We are the Party of Lincoln and Reagan. This is our moment to stand with Georgia; it is our moment to make a strong moral statement and take action against Russia’s military invasion of a free and sovereign neighbor.
Representative Thaddeus McCotter from my home state of Michigan, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, is rallying members of Congress to have Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvilli address a joint session of congress, please take a moment to encourage your member of congress to join the effort. This will send a strong message to the Russians and show moral support for Georgian freedom fighters. Mr. McCotter’s plan is a solid roadmap for policy makers in Congress to preserve and promote liberty in Central and Eastern Europe.
Throughout the past decade, Lt. Colonel Putin has led Russia back to an authoritarian model of governance, including: the repression of a free media, harassment of opposition political parties, nationalizing business interests or passing ownership to former KGB leaders, and menacing its neighbors. While this is different from Soviet totalitarianism in certain respects, it is every bit as insidious when Russian tanks roll through a free and sovereign country to serve Putin’s goal of reestablishing a grip on Russia’s "near abroad."
Over the past few days, I’ve reflected on Ronald Reagan’s strong convictions about human liberty, his alliance with Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II, and the power of Reagan’s policies and words. His leadership helped transform the former "Captive Nations" into free nations. This has served as an encouragement to me to engage this battle to support Georgia and to try to mobilize others.
One of my favorite recollections about Reagan came from former Soviet "refusenik" Nathan Sharnsky, one of the great human rights activists who worked to topple the Soviet Empire, Sharansky tells us about the aftermath of Ronald Reagan’s "Evil Empire" speech, which was met with great derision by the politically-correct left-leaning intelligentsia in the West. But in the cells of Moscow’s notorious Lubyanka Prison, and throughout the gulag, prisoners tapped out code to their neighboring cells passing along Reagan’s powerful words and convictions about freedom. Sharanky once wrote:
“The first time I met President Reagan I told him this story. I felt free to tell him everything. I told him of the brilliant day when we learned about his Evil Empire speech from an article in Pravda or Izvestia that found its way into the prison. When I said that our whole block burst out into a kind of loud celebration and that the world was about to change, well, then the president, this great tall man, just lit up like a schoolboy. His face lit up and beamed. He jumped out of his seat like a shot and started waving his arms wildly and calling for everyone to come in to hear "this man’s" story. It was really only then that I started to appreciate that it wasn’t just in the Soviet Union that President Reagan must have suffered terrible abuse for this great speech, but that he must have been hurt at home too. It seemed as though our moment of joy was the moment of his own vindication. That the great punishment he had endured for this speech was worth it.”
It’s time. For geo-political strategic purposes, and because it is the right thing to do, let’s make our voices heard in this important time.