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Celebrating Freedoms — For Some

Terry H. Schwadron

July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth of July! Independence Day! It’s Free-from-Tyranny day, Birthday of a Great Nation, and time to note those who came before to flee oppression and celebrate those who pushed continuously for our freedoms.

Funny, those notions just don’t seem to square with the view from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., where President Donald Trump sees a need to turn independence into isolation, and freedoms for all into freedoms for some especially white, conservative, Trump-voting states.

I doubt that on this day of freedom, the president is giving much thought to the 2,000 migrant children taken from their families as they applied for amnesty and asked — legally — for the right to enter the United States. I doubt that on this day of celebration of our need to continually grow civil rights, the president even recognizes that there is a problem of white parents calling in the police to bust black citizens, even a child selling water bottles without a street license, from performing everyday tasks.

It seems inconceivable that the president even remembers that there is a statue of note in New York Harbor beckoning people who are feeling themselves under the boot of oppression to feel free to join us in an experiment of ever-present hope for a better life for us all. Strangely, there is nothing in Emma Lazarus’ language about being only English-speaking, about not wearing the hajib, about having to walk in through a labyrinth of rules and regulations with a certified Ph.D and the merit to join The Business World at a level where one can guarantee success.

The president probably will give homage and a tip of the White House cap to our troops overseas, as he and the rest of us should. But if he actually looks at those soldiers, airmen and Marines, perhaps he will notice that an increasing number are women, or gay, or transgender, and that all the troops deserve that presidential applause. Perhaps he might look at the troops whose sacrifices he lauds, and see that there is no overall strategy for their deployment in Afghanistan or Korea or the Middle East, or, increasingly, in Africa.

It is doubtful that President Trump will see people too ill to go out to a parade today, stuck inside homes where repairs go unmet to cover the rising health bills that his administration has made come about, despite his best logic-twisting to say it ain’t so. It is for certain that Trump cannot recognize the plight of a rising number of seniors who cannot retire because they can’t afford it.

Trump’s biggest Independence Day failure may be his inability to take in information from his environment that he does not want to see. Only information that matches his personal viewpoint is allowed, and his 500-plus days in office of ejecting or losing advisers probably does not even register on Trump the Boss to indicate that he has a problem even within the White House.

Independence Day should mean reaching out to the next American to help lift him when he falters. Instead, we have a president leading a not-so-quiet war on the poor to help pay for tax cuts for corporations, and among corporations, Trump wants to pick which ones win and lose. Harley-Davidson is out this month because the company told the truth about how tariffs policies will eat into their profits, and Fox is granted the magic touch of merger with Disney because the Murdoch family and Fox News have given Trump a bullhorn.

In education, medicine, science, we see Trump laying waste to greater public participation, more policy built on building blocks those areas help provide, and more support for parochial and private schools under the name of “alternatives” to failed public schools. We see an Environmental Protection Agency committed to secrecy, corruption and anti-science agendas, handing the keys to important policies to business concerns the agency was supposed to regulate. In health and medicine, we see the slight of legislative hand undermining the best effects of Obamacare for a policy-free melee out there in which insurance companies vie for who can head for the bottom fastest.

Our independence as a nation is coming at the expense of our long-time friendships and alliances with Canada, Mexico and Europe, while Trump kowtows and praises the efforts of the global strongmen like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un who personify everything Independence Day is meant to fight.

So do celebrate the Fourth. Have a picnic. But don’t think for a moment that this president is celebrating the same holiday as you and me.

He is marking Trump Independence Day, in which Trump is free of Constitutional limits, in which his wish is everyone’s command, and one in which only some Americans need show up.


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Journalist, musician, community volunteer

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