Fourth of July reflections

This weekend is the Fourth of July-the day we spend surrounded by friends and family celebrating everything that we love about our country: freedom, liberty and democracy. But before you light the grill and watch the fireworks, I hope you will take some time to look back on the events of last week, from the streets of Charleston, to the steps of the Supreme Court, and their implications for the future of our nation.

The senseless and horrific violence at a place of worship shattered our sense of peace, but it did not break us. Instead it made us stronger and a sense of unity, not seen in over a decade, washed over us. At the funeral for one of the victims of the shooting, men and women, blacks and whites, reds and blues, joined together in prayer and song.  I was incredibly humbled by the faith, resiliency and strength shown by the victims’ families and the community. I hope their example of graceful spirit guides our country moving forward.

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., the Supreme Court ruled in several cases with major implications locally. The Court ruled in favor of the legality of the Affordable Care Act. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It doesn’t matter if you were for it or against it, the Affordable Care Act is here, and Los Angeles County has to move forward.  The Supreme Court also ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide.  Friends and former staff members have waited a long time for this day.

However, the Supreme Court didn’t rule in favor of the rights of everyone-in an absolutely stunning decision, the court struck down a local ordinance that allowed law enforcement to inspect hotel guest records without a search warrant. This life-saving law was one of our most powerful tools in our war on child sex trafficking. The Supreme Court justices ruled in favor of protecting the rights of those who buy and sell young children, instead of the rights of innocent victims. The individuals who sexually exploit young girls do not deserve a right to privacy. They need to be exposed for what they truly are: child rapists.  Our fight will continue!

On Friday, we were inspired by the immortal words of John Newton sung in Charleston, “Through many dangers, toils and snares … a life of joy and peace.”  Our country is ever on that same path – reflecting on the hardships, struggles and suffering of our past, while always fervently striving to be the beacon of liberty and freedom for all.

May God continue to bless the United States of America.