Reviews | The definition of freedom in Florida

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Regarding the press article of March 19 “The law requires a calculation of mental health”:

How Florida’s Baker Law, which unwittingly (without parental consent) committed thousands of children deemed mentally ill in one way or another, implements Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ claim (R) that Florida “is on the front line in the battle for freedom”?

Mr DeSantis rails against the ‘biomedical security state’ which has used science to try to control the worst pandemic since the 1918 flu. Florida, along with other Southern states, ranked highest higher in coronavirus death rates than blue states, including California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Massachusetts, which were affected before a vaccine became available. Floridians have the freedom to go to bars and restaurants, but are they safe from fear of infectious disease?

The Florida legislature is about to ban all abortions after six weeks gestation. What freedom does this give women? Denying LGBTQ identity (“don’t say gay” laws) and banning books from school libraries doesn’t strike me as a freedom.

Mr. DeSantis’ “framework for freedom” might be good for a subset of Floridians, but it won’t benefit many in this state and certainly not the country as a whole.

Deborah Schumann, Bethesda

Dan Balz’s Sunday, March 19 column on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (right), “DeSantis Plays on America’s Divisions as He Prepares for 2024,” included several quotes from Mr. DeSantis using the word freedom: ‘freedom citadel’, ‘keystone freedom’ and other states relegating ‘people’s freedom to the dustbin’.

I looked up the word freedom in my dictionary. Unless the definition has changed, here’s what it actually means:

a) Exception or freedom from the control of another person or arbitrary power.

b) Exemption from arbitrary restrictions on a specific civil right, political freedom.

I’m surprised someone who has attended both Harvard and Yale has such a distorted understanding of such a powerful word. Mr. DeSantis seems to think this means his freedom to restrict the liberty of Florida citizens with whom he happens to disagree on an arbitrary basis.

Back to school, Mr. DeSantis, but maybe not in Florida.

Karoleen Schäfer, Annapolis

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