Exactly 243 years ago, Thomas Jefferson penned these immortal words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
Today the government Jefferson helped create is committing atrocities against innocent human beings on the border of our state. It is imprisoning, abusing, neglecting and depriving innocent children and adults who are migrant refugees from Central America. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro smuggled a camera into one of these prisons near El Paso and took photos of women sitting on a crowded concrete floor crying and comforting one another. These women were not even allowed to have water whenever they wanted, instead being told by the guards to drink from their toilets.
That government is still ripping small children from relatives and putting them in pens without proper care as if they were animals. Both children and adults sleep on crowded concrete floors and are not allowed to take baths or brush their teeth. This cruel and inhumane behavior is a gross violation of human rights under both federal and international law. These atrocities are being done with the approval of Donald Trump. They are being done in your name and my name.
I got a card in the mail today that said “Happy July 4th!” I don’t see how any Christian or any other person of conscience can have a happy July 4th while this is happening. And I can’t help wondering: What would Thomas Jefferson think about that government today?
Charles Reed, Waco
Rule of law is critical
On July 4, 1776, America’s Founding Fathers did something remarkable in the history of the world. The Declaration of Independence they signed and the Constitution they later drafted created a country in which the people pick their own leaders and the law applies the same to everyone. Politicians change, laws change, people change, but the country’s foundation remains.
Today we call this concept the Rule of Law, and it’s as important to our freedom and prosperity as any principle in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. When the laws apply equally to everyone, no one gets special privileges — especially not those who hold temporary elected office.
This Independence Day, we’re reminded of Ronald Reagan’s warning: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” The same is true of the Rule of Law. It needs our constant protection because it makes us, Americans, who we are.
Stanley Twardy Jr., Stamford, Connecticut
EDITOR’S NOTE: Stanley Twardy Jr., former U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, is advisor to Republicans for the Rule of Law Committee and a partner at the Day Pitney law firm.