States’ Rights or States’ Wrongs?

Trump’s administration doesn’t care about states rights, no matter what they’ve said in the past.

Recently, the Department of Justice and Department of Education instructed the Supreme Court to ignore Obama-era memos regarding the protections of transgender students in the public school system. President Trump’s new policy will prevent transgender students from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. According to the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, “Congress, state legislatures, and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue.”

Essentially, the Trump administration is making the case that this contentious and controversial issue is one best left up to the states. Considering the fact that Trump is indeed a Republican makes it understandable that he would adopt a pro-states’ rights platform. However, Trump and his administration have proven to be remarkably inconsistent when it comes to states’ rights, and it is clear that the current administration uses the façade of “states’ rights” to push through an intolerant agenda.

We can see the Trump administration’s hypocrisy through Sean Spicer’s recent implication that the federal law regarding recreational marijuana will be enforced more strictly under the Sessions Department of Justice. Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary, said we should expect “greater enforcement” of federal laws regarding marijuana use. According to Spicer, Trump sees “a big difference” between recreational pot and medicinal cannabis. It is clear that the Trump team is fully prepared to reject states’ rights when states make decisions that don’t fall in line with the President’s rollback of civil liberties.

Why Marijuana Should be Legal

Luckily, some members of Congress are fighting back. Four members of Congress, two Democrats and two Republicans, have formed the Congressional Cannabis Caucus in an effort to fight back against the suppression of the democratic will of those who voted to legalize marijuana in their home states (recreational marijuana use is currently legal in California, Colorado, Washington, Massachusetts, Alaska, Nevada, and Maine). For those of us who live in states with legal recreational marijuana, we should write and call our representatives to make sure that our democratic choices are protected and respected. Similarly, we should contact our representatives to introduce legislation that protects the rights of transgender students.

As a Libertarian, it is none of my business which bathroom someone chooses to use- that, to me, seems like a civil liberty that the government has no right to restrict. The same logic applies to recreational marijuana; if you want to smoke a joint after a long day at work, who is that hurting?

You can contact your Representatives here, and you can contact your Senators here.




The Hypocrisy of the Right

With the recent immigration Executive Order issued by President Trump, the true nature of many of America’s GOP leaders is coming to light. Despite courting the Evangelical vote for decades, Republican lawmakers are showing callous disregard for the Bible as they defend President Trump’s draconian policies. The Holy Bible is very clear about how Christians are meant to treat foreigners and refugees:

“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” -Leviticus 19:34

“I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick in prison and you did not visit me.” -Matthew 25:43

There are many more verses in the Bible that are similar to the two verses above. Jesus teaches that the poor and vulnerable in society must be taken care of and welcomed with open arms. Despite claiming to be Christians, the GOP has shown it’s true character in defending the refugee ban currently in place. Only a handful of Republican lawmakers have fought it, including John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The following is from the Washington Post:

“Freedom of religion is a fundamental constitutional principle. It’s a founding principle of this country,” Ryan told reporters following a closed-door morning meeting at the Republican National Committee in December 2015. “This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for. And more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.”

Since President Trump has taken office, Paul Ryan has remained deafeningly silent regarding the ban. Luckily, a federal judge has temporarily halted the “Muslim Ban”, as many call it. Alt-right publications, including InfoWars, have suggested that the judge is committing treason by making use of the checks-and-balances system that is so integral to our republican form of government. Trump has gone on to attack the credibility of the judge who halted his EO on Twitter, and in doing so, has attacked the very foundation of American government.

“Alternative Facts” and Trump’s Desire to Gut Your Constitutional Rights

Recently, at the first White House Press Conference, Sean Spicer spent his entire time making the President feel better about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. When it became clear that he was lying, Kellyanne Conway, the Counselor to the President, said that he offered “alternative facts” to the press. 

Wait a minute.

The Counselor to the President just said that it is okay to use “alternative facts”. There is no such thing as “alternative facts”, sweetheart. Lies are lies. We’ve had President Trump for less than a week, and already he is using his staff to spread propaganda. He’s already accused CNN of being fake news, and refuses to take questions from them. We are rapidly descending into government directly controlling the media (however, the case can be made that they already do). We have seen this happen in Turkey, with President Erdogan jailing reporters who criticize the government. In fact, Mr Trump made a comment in February on the campaign trail, stating “when [journalists] write purposefully negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.” We can only hope that the Trump government doesn’t “open up the libel laws” and jail journalists for criticizing him. We have already heard him threaten to jail his political opponents (which he later backed down on), but now that he is in power, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him go after his more low-profile opponents.

Our free speech rights are under attack. When our ability to criticize the government is taken from us, there is no going back. The Second Amendment is the only one that protects the First; do not be surprised if Trump begins rolling back those rights too (despite what he’s said on the campaign trail, it is clear that he has an immense desire for complete control. The best way to do that is to disarm the populace). Keep your eyes and ears peeled for Mr Trump’s gutting of your Constitutional rights.