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American Values Need To Be Stressed On Behalf Of Hong Kong Protesters

August 14, 2019

The White House is far more than just the place a president lives and works.  It is far more than a policy-driven operation that seeks to remedy domestic and international problems.  It must always be more than just about the nuts and bolts of governing.  It must also be the place where American values are promoted for a worldwide audience.

But over the past two and a half years there has been a most noticeable absence of statements and vision about the essential bedrock foundations that have proven to enhance our nation, and would aid places around the world.  The turmoil in Hong Kong is ramping up and there seems no good end to the correct decision by protesters to seek redress regarding Chinese government overreach.  The demonstrations began weeks ago in response to a since-suspended bill that would allow some citizens to be extradited to China.

But Donald Trump seems unfazed by this international event and unaware that American values about liberty and freedom are needing to be stressed to China.  In words, and ways, they will not be able to miss.

One can almost hear how President Reagan would call out those who would undermine the protesters.  One can almost see him at a cabinet meeting to plan a series of steps to rebuke Beijing for their actions.

But one can not hear or see Trump do anything other than to line up as close to absurdity as one can–without totally embracing it.  “We’ll see what happens but I’m sure it’ll work out. I hope it works out for everybody — including China, by the way. I hope it works out for everybody.”

There is no way not to grimace over his lack of awareness of the situation or the pivotal role a president plays on the world stage during a crisis of this magnitude.  Consider the scope of the issue.

There are roughly 7 million people in Hong Kong, and over the past weeks on any given day about 2 million of them are on the streets fighting for their rights.  And Trump is wishing that it “work out for everybody”.

Good Lord!  Earth to Trump—we do not want China to win this battle.

I am not a fan of Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.  But while reading the newspapers this morning I noted–with much pleasure–that he correctly, and strongly, signaled his support for the protesters.

“To the thousands of young people in Hong Kong who are speaking up for human rights and speaking out against the Communist Party of China: we see you waving the American flag, and we hear you singing our national anthem.  America stands for freedom. America stands with Hong Kong.”

I understand that in Trump’s world nationalism beats out democracy.  But from my understanding of history that is not the way the arc of progress bends.   Strong words and effective push-back against those who undermine the benchmarks of democracy need to be heard and seen from this White House.

And let us be clear as to why words and actions matter from our side of the world. Because we believe in what the Hong Kong protesters are fighting for.

Those young men and women are opposed to the Chinese Communist courts that uses a  system which is opposite of justice and fairness, one which legitimizes seizing Hong Kong citizens and taking them to mainland China for trial.  A trial, it needs to be noted, in which the guilt of the accused, and probably the punishment, is decided before the trial begins.

Trump fears saying anything negative against China out of fear of economic backlashes–but he has made such a complete bumble out of trade talks there is nothing more he could say to make it worse.  So Trump should just stand up and speak out for American values and lessons from our history.  (Once someone explains all that to him.)

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