What is the point of living in this country if our freedoms are not real?
Well, to your point about the border wall, there are two answers. (And yes, I know you meant the question rhetorically.)
- In Texas (at least), the border wall is planned for construction along a government-owned easement seven miles inland from the border. Obviously the government can build what it wants on its own land. The wisdom of creating a “DMZ” where you have communities, some quite upscale (around McAllen) between the border wall and the actual border is another matter entirely. (I suspect the zone will be just the opposite of “Demilitarized” over time.)
- The personal property rights infringement called eminent domain is part of our Constitution, and is generally accepted as being a grudging concession (like taxes) we make for a civil society. So….if you support a border wall, that’s a proper use of eminent domain. If you don’t support a border all, it’s a land grab. Not sure that’s any different than any other use of eminent domain.
But, going back to the rhetorical question you pose, yes, we’ve struggled with this as well, although again over issues probably different than you. To wit:
- Being very familiar with how the Middle East dictatorships work (my in laws are all from the region) the analogy between the new social acceptance of “no platforming” scares the hell out of us. The rhetoric used by students to defend, for example, the rejection of an Ann Coulter or Ben Shapiro as a speaker is straight out of the middle eastern authoritarian playbook. If you don’t want something to happen, and the authorities won’t directly intervene, then you threaten the authorities first, then threaten your opponents. This is not the United States unless access to public platforms are available to all under the same rules, and the authorities defend that access.
- The latest trend towards questioning judicial nominees on their religious beliefs is appalling to me. It is not uncommon to hear Democrats say things like “Well, I personally don’t believe in abortion, but I believe in abortion rights”; Biden, Pelosi, Durbin, and many many others have used that line in the past; many more others have used a more generic “my personal beliefs don’t matter, I believe in legal and save abortion.”. But when a candidate for the judiciary who happens to be Republican uses one of the same rationalizations, then that’s a reason not to vote to confirm; and that’s the same BS that they tried to use on John Kennedy. It is not the United States if one’s religious beliefs are used against them in seeking public office.
I could go on, and I’m sure you have specific instances where you see the GOP ignoring rights as well. But it seems to me, having had first hand experience with authoritarian governments, that both parties in the US continue to move towards authoritarianism at about the same rate, although that authority is exerted in different ways depending on ideology.