Brendan Pringle is an English senior and Mustang Daily conservative columnist.
Prior to its fall on Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall stood as a clear symbol of separation between the free and the oppressed. From its construction in 1961, the Berlin Wall endured for nearly three decades with the primary purpose of halting those who tried to flee East Germany.
The breach in the wall was announced by top official Günter Schabowski at a televised press conference, and not a moment passed before East German citizens jubilantly “scrambled” over the wall in overwhelming numbers.
As eyewitness Uwe Kross recalls: “That night, you couldn’t stop people. They lifted the barrier and everyone poured through.”
Soon after, crowds began to hack it away to destruction, joyfully reclaiming their freedoms and announcing the end of Communist oppression. It was obvious to everyone: Communism was dead.
In honor of this historic event, then-President George W. Bush designated Nov. 9 as World Freedom Day in 2001.
While we may not have a barrier as clear as the Berlin Wall to remind us of the oppression that pervades our current day and age, the signs are just as clear.
Rather than supporting the efforts of ambitious American entrepreneurs, the Obama administration seeks to increase their tax burden in order to create its “own” jobs — jobs that last just as long as a bill specifies. That’s not sustainability.
In fact, it is the same type of wealth redistribution that caused food shortages throughout the stretches of Soviet Europe. The end result for graduating college students is less jobs and a prolonged stay at their parents’ “crib.” Where is the brilliant future we were promised by the current administration?
In the worldwide scheme of things, oppression seems a bit more blatant. In his first proclamation of World Freedom Day, Bush recognized the “more than 2 billion people that still live under authoritarian regimes. From Burma to Cuba, Belarus to Zimbabwe, citizens of many countries suffer under repressive governments.”
Granted their history, European nations acknowledge the nature of freedom.
Current German Chancellor (and former East German citizen) Angela Merkel reflects: “Freedom must be fought for. Freedom must be defended time and again. Freedom is the most valuable commodity in our political and social system.”
Such words echo those of former-President Ronald Reagan, who famously said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.”
Could this be the reason Germany remains the only beacon of hope for the quickly deteriorating European Union? Indeed, as the Telegraph reported, Merkel recently argued that the debt crisis can’t be solved by adding more debt — some valuable advice from the most vibrant economic power in continental Europe. Too bad Obama doesn’t agree.
Reagan’s vision for freedom ultimately starts on our home soil. Our own representatives and public servants (yes, teachers and administrators included) can violate our freedoms before we even realize it. Obama’s flawed healthcare plan will continue to keep employers hesitant about taking on new hires (due to the unpredictability of health care costs), and the economic burden for future generations.
Before he even focused on the East, Reagan built up the strength of our country. This was later achieved militarily through his competitive defense program. However, Reagan initially inspired Americans to greatness by offering a vibrant alternative to Carter’s dismal solutions, and took America out of recession with supply-side economics.
By this example, Reagan subsequently reminded Eastern Europeans that they still had dignity, and they had every right to the same freedoms that those of the West enjoyed. Those in the East began to question and protest for these values, slowing chipping away at the Communist Bloc. When Communist leaders succumbed to these pressures and gave in a little, the floodgates could not close. Such is the power of freedom.
As we celebrate World Freedom Day, I encourage you all to reflect on our basic freedoms as Americans, and to look closer at those in power to see who is actually “protecting” us, and who is trying to oppress us — from government offices to our very own campus. In order for the world to remain free, we must first and foremost set an example to other nations. If we can’t be the beacons of true freedom, who will?
To commemorate this day, a faux “Berlin Wall” will be present near Dexter Lawn. I encourage everyone to exercise their freedom of speech on it. The wall will be ceremoniously torn down at 4:30 p.m. following some clips of Reagan’s famous Berlin Wall speech.
The “eyes of all people are upon us.” May we truly act “like a city upon a hill.”