AMAC Exclusive – David P. Deavel
The made-for-television partisan January 6th Committee hearings have failed. Even the New York Times and Washington Post last week opened their opinion pages to columns that admit the hearings were done simply for the purpose of scoring political points. That last point might have been obvious from the beginning when the Democrats hired a television producer to choreograph this political spectacle. But what the columns admit is that they were also “tedious” and “wholly ineffective.” The ratings for the episodes were in the toilets and all the election polling for next month’s election shows the Democrats similarly swirling down the drain.
So, what next for the Democrats? Having screamed about the Orange Man’s danger to the country till they were blue in the face, only to face a yawning nation, will they now finally address the inflation and energy costs—all spiraling but in an upward direction? Will they commit to solving the border crisis that is now spilling over into all parts of the country? Will they repeal their promise to hire 87,000 IRS agents and make plans for more police officers and teachers? Will they assure American parents that they are not trying to destroy parental authority?
Far from it. Instead of taking any of these sane strategies, they are quadrupling down at the national, local, and state levels on their “progressive” policy aims that attack the American people’s ability to work in the way they want to do, live in a family home, and make decisions about their children.
Freedom to Work. At the national level, the Department of Labor has just proposed a new rule to replace a Trump-era rule about how to determine whether a worker is truly an independent contractor/freelancer or an employee who must be guaranteed greater benefits and legal protections. The Trump Labor rule looked at five specific factors but made two of them determinative: how much control workers have over their duties and whether the gig affords for profit or loss based on the person’s personal initiative or investment. The new rule will make the judgment determined on a “totality-of-the-circumstances” of the factors including the two named but also “permanency, the degree of control by the employer over the worker, (and) whether the work is an integral part of the employer’s business.”
The Reuters report on the proposed rule noted, significantly, that one reason this rule, which is being depicted as a return to a more traditional understanding of work, is so controversial is that it “incorporates elements of strict tests in U.S. states including California, which require companies to treat most workers as employees under state wage laws.”
Those strict tests from California are from the controversial AB-5 law, a gift to labor unions in search of new blood that has turned almost all freelancers from writers, salon workers, delivery drivers, and many of those working in entertainment into “employees.” This summer’s decision by the Supreme Court to refuse to take on a case challenging the state’s reclassification of truckers has meant that the 70,000 truckers in the state are in “legal limbo.” Given the supply chain issues bedeviling the country, this is a really bad time to propose making a national version of AB-5. But then again, it’s always a bad time for this decision that affects Americans’ ability to work in the way they want to work to care for their families.
There is no doubt American workers should be treated fairly, but there is also no doubt that many American workers choose freelancing because they don’t want to be tied down to a job. Most statistics show somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 million Americans did some freelancing in the last year. Many of them, like the California truckers, make a living supporting their families. Many of them are women, who like the ability to make money on their own schedule while caring for children or family members. Many are making extra money to help make ends meet or to save or invest. Democrats like to talk about opposition to the abortion license as a “war on women.” It’s not—but limiting women’s ability to control their own work through freelancing certainly is a war on women. And it’s a war on all of us who like the freedom to determine whether we want to work as freelancers or not.
Family Homes. We have written in this space about the Democratic and corporate war on single-family home zoning. Well, it continues on the local level. Like the attacks on the freedom to work, the attack on single-family neighborhoods is always proposed as a solution to problems and good for the people. But even a story in the Washington Post this week threw some cold water on one of the newest plans to get rid of the possibility of living in a family home in a neighborhood of family homes.
I say “one of” because the story itself links to reports of similar plans in both Gainesville, Florida, and Spokane, Washington, but concentrates on a proposal set to go before the County Board in Arlington, Virginia, where a lack of undeveloped land and a trend of tearing down smaller single-family homes to build much larger ones means that housing prices are increasing. Thus the plan is to create “missing middle” housing—multi-family units such as condominiums, duplexes, and even eight-unit apartment buildings that will allow people to affordably settle in Arlington.
Never mind that such units will create parking problems and distinct changes to what makes this northern Virginia town so attractive. They will also put tax pressure to sell on homeowners who will be incentivized to get out of the way of the condos or apartment buildings.
