Almost 250 years ago, America’s founders laid out a grand vision for human freedom and self-rule. It wasn’t perfect, and we continue to strengthen and improve it today. But it did ignite a fire that has shone across the world, inspiring billions to push back against oppression and fight for liberty. Nowhere has that inspirational effect been more apparent than in Hong Kong over the last several weeks.
Protestors have flooded the streets, parks, even the airport, demanding freedom for the people of Hong Kong and opposing repressive policies Beijing is trying to impose upon them. They chant pro-democracy slogans as they peacefully protest, and they even wave American flags and play the Star Spangled Banner. That’s the power a free America can have in the world.
The simple truth is, when you see the power of independence and freedom, you can’t help but want it for yourself. In just the last few weeks, protestors in Moscow, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Kashmir and elsewhere have put their personal safety on the line to march against dictators and oppressive actions. It’s the exact same kind of courage that has defined America’s history, from our foundation to the civil rights movement to today. Through successes and failures, it’s been our commitment to democracy and liberty that has driven us to be the best, freest nation on Earth.
And when we commit to that fight at home, we help others around the world to realize their own inherent dignity and liberty. They see that it is possible to be free and be secure, and they start to demand it for themselves. That is how the light of liberty spreads, by being nurtured first in the US and other free societies.
Our fight for America’s democratic republic is essential to our national welfare. But it’s also much bigger than us. When we stand up here, we show others a world away that the fight is worth having, and it can be won. America could have no greater legacy than the inspiration of liberty the world over. In turn, we should look to protestors in Hong Kong, Moscow and elsewhere as a source of inspiration for us, and redouble our commitment to freedom in their honor. That is our calling as the inheritors of the blessings of freedom won by generations that have come before us.