Fundamental freedoms at risk…
Now that the Fourth of July parades are over and the fireworks have faded, all Americans must ask themselves a critically important question:
Are our sacred fundamental freedoms, individual liberties, and civil rights being eroded under President Trump?
The unfortunate answer is YES.
Trump is leading the USA further away from democracy and closer to the dungeon of despotism, which directly contradicts America’s core values.
Every patriotic American must confront the daily reality that life pre-Trump has dangerously degraded post-Trump, on Independence Day and every day.
As Trump occupies the Oval Office without winning the popular vote, the possibility remains that he’s actually an illegitimate president who may have been elected with the helping hand of ruthless Russian leader, Vladimir Putin.
National polling by the Pew Research Center, Gallup (Gallup_Press), and the Washington Post all paint a problematic portrait of how most Americans view their country in the post-Trump era.
According to Gallup polling:
“This Fourth of July marks a low point in U.S. patriotism.”
- “Fewer than half of U.S. adults are extremely proud to be Americans, something that had not been seen in the prior 17 years Gallup has asked the public about its national pride.”
- 54% of white Americans say they are “extremely proud to be an American” compared to 39% of all college graduates, and 33% of non-whites and people aged 18–29.
According to Pew Research:
- A June poll showed that 60% of Americans said Trump has “not too much” or “no respect at all” for the nation’s traditions and institutions of democracy.
According to The Washington Post polling:
- “We came away with an image that is largely negative or deteriorating. Americans are less proud of their country and the way its democracy works, and they show persistently weak trust in government and many major institutions.”
- “Last fall, a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll found 36 percent of Americans saying they were ‘not proud’ of the way democracy works in the United States. That was twice as high as the General Social Survey found in 2014, when 18 percent said they were not proud, and four times as high as in 2002 (9 percent).”
These results are due, in whole or in part, to Trump’s trend of trampling on truth, popularizing propaganda, polarizing the political system, placing personal interests above the national interest, and touting his tyrannical temperament.
It’s a disturbing reality that even as the USA celebrates 242 years of independence, we find our nation governed by (arguably) the most tyrannically-minded president in American history.
This statement is not farfetched. Rather, it’s been substantiated time and again by President Trump’s own words and deeds.
Trump coddles dictators while alienating America’s allies worldwide.
Trump has also rolled back civil and human rights protections for the most vulnerable among us. He’s expressed alleged racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic views which are unorthodox, unpatriotic and un-American.
Trump continues his childish temper tantrums publicly calling a free and independent press, “The enemy of the people” — despite being a staple of the First Amendment.
Consider the verbatim language in the Declaration of Independence about resistance to tyranny, a potentially bad omen for the Trump presidency:
- “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
- “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.
- “When a long train of abuses and usurpations…evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
As we ponder the Declaration of Independence let’s remember that it was a declaration against the bonds of a tyrannical government. Moreover, the Founding Fathers wisely foresaw the possibility of this perilous predicament emanating in the USA at some point, despite a nation deeply rooted in democracy.
Back then, the tyranny of government was represented by the King of England, whereas today we bear witness to the tyranny of Trump.
The American President acts more like a king by asserting executive fiat over Congress and “we the people” whom he purports to represent.
And let’s not forget the painstaking irony of how Trump persistently tried to prove the illegitimacy of his predecessor (Barack Obama) in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. But now it turns out Trump’s presidency might be illegitimate due to Russian election meddling in 2016.
The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee just confirmed what the greater national intelligence community has been saying all along:
Russia definitely sought to undermine the 2016 presidential election by favoring Trump while actively discrediting Hillary Clinton.
The only people still casting doubt on this foregone conclusion are President Trump and Vladimir Putin. Is this merely a coincidence?
It should be evident by now that Trump’s attitudes and actions are unbecoming of an American President, which raises more alarming questions, such as these:
Is the USA’s grand “experiment with democracy” in jeopardy under Trump? Is America on the verge of crossing an ominous red line into a democratic danger zone?
American Dream vs. Nightmare
To quote op-ed columnist Dana Milbank of The Washington Post (“The fight against Trump is a battle for freedom”):
- “Much of the country fears the loss of basic freedoms under President Trump: free speech, press and religion, due process and control over their bodies.”
- “On this 242nd birthday of the United States, let’s rededicate ourselves to freedom. Trump, meanwhile, foments fears among his followers of crime, gangs, immigrants and civil servants.”
- “And Americans of all beliefs fear they are losing the American Dream and its promise of economic mobility.”
This last point about the fading American Dream is buttressed by a 2017 study of the Pew Research Center, which found the following:
- “Overall, [only a minimal] 36% of U.S. adults say their family has achieved the American dream, while another 46% say they are on their way to achieving it.”
- “Whites (41%) are more likely than blacks (17%) or Hispanics (32%) to say they have achieved the American dream.”
Also, consider the following from The Washington Post editorial board (“The real meaning of America First”):
- “History makes it all the more difficult to understand why the president of a nation that long ago set itself against tyranny now praises and consorts with so many unsavory national leaders in Europe, Asia and the Middle East — ”
- “Some of them outright dictators, some imposing authoritarian schemes to the extent they can get away with it, some inflicting brutal repression on their enemies — and just about all of them profiting handsomely from their positions.”
But don’t tell that to Trump, who is no student or fan of American history or world history (the exact opposite of so many other successful U.S. presidents).
As philosopher and essayist George Santayana famously noted about understanding world history: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
As another Independence Day comes and goes, it’s important to reiterate that freedom and equality beget liberty and independence — rather than being mutually exclusive.
Equality for all is a key factor in guaranteeing the promise of the American Dream. Yet it’s stupefying that Trump doesn’t appear to recognize these redeeming values which are intrinsic to the American ideal. Trump brandishes the American flag on one hand, while trampling on citizens’ fundamental freedoms on the other.
Nothing could be more ignominious, unpatriotic and un-American, whether coming from the White House or your neighbor’s house.
No American President in modern times has assaulted the Constitution on so many fronts in such a short span as Trump. How could any American who hasn’t fallen victim to Trump’s lies and propaganda think otherwise?
It’s enough to make the Founding Fathers roll over in their graves on Independence Day or any given day.
What do YOU think?
Previously published on Medium.com
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