This weekend, I’m celebrating the Fourth of July with my family and friends, just like millions of us around the country. For me, July 4th is always a time to celebrate the ideals this country was founded on: that all people are created equal, with the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that our government was created with the purpose of securing these rights.
July 4th is also a time to reflect upon our progress towards achieving these ideals.
This year, I’m thinking about President Trump and his Administration’s yearslong attack on freedom and on the progress that we had made in recent years towards living out our foundational ideals. I’m thinking about those who are less free because of the cruel choices of our President and his Administration.
I’m thinking about President Trump’s attack on immigrants. Because of Trump’s racist and inhumane travel ban on individuals and refugees from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, people from those countries no longer have the freedom to visit family members living in the United States, nor the freedom to seek refuge from violence or hunger through asylum.
I’m thinking about the immigrant children and their families that are not free within our borders. In Texas and Pennsylvania, there are children who have been detained with their families in some cases for more than a year. Were it not for the U.S. District Court ruling last week, the detention of these children and their parents would continue indefinitely. Unaccompanied immigrant children are still being held in cages and in detention centers where they have often been abused and deprived of basic necessities like soap, toothbrushes, medicine, food, and water. Six immigrant children have died in U.S. custody under the supervision of the Trump Administration.
I’m also thinking of the parents that were deprived of the freedom to care for and raise their children when their children were taken from them in U.S. custody and sent to unknown locations. Too many of these parents have still not been reunited with their children, either in the U.S. or in their countries of origin.
The Trump Administration has not limited its attacks on freedom to immigrants and refugees seeking to build a life here.
Just a few weeks ago, President Trump ordered law enforcement to use force to disperse protesters exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, just so he could take a staged photo. Under orders from Trump’s Administration, law enforcement attacked protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets. Trump has urged law enforcement and the military to use force against protestors and people already in their custody, in clear violation of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
President Trump has also incessantly attacked and undermined freedom of the press. Trump constantly harasses reporters and journalists whose stories he dislikes, intending to politicize the media and undermine accountability. A free press is essential to a free society, and we’re already seeing the harmful effects of his attacks.
I’m also thinking about LGBTQIA+ people and cishet women whose fundamental rights to basic healthcare has been threatened by Trump’s Administration. This administration has done its best to end protections against discrimination in healthcare and attacked reproductive freedom, making it harder for individuals to choose for themselves if, when, and how to have a family.
All of these cruel policies are incompatible with the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence that we proclaim on the Fourth of July.
That’s why, this year, I’m thinking about all the people whose rights and freedoms have been attacked under the Trump Administration, and I’m committing myself to doing everything we can to make sure that we vote President Trump out of office. When I’m in office, I will work to undo all of the harmful policies that this Administration has pursued.