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Former Republican Congressman Pete Sessions, unceremoniously booted out of office by an upstart Texas Democrat in 2018 and now linked to two Rudy Giuliani associates indicted for violation of campaign laws, is seeking a return to the House of Representatives with a simple, but simplistic, slogan: Do you want Freedom? or Communism?

communism or freedom

Not a choice for most Americans. Freedom, Yes. Communism, No!

But what do Sessions and the majority of the politicians in his party mean when they contrast communism with freedom? Aye, there's the rub, as the rubes purposely muddy the water.

To Sessions and other like-minded reactionaries, Communism in America apparently means: helmets for motorcyclists, seat belts for adults, and car seats for toddlers.

To Sessions and other like-minded reactionaries, Communism in America apparently means: helmets for motorcyclists, seat belts for adults, and car seats for toddlers. Freedom means the right to choose a helmet or not, buckled in or unbuckled, they're my kids and I'll decide if they need a car seat, and what kind.

Communism in America means consumer protection laws. Freedom means buyer beware.

Communism in America means social security, minimum wage laws, the eight hour day, the right to bargain collectively. Freedom means let the worker decide how to plan for old age, don't force small businesses to pay higher wages than they want, the boss determines the length of the work day, collective bargaining is a threat to free enterprise.

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Communism in America means environmental terrorism as the coal industry is shut down by EPA regulations. oil can't be pumped in certain places, and plastic bags are banned. Freedom means cheaper energy and the single-use plastic bag will be available.

Communism in America means non-discrimination in race, ethnicity, sex, and a flock of other categories. Freedom means interpreting the First Amendment's religion and free speech clauses so that each person and business have the right to discriminate as they see fit.

If communism means what Sessions and the other reactionary Republicans say it means, most Americans must be communists, for they define freedom in some way other than as a synonym for free enterprise.

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Ralph E. Shaffer

Ralph E. Shaffer is professor emeritus of history at Cal Poly Pomona. reshaffer@cpp.edu

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