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Defending freedoms?

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Local Republican and regular New Times contributor Al Fonzi likes to present himself as a defender of our freedoms, but from all of his opinion pieces that I have read, I see just the opposite.

First, he primarily focuses on protecting aspects of certain freedoms, which are used by some to restrict or deny the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of many other people. For example, he defends members of hate groups' use of free speech to incite violence against others. He thinks that the right to bear arms should include enabling mentally unstable people to use assault rifles and commit mass shootings. He promotes the idea that Christian fundamentalists can use their freedom of religion to shape our laws to restrict a woman's reproductive rights, discriminate against people who are homosexual, and to interfere with a person's right to choose their sexual identity. He thinks industry should be free from regulations that create protections for all of us from unnecessary exposure to toxins and pollution.

In addition, in spite of writing every other week about political issues, he fails to address the ongoing threats to many of our other freedoms. He fails to bring up the fact that Republicans have tried to prevent citizens from freely participating in our elections by trying to establish restrictive voter ID laws and have tried to deny citizens reasonable access to voting sites. He doesn't seem too concerned about how gerrymandering is used to keep many citizens from being fairly represented by their government. Instead of focusing on Putin and the Trump campaign's interference in our free and fair elections, he attacks the FBI. He's written nothing about protecting our freedom of the press against the outrageous claims of "fake news" by the current administration. He continues to support a Republican Party that allows Trump to abuse his power and trample on our democratic system of justice. He supports Trump, a U.S. president, who continually admires and praises dictators around the world.

It seems to me that Al Fonzi is not the patriot he thinks he is.

Kathy Riedmann

Los Osos

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