People often ask me why I choose to stay involved in politics, especially when a great deal of the time one can feel as if they are banging their head against a wall. The reasons to stay involved are numerous, but I believe it can most simply summed up in this quote by Pericles, ““Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you. ”
We continuously see policies enacted that we disagree with, and we protest. We are able to campaign and support candidates that support policies we desire to be enacted. We are able to voice our displeasure at every level of government. This is an option that many around the world currently do not enjoy.
It is with a heavy heart that I witness governments committing violence against its own citizens in cities like Caracas, Kyiv, and countless others throughout the world. People are being senselessly slaughtered for disagreeing with their government and seeking change. In many of these cases, violence has come about after extended periods of peaceful protest.
It is also very personal to me, as my wife grew up in the Republic of Moldova. She was born into the Soviet Union, and after a few years of independence, they elected a communist government. In 2009, thousands of young people took to the streets to protest a rigged election, and a few months later a more pro-Western government was elected.
As conservatives, we are fully aware that our rights come not from a piece of paper or elected officials. As our Founding Fathers stated, our rights come from our Creator. These rights are universal and do not cease at the shores of the United States. Unfortunately, many throughout the world are unable to exercise these rights due to oppressive regimes. Oppression did not end with the fall of the Berlin wall, the deposing of Saddam Hussein, or the toppling of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. It is alive and well in countries throughout the world.
I recall one day driving down the road with my wife, and I was listening to a local talk radio host. He was condemning the latest failed policy of the Obama administration, and Ana said to me, “Can he say that about the President? Won’t he go to jail for saying such things on the radio?” It had never occurred to me that someone might think this was a foreign concept, but then again I had not been taught my entire life that such oppression was normal.
This is the legacy of communism and the other failed ideologies that continue today. The victims of communism are not just the tens of millions of corpses, but the mental enslavement of hundreds of millions more. These victims continue to live, and many break the chains that have bound them. These people live in countries where they are standing up for their rights, only to be met with rifles and batons.
America has always been more than a country, it has been an idea. An idea that people have the right to determine their own path in life, a land of opportunity. It is a place where your success is determined not by your paternity, but by your perseverance. It is also a place where we believe that your education should be determined by your ability and not your address.
I may be a bit Pollyannaish in my beliefs, but I honestly believe that I wouldn’t be much of an American if I stood on the sidelines. I don’t stare down the barrel of a gun when I go to the polls or knock on doors. I don’t have a pay a bribe to a policeman to walk down the street. I can freely post this rambling statement on the internet. I can do many things that others can’t by virtue of being an American. We all have this opportunity and it is our responsibility to embrace it. To do otherwise, is to be complicit in the violations of the natural rights of man throughout the world.