Does Freedom Matter?

Donald Trump Golfing. Photo by Steve Jurvetson.

There are more than 25 political parties in Hong Kong. Most of them are affiliated into one of two camps, the pan-democrats and the Establishment… also known as the pro-democracy and the pro-Bejing camps. There are 18 districts in Hong Kong, with councils in control of each. Establishment coalitions have been in control of all 18 since 2015.

On Sunday, that changed.

Overnight, the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong was revealed to have won 17 of the 18 districts available in citywide elections. There were 452 seats available on councils throughout the city, and of them 347 were won by the pan-democrats, 45 by independents (most of which lean toward, but are not directly affiliated with, the pro-democracy movement) and 60 were held by pro-establishment parties.

The leaders of almost every pro-establishment party were voted out of office. The only council held by pro-establishment groups was the 18 member council for the Islands district, and that group had 8 pro-establishment members who did not have to stand for election.

There was a record turnout of 2.94 million voters, just over 71% of registered voters, and they issued a strong rebuke of Chinese policy on the island.

Meanwhile, over in Iran, there is widespread dissatisfaction with the government because of a sudden spike in fuel taxes. The lack of visible protests is likely linked to the 7,000 people killed or imprisoned in the country’s 2018 efforts to crack down on dissent, per Amnesty International.

Iran’s influence across the middle east is endangered in other places, too. There have been repeated anti-government demonstrations in Iraq, showing their anger at both the United States and Iran for treating their government as a proxy battle instead of encouraging it to help Iraqis. There is similar unrest in Lebanon, which has long been one of Iran’s most effective cat’s-paws in the region.

This is a time for the United States to make a visible stand with the freedom-loving people of the world, and the people who want to better their own lives peacefully, without conflict. President Trump has been awake for at least two hours, based on his tweet history, which means he’s been awake long enough to be briefed on the news of the day, as should be required for any President at the earliest opportunity. As of this writing, he has neither tweeted nor spoken about the Hong Kong elections.

The obvious question is whether he will do so. A grave concern is that the question exists.

One can make a case that he will not focus on the Hong Kong election without being specifically prompted by a member of the press because he has not been able to even cement the much-touted deal which would revert tariffs back to where they were more than a year ago (without having achieved any of the goals those tariffs were supposedly for, but I digress…). One can also make a case that he will bring them up because he wants to continue to present the image to his followers that he cares about freedom, even though he’s in the process of disengaging us from South Korea and Japan, pushing them toward Chinese dominance; retreating from Iran in the Middle East while allowing our troops to be used as mercenaries by the Saudis; and undermining freedom efforts from former Soviet bloc countries against the expansionist Putin.

Ultimately the real question is whether people are fine with not knowing where the leader of the free world stands on democracy.

With Reagan or either Bush, the answer was obvious: they would actively and vocally support Hong Kong after an election like this. With Clinton, the answer was obvious: he would actively support Hong Kong. Even with Barack Obama, he would be expected to support Hong Kong. (The issue with Obama was not that he did not support freedom; the issue with Obama was that he regularly turned a blind eye to the influence of radical groups – whether religious or political – which were eager to exploit freedom movements.)

This is a basic concept, that the putative “leader of the free world” should support freedom. It is a concept which has fallen by the wayside in an era where the President swears love for leaders who murder entire families and their own relatives, where he believes antagonistic dictators over his own law enforcement bodies, and where he imprisons people seeking asylum from murder and slavery.

Whether there is a tweet or a statement by the time this is published is moot. The fact that nobody – not his supporters, not his detractors – would be willing to risk wealth or safety on whether he’ll support the basic concept of individual liberty throughout the world should be an immediate disqualification from his current position.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.