The irony in all this? All the available evidence suggests that getting rid of those single-family homes in Arlington won’t make it any more affordable to live in: “Outside consultants commissioned by the county say that on the lowest end, the plan would create small one-bedrooms going for about $416,000. Based on their calculations, those apartments would only be attainable for someone making about $100,000 a year — just above the median income for a one-person household in the D.C. area, or below it for a couple.”
There will be plenty of money in this for developers but not necessarily for families. And if enacted, what made this “leafy” and “sleepy” suburb so attractive will be gone. Trees, after all, will have to make way for those eight-unit buildings. Rather than deal with the barriers in the way of development of single-family homes or try to protect these neighborhoods, Democrats on Arlington’s County Board—and that’s the only Board members the Post quote—are all in on this bid for what even the Post seems to indicate will be some unaffordable affordable housing.
The Family. Sure, you may not be able to continue the work you’ve been doing and you may not be able to keep your family house, but there’s always the family, right? Well, in several states Democrats have been working hard to ensure that parents don’t have any say in what happens to their children who suddenly determine that they have been “born in the wrong body” and demand puberty blockers or even surgery to make their bodies “fit” the male or female image they have of themselves.
As with AB-5, California Democrats are leading the way on this path to destruction as well. At the end of September, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB-107, a bill that is being sold as defending parents’ rights to determine whether their children receive “gender-affirming care,” the euphemism for those dangerous chemical and surgical interventions to change the bodily appearances of those who suffer from gender dysphoria. But, as the Heritage Foundation’s Jay Richards and Alliance Defending Freedom’s Emilie Kao wrote in Newsweek, the law “mandates that doctors conceal a child’s medical information from parents if it is related to ‘gender identity’ drugs and procedures, even if that information is sought under a court-issued subpoena.”
Further, they write, the law allows doctors in California to treat minors in other states via telehealth, opening up the possibility of prescription of hormones for children across the country. It even gives California courts “the power to strip custody from parents, wherever they live, who doubt the wisdom of these experimental and irreversible procedures—if their child so much as steps foot in California.”
Think this is not coming your way? Margot Cleveland detailed in The Federalist this week that Proposal 3 in Michigan, a Constitutional Amendment crafted by Planned Parenthood and being sold by Democrats as an “abortion” amendment that simply enshrines the license afforded by Roe v. Wade, is actually much more radical: “Prop 3 goes far beyond the controlling Roe-Casey precedent: If passed, the constitutional amendment would create an extreme regime in Michigan of abortion on demand, at any time, for any reason, without informed or parental consent, and paid for by taxpayers.”
But the lack of parental consent for abortion is not even the worst part. What has been hidden, and which Cleveland shows through citing the language of the amendment verbatim, is that what is created is an absolute right for men, women, boys, and girls to puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and even castration or hysterectomies without any interference or, in the case of minors, any need for parental consent—which is present for all these things in current Michigan law. The Orwellian “reproductive freedom” in the Amendment’s language “entails the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to … sterilization … or infertility care.” Planned Parenthood, Cleveland notes, just started advertising their own service of providing puberty blockers for children.
And back in Virginia, Democratic Delegate Elizabeth Guzman has proposed a law that will prosecute parents who do not “affirm” their child’s transgender identity. “It could be a felony, it could be a misdemeanor,” Guzman warned, “but we know that CPS [Child Protective Services] charge could harm your employment, could harm their education, because nowadays many people do a CPS database search before offering employment.” How’s that for a threat?
There’s a reason all the polling is showing voters of all races and colors fleeing from the Democratic Party right now. Freedom to work, the stability of your neighborhood, and the ability to make decisions about your children’s mental and physical health: All these are at risk right now from Democratic politicians.
I don’t suggest those politicians go back to their failed get-Trump shenanigans. Rather, they should go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan altogether, one that gives less weight to union bureaucracies, big developers, and Planned Parenthood and more to the rights of the American workers themselves, the desire of Americans for a home that is a castle not a “unit,” and the rights of American parents to fulfill their God-given duties to raise their children.
David P. Deavel is Associate Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, and a Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative.
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