What will freedom mean in a Trump administration? During his campaign, why did Trump harp on the Second Amendment but none of the others? How did our country come to define freedom as buying lots of guns and ammo without restrictions, or flying objectionable symbols such as Confederate battle flags? What kind of “freedom” is the freedom to spend lots of money on guns? What kind of “speech” is flying a symbol that is highly offensive and hateful to many Americans?
The “freedom” to fly a flag associated with slavery, rebellion, oppression, and racism doesn’t seem to me to be much of a “freedom.” The same is true of the “freedom” to spend lots of money on guns and ammo. What is so “free” about that?
The “freedom” of the average Joe has come to be defined as the right to carry guns or the right to fly racist flags. But what about the right to a living wage, the right to privacy, the right to good health care, the right to a decent education, the right to clean water and fresh air, the right to have a real say in the political process? These rights are being increasingly abridged, yet so many Americans see no infringement to their “freedom” here.
Surely one of the great triumphs of the power elite has been the redefinition of “freedom” such that the freedoms that are allowed, like buying lots of guns, make no impact on the elite’s ability to rule and to exploit.
A couple of sobering facts. During his campaign, Trump railed against the press, suggesting that he’d work to change libel laws so that he could sue and punish the press for writing critical stories about him. Also, Trump has suggested some kind of national registry for Muslims, and members of his staff have suggested internment camps for unreliable elements, citing the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II as a laudable precedent.
What the hell?
As the Trump administration takes shape, apparently with men like Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and retired General Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor, Americans would do well to read and re-read the Bill of Rights, all of them, not just rights like the Second Amendment. For what good is it to be able to buy lots of guns if you need to worry about your religion, your right to privacy, your ability to organize and protest, and your right to a press that is untrammeled by the government?
Alarmist? Consider the following facts about retired General Flynn, according to FP: Foreign Policy:
Earlier this year, Flynn Tweeted that “fear of Muslims is RATIONAL,” and just last month offered his support for a prominent Alt-Right writer and activist. In his book Field of Fight released earlier this year, Flynn wrote, “I’m totally convinced that, without a proper sense of urgency, we will be eventually defeated, dominated, and very likely destroyed” by Islamic militants, FP’s Paul McLeary and Dan De Luce noted in a story about the book.
Sitting in your walled bunker, surrounded by guns as well as the stars and bars and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, is not much of a “freedom” if the government is illegally watching you, or getting ready to intern you in a camp because you worship God in the name of Allah instead of Yahweh or Jehovah, or getting ready to deport you because not all of your papers are perfectly in order.
First they came for undocumented immigrants, and I did not speak out, for I was not undocumented. Then they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out, for I was not Muslim. Then they came for the protesters, and I did not speak out, for I was not a protester. Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.