I spent the weeks before the Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing, often going to watch the protests in the square. It was for weeks a thrilling display of hope and optimism and hunger for democracy. I saw senior party members join in those aspirations.
And then it was crushed...to the eternal discredit of the Chinese Communist Party. The aspirations remain. Ultimately, I firmly believe, the spirit of Tiananmen will prevail.
Having said that...
The juxtaposition of this anniversary of Tiananmen with our president turning our military on peaceful protestors is, for me as an American, even more crushing. We represented in 1989 what those protestors aspired to. Today, they cannot be sure what we represent.
Trump long ago went on the record supporting the crackdown of the PRC government. He saw it as a sign of strength. Of course, it, like Trump's outrageous actions, was the opposite. It was a sign of the fears of officials who knew their people would reject them if given a choice.
Fortunately, we have a choice. We can recommit to democracy and repudiate its enemies--like Trump, like his sponsor Vladimir Putin, and like the government in Beijing. We can do that by voting out Trump in November and starting again to champion democracy worldwide thereafter.
But that work will begin here at home. On this anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre this year, we can honor those who died there by acknowledging its parallels with what happened in Lafayette Park and by rejecting the enemies of democracy that are in power in the US now.
You can follow @djrothkopf.
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