Op-ed: The road to November — my platform

Both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions will be must-see TV this July. With no Republican candidate likely to secure 1237 or more delegates by the time the last votes are tallied on June 7, it is anticipated that there will be a dramatic contested convention in Cleveland, the first for the GOP since 1976. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton will most likely arrive in Philadelphia with a commanding delegate lead, but still charged with the task of uniting Bernie Sanders’ young and passionate coalition with Clinton’s establishment base that wants to continue on the path that the Obama administration has blazed. Along with selecting a presidential nominee for the general election, a party convention is a venue to establish or reaffirm the party’s platform. It is of utmost importance for each party to clearly articulate its core guiding principles and stances on key issues. Conventions provide an opportunity for conservatives and liberals to showcase the differences in their principles and values in order to distinguish themselves from their opponent. Instead of waiting until July to hear each party’s platform, I have decided to lay out the core principles and ideals for my ideal theoretical party, the “Freedom Party.”
•    Defend Liberty
The fight to protect and defend liberty is a constant battle. As a citizen living in the United States, you have certain unalienable rights given to you by God. President Reagan echoed this sentiment, stating beautifully, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same.”
A threat to freedom somewhere is a threat to it everywhere. Adherence to the Constitution and its founding principles is the best way to cultivate, protect and maximize freedom. Some blindly criticize the Constitution and argue that it is an out of date document created by men in an old world, and that it is no longer an accurate reflection of our country’s values in the 21st century. In my opinion, nothing could be further from the truth.
Liberty cannot and should not be compromised. The biggest threat to our liberty is the federal government. The framers of the Constitution envisioned a federal government that revolved around and deferred to the states, and not the other way around. The concentration of power at the top of our political system is an attack on our liberty by taking decision-making power away from local officials, who are in a better position to represent the interests of our neighborhoods than Washington bureaucrats. Any infringement on liberty is an assault on our unalienable rights, a founding principle of our country that makes it unique. We have to protect ourselves from an abusive and paternalistic federal government that wishes to restrict our liberty and dictate our lives. The Freedom Party would defend the principles and values inherent in the Constitution and would strive to protect the freedoms and liberty of each and every American.
•    Protect our Nation
The world is a more dangerous place when the United States leads from behind, as the right has often criticized President Obama for doing. Both this country and the world are safest when the United States, with the biggest and strongest military in the world, leads from the front. Besides protecting our freedom at home, the most important role of the federal government is to protect us from foreign enemies that pose a threat to our national security. We need leaders with steady hands, but also ones who are not afraid to take decisive action to defend the nation.
Currently, the biggest foreign threat to our nation is radical Islamic terrorism. ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorists do not accurately represent the ethics and values behind the religion of Islam, but they justify their actions in the name of the religion. The total destruction of ISIS is necessary not only to protect Americans, but also to protect the many innocent Christians, Jews and Muslims who are slaughtered every day in the Middle East for being “non-believers.” One way for the United States to do this is to fully and explicitly support its allies in the region; these allies include Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and most importantly Israel. Israel is the only full-fledged democracy in the Middle East  and the only Jewish state in the entire world. Groups that deny Israel’s right to exist should automatically be declared enemies of our nation and a threat to freedom and peace, and the Freedom Party would ensure this. Additionally, the Freedom Party would seek to mitigate Russian attempts at Soviet-like colonization, the nuclear threats posed by Iran and North Korea and Chinese aggression in the South China Sea in order bring more stability in the world. Protecting the United States and its citizens would be central to the Freedom Party’s platform.
•    Seek Justice
Equal protection under the law is essential to maintaining the legitimacy of our law enforcement and justice systems. No person should be disadvantaged because of his or her gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, wealth, age, level of intelligence or any other factor. The law is blind to these factors, and should be enforced as such. If someone is charged with a crime, he or she is innocent until proven guilty. This concept is important to emphasize in 2016, where the media and general public often renders their judgment on the guilt or innocence of a person before all the facts come to light (see the Duke lacrosse scandal). Additionally, it is important to stand behind and respect law enforcement for the important role they play in protecting our neighborhoods. Being involved in law enforcement is a great responsibility, and accordingly, any attack on the liberty of a law-abiding individual by inappropriate or illegal law enforcement action is unacceptable, and such actions should be dealt with swiftly and transparently.
•    Stimulate Economic Growth
Free market capitalism is the best hope for creating a strong economy that provides citizens with jobs and gives every citizen a shot at being successful. High taxes and protective tariffs stagnate economic growth, and they hurt small businesses. Lower taxes encourage investment and allow for businesses to thrive. The government does not create jobs or wealth — the people do. The current government wastes its time inefficiently redistributing wealth, rather than instituting economic policies that encourage job creation. We should not settle for 2% growth when we can do better. Being $19 trillion in debt is not only “unpatriotic,” as described by President Obama, but it is bankrupting our kids and grandkids. Growing social programs and government spending is not the answer; in order to stimulate growth in the economy, The Freedom Party would promote values of free market capitalism and private investment.
•    Rein in Washington
Charles de Montesquieu, a prominent French philosopher who championed the concept of separation of powers within a government, was an inspiration for the framers of the Constitution. According to the Constitution, which enumerates the powers of each branch, the legislature creates the law, the executive enforces the law and the judiciary interprets the law. This creates a system of checks and balances that makes sure that no one branch holds too much power. This system of check and balances has been all but abandoned in modern politics as the branches have sought to expand their power to levels unimaginable to our founders.
First, we have a President that abuses his constitutional powers by signing executive orders to force his agendas through Congress. Meanwhile, the other branches sit by and watch as it unfolds. In this instance, the President not only enforces the law, but writes it as well. This borders on tyranny. Secondly, the courts powers are supposed to be limited to interpreting laws and preventing unconstitutional actions by the other branches of government. However, in recent years, the Supreme Court has become extremely political and has overstepped its enumerated powers as well. The Court regularly legislates and makes policy from the bench, rather than interpreting our nation’s laws.
The notion of federalism, which is addressed in the 10th Amendment, delegates the right to determine laws for extra-Constitutional issues to the states. However, the growing federal leviathan has all but gutted our founding principle of federalism. The Freedom Party would seek rein in Washington by returning power to the states to govern themselves, and to hold officials accountable for abusing power not vested in them by the Constitution.

The Constitution wonderfully opens with, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
“The Freedom Party” would represent all Americans, and liberty, security and justice would stand at core of its platform.