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Wake up, American

posted Dec 29, 2009, 2:34 PM by Advocates for Liberty Liberty
All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. – Edmund Burke

Exactly twenty years ago today, on December 21, 1989, the Communist façade of Romania cracked, and the entire country erupted into an anti-communist revolt that changed the lives of millions of people, many who are still alive today. Granted I was only a teenager, I count myself among those who were present, eyewitnesses to an epic battle between political ideologies, armed men, and ultimately good and evil.

Not too far north from where I grew up, in Bucharest, a few days before Christmas serious clashes between armed groups ensued, with most casualties being innocent bystanders, even women and children. It was discovered later that within the span of a couple of weeks, mass-graves were created where hundreds of people, victims of the clashes, were buried by the authorities in an attempt to hide their actions.

Soon after, I moved to the United States, fortunate enough to experience life without the consequences of recovering an entire nation from the depths of Communist destruction. But even here I am constantly reminded of how frail liberty is, that even in this greatest country on earth there are constant attempts by politicians to undermine freedom, to constantly minimize the individual’s freedom while expanding the government’s size and power. 

It does not take a history buff to recognize that the world we live in is in a constant state of flux, that from a human perspective, without care and sacrifice the world tends to slowly disintegrate into chaos, disorder, violence and tyranny. Consequently we can recognize that it takes real and tangible human sacrifice and intervention to obtain and maintain freedom. The reality is that a majority of the world is wickedly evil, that tyrants run most countries, and that freedom-loving nations are in minority.

So far, America has been a sort of aberration, a freak nation…abnormal but extraordinary nation, breaking the historic trend of tyrannical nations ruled by fear and violence, by putting human freedom at the very center of its existence. This in itself is unnatural in the context of entire human existence. Of course a price had to be paid for that freedom, just as Romanians paid their own price in ’89.

The ugly price of freedom; Romania 1989 But it has become clear to me that it has been too long since Americans had to fight and pay the ugly price for freedom, and forgetting the sacrifice paid to be free is no worse than choosing tyranny. It has been too long since Americans have preoccupied themselves with something more than excessive consumerism and material wealth, neither being connected with the principles of true freedom of the individual.

Looking back through pictures of what happened in 1989, one thing caught my eye in a manifesto printed back then; it was a list of demands made by the people, starting with free elections, freedom of speech, freedom of travel, with the last item on the list being "better living and better food." The people of one of the poorest countries in Europe at that time were less concerned with food and quality of life than freedom of speech. Could Americans learn a lesson from the demands made by Romanian revolutionaries in 1989?
Flier from Romania, 1989

During the 1989 revolution in Romania, the Romanian flag was often displayed with a cutout, a hole in the middle, the place where the communist insignia was once printed on the flag. The flag that was once the symbol of tyranny and government abuse has again become a symbol of freedom. The song Wake up Romanian, which was once the national anthem in the 1800s was again restored, replacing the communist-era anthem. During the revolution, tens of thousands of people were singing:

Wake up, Romanian, from your deadly sleep
Into which you've been sunk by the barbaric tyrants
Now, or never, your fate renew,
To which your enemies will bow to.

Just a week ago I met a fellow Romanian in Columbus, Ohio; it was the first time I met this man, but as soon as I mentioned to him the political situation here in the U.S. his response was, "Remember…we lived through it…we can recognize Communism from 2 miles away. Americans would not recognize it if it stared them in the face."

Wake up, American, from your deadly sleep.

Posted by Advocates for Liberty Member, Virgil Vaduva