Our Founding Fathers had a vision – one nation comprised of individuals with different ideas, perspectives, and beliefs; fiercely independent but committed to the common goal of independence from government oppression. For nearly two hundred and fifty years, that basic principle has made America the greatest country in the world. 

In recent years the ideals that define us have been under attack by progressive thought that threatens the foundation our country was built on. Political correctness has made us a nation of victims. Tolerance now means acceptance, and fairness only applies to those who share a liberal mindset. These developments are leading America down a dangerous path that, if not stopped, will strip citizens of their fundamental rights under the Constitution. When that happens, our country as we know it will cease to exist.

One flagrant offense against the Constitution has been the onslaught of the First Amendment by progressives who believe freedom of speech only applies to them. This is particularly true in academia, where diversity of ideas has been exchanged for political correctness. 

Liberal activist students have become perpetually offended by any concept that runs counter to their own, and it has resulted in the end of debate and free flowing ideas. There have already been numerous examples this year, including a petition by students at Yale University to abolish curriculum requiring English majors to study eight noteworthy poets in English literature and the suggestion of segregated ‘safe spaces,’ an idea that has spread to other campuses like New York University and the University of Arizona. 

Further, in the past decade, there have been dozens of examples of conservative thought leaders being disinvited from, or protested off of, college campuses. Among those who withdrew in the face of opposition from progressive students include: President George W. Bush, Former First Lady Laura Bush, Henry Kissinger, and Condoleezza Rice.

Unfortunately, freedom of speech is not the only target of progressive ideology. The expansion of the federal government’s enumerated powers – like the Commerce Clause – coupled with the evisceration of the Tenth Amendment have led to a massive expansion of federal power at the expense of the states.

The great American experiment in self-governance rests on the idea of “for the people, by the people.” States’ Rights are vital to curtailing federal government overreaches and the infringement of such rights, but time and again anonymous Washington bureaucrats collude with liberal political leaders to enact policies that over-regulate the lives of Americans, abate individual liberty, and weaken state sovereignty. An egregious example is the recent mandate from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for states to comply with onerous and arbitrary climate change regulations. 

The Clean Power Plan (CPP), initiated by President Obama and being implemented by the EPA, requires states to become compliant with newly issued emissions standards. Although the EPA allows states to restructure their current environmental plans as they choose, the timeline allotted is so brief that it will be nearly impossible for them to do so. States that don’t meet EPA standards by the deadline will be forced to adopt the Agency’s plan, resulting in increased federal government interference in state affairs. This overreach is devastating to citizens, businesses, and state industries and economies.

The attack on the Constitution has not stopped with the Bill of Rights. While the deterioration of freedom of speech and states’ rights would dramatically change the fabric of the United States, progressive thought is also making this nation increasingly vulnerable to attack. There’s no clearer example than the Iran Nuclear Deal brokered by President Obama. 

The Constitution clearly states in Article II, Section 2 that the President has the authority to negotiate treaties “with the advice and consent of the Senate.” President Obama knew that his negotiated deal with Iran would never gain the approval of the United States Senate due to the glaring flaws in the deal, such as a lack of oversight of Iran’s previous weapon’s development, the quick windfall in money and sanction relief, and the fact that Iran would be able to begin processing nuclear fuel without any limitations in only 10 years.

In order to get this illegal treaty approved, the President decided to pass this off as a United Nations (UN) negotiated deal. By negotiating under the auspices of the UN, the President circumvented Congress’ authority completely. In addition to avoiding congressional oversight, the deal illegally removed sanctions that Congress itself voted for. I fought this deal from day one, and voted against its approval.

Our Founders made Article II shorter than Article I for a very specific reason. They believed that the power of Congress should be greater than one person. 

Our Founding Fathers had a vision for America that centered on the idea of freedom and self-governance. These basic principles are under attack. We cannot allow the interests of a few to fundamentally change the ideas this country was built upon. 

This Independence Day, I urge my fellow citizens to remember where we came from and the reasons our forefathers were willing to lay down their lives to ensure a future of freedom for all. They believed in a greater idea – the American Dream – and we must fight to protect it. We must preserve America’s promise for ourselves and for generations of Americans to come.