8.14.19: Nation – (Politics): A pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong that sprouted two months ago has not only sustained itself after getting an initial demand partially met, but is apparently growing in intensity.
Roughly a week after young Hongkongers peacefully took to the streets on June 9th to repudiate a proposed bill that would encroach on the semi-autonomous country’s independence, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended the bill and apologized for its introduction.
But that wasn’t enough.
Another protest occurred on the 17th of June, which drew upwards of nearly two million people, organizers said. The activists want a total withdrawal of the controversial bill, which would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China, despite Hong Kong being guaranteed that Beijing wouldn’t interfere with its legal and economic matters.
Also, on the activists’ list of demands is greater democracy and an inquiry into alleged police brutality during past demonstrations, according to CNN.
This week, the civil disobedience in Hong Kong has further captured the world’s attention as its airport, one of the world’s busiest, was forced to shut down for two days due to occupation by protesters. 200 flights on Monday were canceled upon an escalation between activists and police. Beijing has since compared the activists’ behavior to “terrorist-like actions.”
But the young people protesting in Hong Kong aren’t terrorists. Rather, they are freedom fighters who are putting their bodies on the line for the promise of democracy.
For me, the sight of the relentless Hongkongers is both heartening, because any pursuit of democracy is inherently righteous, but also dispiriting, because the juxtaposition to America shows that we, the people, haven’t realized our potential as a collective and unflinching resistance.
After back-to-back mass shootings on the first weekend of August, which was proceeded by over 200 similar incidents this year alone, America, like Hong Kong, should have been plunged into a political crisis.
Upon learning of the senseless death in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, the streets of America should have featured no vacancy. The rallying cry for a ban on assault weapons, or universal background checks, should’ve been louder than any excuse for delay presented by elected officials. The sustained forcefulness of the movement should’ve been impenetrable to divisiveness and punishing of inaction.
But, alas, no such collective formed, thus relegating whatever outrage that flourished to a hyper-local existence rather than righteous indignation laid at the seats of government.
There’s a reason why the U.S President can take a vacation after such tragedies instead of burning the midnight oil in the Oval Office to bear forth a resolution, and why U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t reconvene their governing bodies from the Summer recess. It’s because they fear no immediate consequence. Indeed, they’re betting on the pacificity of American voters.
But the American voters have no reason to be passive. The numbers are on their side.
A week-old POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found that 70 percent of all voters would back an assault weapons ban. Furthermore, support for an assault-weapons ban was higher, at 86 percent, among Democrats, while 55 percent of GOP voters were comfortable with banning assault weapons, according to Politico.
The people have spoken. It’s incumbent upon elected official to represent the wishes of their constituents and ensure their desires are fulfilled. That is the promise of representative democracy.
And if such a representative democracy fails to function as promised, the American people are compelled to correct it. For the government’s power are derived from the people it governs.
People power has manifested in Hong Kong, so, too, should it be here.
Thanks for reading! Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® and I’m Drumming for Justice!™
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