Muftic: Memorial Day also a time to remember what those who died were defending |

Muftic: Memorial Day also a time to remember what those who died were defending

Felicia Muftic
Courtesy Photo

On Memorial Day, celebrated next week, we will specially honor and remember the nearly million-and-a-half in the military who died in wars to keep us from foreign control and the liberty to pursue life and happiness. At the same time we should be asking ourselves do enough of us even care about protecting our freedoms anymore?

Our founders put protections of our civil and human rights and freedoms in the amendments to the Constitution. Not all of those freedoms are absolute and their meanings and limits have been shaped by an independent judiciary, but they are still fundamental to the freedoms we enjoy for which so many have died.

Nonetheless, the United States ranks 45 out of 180 countries based on press freedom, according to a survey conducted by the nonprofit Reporters Without Borders: “A media-bashing enthusiast, Trump has referred to reporters as ‘enemies of the people’ … has attempted to block White House access to multiple media outlets, routinely uses the term ‘fake news’ in retaliation for critical reporting, and has called for revoking certain media outlets’ broadcasting licenses.”

We have had our civil wars, our slavery, our abuses of rights, but we have made progress to improve the implementation of our ideals. Not any longer.

Human Rights Watch, a nonprofit watchdog group, has released its 2018 report, which stated: “Across a range of issues in 2017, the U.S. moved backward on human rights. Trump has targeted refugees and immigrants, calling them criminals and security threats; emboldened racist politics by equivocating on white nationalism; and consistently championed anti-Muslim ideas and policies … and (undermining) police accountability for abuse…”

Voter laws are being passed locally that make it more difficult for minorities to vote by restricting voting times and motor voter registration laws, and requiring extra effort and expenses to obtain photo IDs. These suppression measures were implemented deceptively to protect us from virtually non-existent in-person voter fraud.

The GOP-dominated Senate is fast tracking the process to fill federal judicial seat vacancies with ideologues passing litmus tests preferred over nominees who support judicial precedent and who pass peer professionals’ standards. This will impact the current interpretation of the meaning of freedom for years, from Roe v. Wade, to the right to refuse to serve certain customers on religious grounds, to shrinking governmental protections of the environment, worker safety and health care.

One freedom that our forefathers treasured was protection from foreign control. Our founders never imagined the reach to millions on social media by Russian bots and advertising to help Donald Trump win, as the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded and reported May 16.

Another fear founders had was that foreigners would try to control the United States by bribery or personal gain by officials so they put the emolument clause in the Constitution itself.

There is a stench in the air that Trump has violated that clause.

On May 16, we learned the Trump business organization, from which Trump still benefits, is entangled in China financing a Trump Indonesian hotel just as U.S. sanctions were lifted on a Chinese telecom already deemed a threat to U.S. security. Another bombshell May 16 was learning Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, manages a consulting company account that appears to have millions coming into it, including foreign money. Suspicions are that money could be seen as bribery to get access to the president on issues coming before the new administration. Where finding the money went and who got it is required to separate the crime from the slime.

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