Last week Russia invaded Ukraine and the two countries are now embroiled in war. It is unfortunate that this couldn’t be handled diplomatically; the world watched as Russia spent months amassing an estimated 150,000 to 190,000 troops at Ukraine’s northern, southern, and eastern borders. Russia has previously demanded the U.S. and NATO bar Ukraine from joining the military alliance and pull back troops from Eastern European member states.
I am against sending American troops into another conflict, but I ultimately believe that sending Ukraine advanced military weaponry to defend itself is in our country’s best interest. Although Ukraine is not a member of NATO, they are our ally and a budding democratic nation. America’s credibility on the world stage is dependent on our commitment to our allies and our foundation of freedom.
From the moment Russia invaded Ukraine, I called on President Biden to implement harsh economic sanctions against Putin to deter his unprovoked attack. After originally claiming that we would “wait and see” how the first round of sanctions worked, Biden decided to get aggressive and banned U.S. people and companies from doing business with the Bank of Russia, the Russian National Wealth Fund, and the Ministry of Finance. This is the right call; as the conflict in Ukraine grows deadlier by the day, we should be throwing our full influence behind real retributions that penalize Russia for their actions. It is unfortunate that we did not move fast enough with these penalties to deter Putin’s aggression, but we can make this unprovoked attack as painful as possible economically in an effort to halt the violence. Directly hitting Putin and his Oligarch friends is a good way to make them personally uncomfortable.
A swift domestic policy revision must follow; the U.S. needs to shift to fully domestic oil production, including new pipelines and a regulatory roll back to 2020 energy policies. We have the largest untapped oil supply in the world and the capacity to supply our European allies with natural gas, removing Russian-produced energy from the supply chain. Russia’s war machine is financed directly by high oil prices. By America returning to energy independence and lowering oil prices globally we can cripple the economy of our adversaries, such as Russia and Iran, that depend on these exports.
An economically powerful America can dominate on the world stage and deter further unnecessary conflict. Gas prices are well over $5 per gallon across our state, inflation is the highest it’s been in 40 years, and Eastern Europe is now embroiled in war. President Biden needs to prioritize our energy independence.
The Freedom Convoy’s message spreads to the U.S.
The Freedom Convoy movement in Canada has become one of the largest anti-vaccine mandate protests we have seen in a long time. These activists are speaking out for the right of personal choice with their bodies and the fact that their individual participation in trucking, while not being vaccinated, is not detrimental to the rest of society. As a large supporter of truckers, I am in favor of this movement due to the fact that these individuals are not “super spreaders” by driving alone in their trucks. These mandates are ridiculous and becoming more and more constraining of our freedoms. Truckers are already facing a multitude of issues such as backups at our ports, excessive regulations and the absence of parking accommodations. I previously called on President Biden to work with the Canadian government to lift vaccine mandates for international truck drivers.
Truckers are essential travelers moving more than 70 percent of commodities traded between the U.S. and Canada. American agriculture producers depend on truckers to export their goods and many families depend on Canadian propane to heat their homes in the cold winter months. Nearly 40,000 border crossing truckers are expected to quit in response to these mandates, causing further mayhem to our supply chain that we simply can’t afford. The vaccine mandate on truckers is not only unconstitutional, but unnecessary and detrimental to our economy.
The Freedom Convoy’s message resonates with many of us who are tired of these overbearing mandates, and we’re seeing their movement spread across the U.S. Last week Freedom Convoy demonstrations were held across Northern California. On Wednesday a group of American truckers called The People’s Convoy set off cross-country from Adelanto, California on their way to Washington, D.C.
Additionally, the crack down on peaceful protesters and free speech by the Canadian Government is especially troubling. The violence we see breaking out north of the border towards working people who are non-violently protesting against a government policy they oppose should send a warning to anyone who values free speech. Locking people out of their bank accounts and arresting people for having opinions the government opposes is frighteningly close to communist tyranny. I am greatly concerned with the government using private companies to enforce speech and thought restrictions on Americans and our Canadian neighbors.
Unmasking the hypocrisy in our schools
Last week in California Governor Gavin Newsom overturned his overbearing mask mandate for a select few, but unfortunately not for our students, the ones who need it overturned the most.
Time and time again science has proven that our children are the safest from COVID, yet they’re suffering the worst consequences from mask mandates and virtual learning. I am astounded that nearly everywhere else you look around our state – at the Super Bowl, concerts, award shows, and bars — high profile Democrat officials and celebrities can defy the State of Emergency declaration and go maskless and they continue to vacation in maskless Florida.
It is also very concerning when we see some educators react poorly to the type of mask our students are wearing, even though they’re abiding by these useless policies. A few weeks ago, a substitute teacher was caught on camera berating an eighth-grade student for wearing a ‘thin blue line’ mask. The ‘thin blue line’ is a common symbol to show support for law enforcement, but the substitute teacher was filmed calling the symbol “the new confederacy flag” and calling the student “un-American.”
Lucas Lillar, the brave eighth-grader who refused to back down from his substitute teacher, has family members who are police officers that he was showing his support for.
I met with Lucas and his family to discuss this experience, the hypocrisy in education and congratulate him for standing up for his beliefs. At only 13 years old, he stood up against an adult who was attacking his family and his principles. This is the exact kind of bravery and forward thinking we need in this country. If we can see this courage and perseverance in the face of power coming from a young eighth-grader, I am hopeful for the future of this country.