Opinion | Watching our erosion of freedoms makes it hard to celebrate this Fourth of July

The Troubling Erosion of Freedoms: A Reflection on This Fourth of July

On Independence Day 2023, the core values that America was built upon – justice, equal protection of the laws, and the pursuit of happiness – are all under threat. The Supreme Court, conservative governors, and gerrymandered state legislatures are working together to erode fundamental rights and freedoms, creating a dangerous divide among Americans. This divide is growing rapidly, pushing us further away from the ideal of equality that our nation was founded on.

One of the most significant setbacks came with the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which overturned a constitutional right that had been in place for almost 50 years. Since then, 14 states have completely banned abortion, and Georgia has banned it after just six weeks of pregnancy. Meanwhile, 20 states have strengthened protections for abortion rights. This disparity is just one example of how U.S. courts and state legislatures are advancing inequality in countless ways, from allowing discrimination against same-sex couples to restricting medical care for transgender individuals.

The solution to these injustices lies in federal legislation, but it requires Democrats to regain a House majority and elect senators who are willing to abolish the filibuster. The stakes are high, and action is needed to protect the promises that America holds dear.

Here are the key areas where congressional action is urgently needed:

1. Voting: Some states have made it significantly harder to vote than others. Congress should pass a national law on ballot access and election protection, setting minimum standards for mail voting, early voting, and voter ID. This would address issues such as partisan gerrymandering and interference with election workers.

2. Abortion: Congress should codify Roe v. Wade, ensuring that the right to abortion is protected nationwide. The current situation, where access to abortion varies greatly from state to state, infringes on personal privacy and self-determination. It also violates the First Amendment’s promotion of respect for all religions.

3. Guns: The Supreme Court’s Bruen decision has undermined state regulations on guns, leading to a race among states to loosen gun laws. This has resulted in higher rates of homicides and suicides in regions with lax laws. Congress should take action by implementing universal background checks, raising the minimum purchase age to 21, establishing a waiting period, and banning assault weapons.

4. Electoral College: The Electoral College has proven to be an undemocratic system, allowing presidents to be elected without winning the popular vote. This has led to an unbalanced Supreme Court, with conservative justices appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote. Congress should consider a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College, ensuring that every vote counts and promoting a fair and representative democracy.

It’s time to recognize that red and blue states are not separate entities, but rather part of a united nation. We must stop pretending that the actions of one state do not affect others. Guns and people seeking abortions cross state lines, and we are all in this together. Congress and the courts should be protecting our rights and promoting equality, rather than allowing some states to have more democracy and freedom than others.

The future of America’s core values and the well-being of millions of Americans are at stake. It’s time for action and for our elected officials to stand up for justice, equality, and the pursuit of happiness for all.
The Troubling Erosion of Freedoms: A Reflection on This Fourth of July

As we gather to celebrate the Fourth of July, a day that symbolizes the birth of a nation founded on the principles of liberty and justice, it is crucial to reflect upon the troubling erosion of freedoms that we are witnessing in our society today. While we commemorate the bravery and sacrifices of our founding fathers, it is disheartening to observe the gradual erosion of the very freedoms they fought so hard to secure.

One of the most concerning aspects of this erosion is the encroachment on our right to free speech. The ability to express our thoughts and opinions without fear of retribution is a cornerstone of any democratic society. However, in recent years, we have witnessed a growing trend of censorship and suppression of dissenting voices. Whether it is through the silencing of individuals on social media platforms or the labeling of certain viewpoints as “hate speech,” we are witnessing a dangerous narrowing of the boundaries of acceptable discourse.

Equally troubling is the erosion of our right to privacy. In an increasingly digital world, where our lives are intertwined with technology, the protection of our personal information has become paramount. Yet, we find ourselves living in an era where government surveillance programs and corporate data mining have become the norm. Our every move is tracked, our private conversations monitored, and our personal information sold to the highest bidder. This erosion of privacy not only infringes upon our individual freedoms but also undermines the trust necessary for a functioning society.

Furthermore, the erosion of religious freedom is a cause for concern. The United States was founded on the principle of religious tolerance, where individuals are free to practice their faith without interference from the state. However, we are witnessing a growing intolerance towards certain religious beliefs and practices. Discrimination and prejudice against religious minorities have become all too common, undermining the very fabric of our diverse society.

Additionally, the erosion of economic freedoms cannot be ignored. The ability to pursue one’s economic aspirations and enjoy the fruits of one’s labor is a fundamental aspect of individual liberty. However, we are witnessing a growing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few, while the majority struggle to make ends meet. The erosion of economic freedoms not only perpetuates inequality but also limits the opportunities available to individuals, stifling innovation and progress.

As we celebrate this Fourth of July, it is imperative that we confront these troubling erosions of our freedoms. We must remember the sacrifices made by our founding fathers and the principles upon which this nation was built. It is our duty to protect and preserve the freedoms they fought so hard to secure.

To address these erosions, we must engage in open and honest dialogue, challenging the status quo and advocating for change. We must hold our elected officials accountable, demanding that they uphold the principles of liberty and justice that this nation was founded upon. We must support organizations and individuals who fight for our freedoms, whether it be through legal battles or grassroots activism.

In conclusion, the erosion of freedoms that we are witnessing in our society today is deeply troubling. The encroachment on our right to free speech, the erosion of privacy, the diminishing religious freedom, and the concentration of economic power all threaten the very essence of our democracy. As we celebrate this Fourth of July, let us reflect upon these challenges and recommit ourselves to the ideals of liberty and justice for all. Only through our collective efforts can we ensure that the erosion of freedoms is halted, and the promise of a truly free and just society is realized.

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