Tuesday, August 9, 2022
Aug. 9, 2022

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Flynn: Our freedoms are under attack; time for action

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Recent headlines, from the Jan. 6 committee’s hearings to the Supreme Court rolling back the right to reproductive health care, profoundly implicate the freedom that many will celebrate this Independence Day.

Opponents of democracy — a system that works best when it empowers people to have an equal say in decisions that affect their futures — have waged a well-coordinated attack on it. Freedom must be fortified, it must be protected at the ballot box, and it must never be taken for granted.

Freedom faces threats on many fronts. On Jan. 6, 2021, the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a violent mob bent on stopping the peaceful transfer of presidential power. It was an attack on a free and fair election. We learned last week in chilling sworn testimony that former President Donald Trump not only assembled, inflamed and set loose the mob, but he did it knowing that some were armed.

Since the assault, legislatures in many states have embraced Trump’s election lies to pass restrictive voting laws to make it harder for Americans — particularly in Black and brown communities — to have a say in choosing their elected leaders.

Meanwhile, racial and partisan gerrymanders have seen politicians cherry-pick their voters. Rather than accurately reflecting population changes and ensuring fair representation, many maps were drawn for partisan political advantage, leaving millions without a voice in their own government.

Simultaneously, a Supreme Court supermajority ignored precedent to impose its ideological agenda on the nation while ruling regularly to favor the rights of politicians, corporations and those in power over reproductive rights, the rights of people of color, and everyday people.

The court’s ruling in Dobbs, overturning Roe v. Wade, allows states to deny women the right to make decisions about their own bodies. Over the last decade, the Supreme Court issued a series of rulings undermining representative democracy — gutting the Voting Rights Act and ushering in unlimited special-interest money.

Despite withering attacks, freedom and democracy are not dead. We are at a critical juncture, but these attacks are galvanizing Americans who still believe in freedom and democracy.

While some states have passed laws restricting voting, others have expanded voting access. Federally, the House has repeatedly passed bills to strengthen voting protections and set fair national voting standards. These bills have been blocked by Republican filibusters in the Senate.

Beyond legislation, we must continue to amplify truth and accountability. The Jan. 6 committee has laid bare the monthslong, multilayered criminal conspiracy by Trump to overturn the 2020 election. The scope of what the committee has exposed is breathtaking, and the nation is taking notice.

While there is much cause for concern, there are solutions. Our first recourse is the ballot box, and we must hold our elected officials accountable — whether they aided Trump’s efforts to steal the election, echoed the Big Lie, or voted to confirm activist Supreme Court justices.

We need accountability for the Supreme Court, including new laws to strengthen ethics and recusal standards. We learned from the Jan. 6 committee that Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife, Ginni, was knee-deep in Trump’s coup attempt. Yet, not only did Justice Thomas fail to recuse himself from cases related to the insurrection, but he was the lone justice who voted to deny handing critical White House records over to the Jan. 6 committee.

Now is not the time to sit and watch how these attacks on our freedoms play out. It is time for Americans to stand at the ramparts and cast our ballots to defend our democracy.

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