“I love my students so much,” a protesting teacher in Hong Kong told a BBC reporter, wiping tears from her eyes. “I worry about they cannot have the freedom we have before. They cannot speak what they want to speak like us. So, I don’t want . . . this.”
Her English grammar notwithstanding, she speaks a language we should all understand: Liberty.
“If there must be trouble,” Tom Paine wrote in The American Crisis, “let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.” As usual, it is the young, whose idealism and courage has not been worn down and compromised — and who have their own future children to fight for — who lead the effort, facing tear gas and truncheons. That is precisely what they’ve encountered in Hong Kong . . . along with pepper spray and rubber bullets . . . for now.
It can get worse.
Nonetheless, millions of Hong Kong residents have taken to the streets against Hong Kong’s legislature considering a bill to allow Mainland China the power to extradite criminal suspects. People well understand that, if the bill passes, their civil rights will be extinguished in China’s crooked, totalitarian justice system.
What to do? Hope and pray for Hong Kong.
But let’s draw some lessons. Freedom requires not merely bravery, but also unity. An attack on the rights of anyone is an attack on us all. And attacks on precious democratic checks on political power are attacks on everyone’s freedom.
Instead of the United Nations, we need an organization of united citizens across the globe. People everywhere want to be free and democratic. We should work together . . . bypassing our governments.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.