs our attention. The potential writer might even take the pen name of Alec Freedom, to strike the right revolutionary tone. Mr. Freedom, an examplar of masculinity, will follow in the footsteps of Fox News hosts, radical doctors, and the freedom-loving Sunshine State.
Did you know that Florida is the freest state in the country? New Hampshire, the "Live Free or Die" state, might argue with that contention, advanced by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who said so, on New Year's Eve, when he was presented with a freedom award at a Christian concert in Miami.
Clearly, though, Fox News and their celebrity guest DeSantis believe freedom sells in ways that democracy may not these days. Ignore radical Republican sentiment at your peril, but Democrats, liberals, and even moderates need to realize that the emerging GOP chorus is fixed on freedom, suggesting advocates are busy pushing a modern-day "opiate of the masses". People are dying? Let's not discuss it. Folk are getting gravely ill or suffering long-term consequences from Covid. Hey, enough already. Get a life. Encouraging people to refuse to get Covid shots and boosters is the way we want to live, no matter the nuances involved in the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
Among other somewhat complex considerations, medical workers are exhausted. They are catching Covid, perhaps from patients who refused to get vaccinated. And hospitals continually get flooded every time we live through a spike in the potentially deadly disease. Does a nuanced response to this reality truly deprive us of our "God-given" freedom, as DeSantis argued at his New Year's Eve celebration?
The radical notion that some of us can do what we want and everything will be fine was advanced four and five decades ago when different issues mattered to Americans. Ronald Reagan, after "Evil Geniuses" laid the groundwork, knew what to do when he trounced President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election. Reagan said the government was the problem, and cried out for freedom, just as a merry band of joyous Republicans discusses Covid now.
Check it out, as the saying goes.
I suggest you start your tour by reading the Twitter feed of Christina Pushaw, the DeSantis spokeswoman who spent time in D.C. and Ukraine. She comes across as joyful when posting messages about Covid.
Pushaw, a California native who blames Democrats and liberals for destroying the Golden State, takes delight in knocking the mainstream media, liberals, socialists, communists, and other people who offend her view of freedom. Her enthusiasm towards attacks makes me wonder if she sees these different groups as one and the same. Pushaw even had the temerity to repost a Tweet attacking the CDC for not posting information about Covid treatment. Her attack came months after she sent me an email saying it was "great news" that Dr. Anthony Fauci and her boss agree that Monoclonal Antibody Treatment is an important part of protecting people from the devastating consequences of Covid.
Then there is Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford doctor who advises DeSantis. This tweet tells you how he sees the world. It says, "Lockdowners lament that we do not live in an authoritarian society focused on the control of a single infectious disease. Normal people fear that we do." What is the good doctor, who vowed to first do no harm, talking about? Who are the "Lockdowners"? Why does Bhattacharya cut corners by putting words in their mouths? He does that with these words, "Lockdowners lament that we do not live in an authoritarian society focused on the control of a single infectious disease." Lament not living in an authoritarian society? Really? To put a cherry on his Covid pie, the doctor concludes that "Normal people fear that we do."
Get it? Disagree with him and you are not normal, or maybe even abnormal. New York Times columnist David Brooks has warned about the rising tide of younger, radical Republicans who are on a seek and destroy mission. Brooks did this in a recent article in The Atlantic.
I'll end this sampling of contemporary pugilistic, radical Republican thought by mentioning Lisa Boothe of Fox News fame.
According to Mediate, "Lisa Boothe returned to the Fox News airwaves as guest host of The Ingraham Angle on Thursday after an absence of more than two weeks. Her appearance came three days after she suggested on Twitter that she had contracted Covid-19.
"In October, Boothe bragged to Dan Bongino on Unfiltered that she is unvaccinated and considers it 'a giant middle finger to Joe Biden's tyranny.' Until Thursday, Boothe appeared on Fox News five times, according to a Fox News spokesperson.
"A source had told Mediaite that Boothe would be hosting the Angle on Thursday night. After the handoff from Pete Hegseth who had guest-hosted Hannity, Boothe said, 'Let's go, Brandon,' a euphemism for 'f*ck Joe Biden' that has become popular among some conservatives.
"On Monday, Boothe strongly suggested on Twitter that she got the novel coronavirus:
"Add me to the natural immunity club. The initiation sucked, but the worst is behind me. "
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Steve Schneider lives in Florida. He writes articles for Humor Times, Democracy Chronicles, The Satirist and OpEd News.