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Garry Bredefeld: Silence no option when it comes to protecting American values

Raging Grannies members, from left, Gail Gaston, 62, of Fresno, Amy Wolk, 51, of El Segundo, Pat Wolk, 83, of Fresno and Kay Pitts, 82, of Fresno, join counter-protesters at a rally at the Planned Parenthood on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, in Fresno. Pro-life advocates throughout the country protested outside of Planned Parenthood Clinics as part of a crusade to deny all federal funding to organizations that provide essential health services, including abortions, to millions of people.
Raging Grannies members, from left, Gail Gaston, 62, of Fresno, Amy Wolk, 51, of El Segundo, Pat Wolk, 83, of Fresno and Kay Pitts, 82, of Fresno, join counter-protesters at a rally at the Planned Parenthood on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017, in Fresno. Pro-life advocates throughout the country protested outside of Planned Parenthood Clinics as part of a crusade to deny all federal funding to organizations that provide essential health services, including abortions, to millions of people. Fresno Bee file

I am very concerned, as are so many other people, about what is transpiring in our community, our state and nation. Today, traditional values, Christianity, the unborn, our police, military, First and Second Amendment rights, and capitalism are all under attack. Even private health insurance is proposed to be eliminated by a 2020 presidential candidate. As a councilman responsible for ensuring the very safety of our community, and as a veteran, a father, and new grandfather who cares deeply about our nation, I feel it imperative to speak out against these attacks.

Those attacking our traditional values are out of the mainstream and are extremists. They use language that often masks what their real intentions are or what they truly support. For example, abortion is now much more than just “choice.” It’s called “reproductive health” and in fact, there are laws recently enacted in New York and Virginia that allow for the termination of pregnancies into the third trimester. Without question, late-term abortion is evil, but any abortion is heart-breaking. With nearly 60 million abortions in the U.S. since 1973 and nearly 40 million abortions worldwide every year, society has failed to protect the most vulnerable among us, and this cultural genocide must stop. Sadly, the Delta smelt (a type of fish) have greater protections than the unborn.

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Fresno City Councilman Garry Bredefeld Fresno Bee file

Former Fresno Bee staff writer Bill McEwen, who reported on me when I served on the City Council from 1997-2001 and continues to do so today, asked me in September 2017 if I had changed from when I served previously. Back then I helped get the stadium (Chukchansi) and Exhibit Hall built, and we hired hundreds of police officers to deal with the rampant violence that was occurring in our city, leading to us becoming an “All American City.” More recently, over the past two years, we have made the city more business friendly and are changing the anti-business bureaucracy with the At-Risk Permitting and Money Back Guarantee ordinances I’ve sponsored. We are also effectively dealing with slumlords, hiring more 911 dispatchers, saving taxpayer money by eliminating wasteful consultant contracts, repairing streets and sidewalks, providing law enforcement with the resources to effectively fight crime, and dealing with the challenging problem of homelessness. We also were successful in early 2017 to have our national motto, “In God We Trust,” placed in the Council Chamber, which passed unanimously.

My response to Mr. McEwen has remained the same: I haven’t changed, but society has and in many instances, the changes aren’t positive.

One of the positive changes is that social media are now available to nearly everyone and with a few clicks, opinions, criticisms can be shared with anyone. The greatness of our country is reflected in our Constitution and our First Amendment right to express differing points of view. But the tone and rhetoric has become hostile, derisive, and now name-calling, and personal attacks are all too common. This was evidenced recently when I tweeted a video of Tom Brady saying his father was his hero and I then criticized the new notion of “toxic masculinity.” Following that tweet, the social media attacks on me were fast and furious.

Other language of the extremists include “pay your fair share,” which means steal your money and increase your taxes. It’s not enough that we already work until May to pay our taxes. “Gun control” means confiscate your guns. “Medicare for all” means rationed healthcare determined by a bureaucrat and when you really need medical attention, it will be denied. “Toxic masculinity” is an attack on men. There is nothing wrong with masculinity, and children need masculine role models in their lives as much as they need maternal role models. This attempt at neutering men is consistent with their efforts at having genderless birth certificates. “Wealth inequality” means taking your hard-earned money and giving it to someone else who has not worked for it. In essence, it’s socialism, which has never worked, whereas capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than anywhere in the world.

These attacks on our way of life and families must be challenged. The efforts of these extremists to silence, shout down, call names, and attack those who believe in traditional values must not succeed. For instance, a Bee opinion columnist who disagrees with my positions recently called me “personally repulsive.” So much for civil dialogue. Nevertheless, my constituents know that I fight for them and will speak strongly on their behalf and I encourage others to do so, as well. We must be compassionate, willing to listen, but we also must defend our values, the unborn, and the principles on which our country, the greatest on Earth, was founded. Silence can no longer be an option. There is too much at stake.

Garry Bredefeld represents District 6, Fresno’s northeast area, on the City Council.

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