We the People of Turkey, Brazil, and Syria


Protestors outside the municipal theater in downtown Rio de Jainero June 17th, 2013
Photo Courtesy of Christophe Simon, AFP/Getty Images via USATODAY

Danny Zeng | June 25th, 2013

This week as we wrestle with landmark decisions from the Supreme Court, the controversial “Gang of Eight” immigration bill, and the President’s climate change agenda, we are reminded of the robustness of our democracy. All three branches of government are acting in concert to engage in issues of immense importance to the public. They are leading the political discourse at our nation’s capital that filter through news organizations, talk shows, blogs, YouTube updates, and podcasts to the American people, who then have the luxury of consuming these daily soundbites – and oftentimes boiling tirades-  from people of opposing views without having to give concern to our physical safety or that of our friends and families. And yet these precious freedoms that allow us to have constructive, heated, and  ultimately vibrant discourse about the direction of our country, the merits of a legislation, and the conduct of our public officials are foreign to so many across the globe who enjoy so little freedom in the public sphere.

As I read about what is happening in Turkey, Brazil, and Syria, I am ever so grateful for the kind of hard fought freedoms that we enjoy here in the U.S., even though we are constantly reminded of their slipperiness.  Despite the public ire over IRS targeting conservative groups, government wiretapping reporters, drone attacks against American citizens, or NSA tapping of our phones, the American people largely vocalize our disagreements, peacefully, through non-violent democratic channels. On the other hand,  over 93,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict, and over thousands are injured and four confirmed dead in Turkey in recent weeks as result of the anti-government protest. The Turkish police was firing tear gas and rubber bullets at their own people.  Most of these issues can be understood from the perspective of freedom: a perennial political and economic ideal that mutually sustains each other through capitalism and democracy, a political notion popularly articulated by the late Milton Friedman in 1962 and many others.

Oftentimes in a democracy, people take their issues to the streets, a sign of either economic or political distress. The mix of the two could be fatal to a sitting regime, as evidenced throughout the history of great kingdoms and empires. Present protests happen for the same reasons. The source of protest in Brazil stems from “a strike against a 9-cent bus-fare hike,” a seemingly small if not utterly incomprehensible fuse – for many Westerners at least – that it’s simply awe-spiring. The episode strikes me as a non-graphic replay from a similar incomprehensible-to-the-West display from Arab Spring two years ago, when a Tunisian vegetable peddler set himself on fire in front of a governor’s office. These massive protests against government corruption and graft are testaments, to the chagrin of many big-government advocates I’m sure, that governments with incoherent economic policies are doomed to fail from within as college students, working class, and middle class citizens rise up against an administrative state and layers of public fat that take away from productive sectors in the economy. Economic freedom is invariably linked to political freedom. Both, in my mind, have to harmoniously co-exist for true prosperity and progress.

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Nothing Gold Can Stay

Courtesy of Washington Post

Courtesy of Washington Post | Jonathan Ernst / AP

College Republicans at Texas | January 21, 2013

“That while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth…That is our generation’s task — to make these words, these rights, these values — of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness — real for every American.” – President Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address

The President and the Vice President were sworn in yesterday for their second terms per constitutional stipulation. As the inaugural ceremony today coincides with MLK Day celebration nationwide, it is worthy to reflect on our country’s future and how far we have come. The legacy of Dr. King roots in civil disobedience, protests, and active participation as means to pursue alternative policies. For young people like ourselves, we are much hopeful and optimistic, despite current economic forces at play that hinder our economic opportunities and social mobility.

Economic freedom is percursor to a free society, and what is Freedom if there is no sight of Opportunity? At the onset of Mr. Obama’s second term, we challenge the President to work toward creating this kind of society in which all people who choose to make something of themselves would have the chance to do so for them and their families.  This means fixing the complex and outdated tax code so they expand opportunity and not restrict it, reforming our nation’s broken entitlement system to ensure that Government lives up to its promises to its people, and further encouraging and cultivating an entrepreneurial culture, by lowering barriers against self-employment and innovation, and indeed invigorating new intellectual life into our nation’s institutions of higher education.

Looking ahead, College Republicans are optimistic about our future. We have faith in our peers. We have faith in the American people. And we have faith in our nation’s dogged pursuit for freedom and liberty that characterize who we are as Americans. As students of Dr. King, someone who challenged the status quo of his days, we, too, at the beginning of the President’s new term, challenge the prevalent governing philosophy of those in power that has increasingly become more expansive and intrusive. We accept the President’s challenge to shape our own debates:

“You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals”

It is necessary to note that it’s Opportunity that invigorates the soul of every man and woman to excel in his/her own right; without which, the drive to pursue human excellence and progress would be all together obliterated. Once we take away the possibility of improvement, we then condemn ourselves down a path of mediocrity and stagnancy. That is the broad thesis upon which we wage this War of Ideas against the Liberal establishment.

Today we celebrate the endurance of our founding as we usher in another term of constitutional stability. We wish the President all the luck in the world for his Second Term. At the same time, we are ever more cognizant of the fact that Freedom, as an idea, had yet to fail the hopes of aspirant people throughout the history of mankind; and that the restriction of Liberty, economic or otherwise, had yet to be shown as a viable path to prosperity and stability.

On this occasion, we pray for our President, our Congress, and our nation. And may God continue to bless America and all freedom lovers around the world.

A Day that will Live in Infamy

Pearl Harbor survivor William Muehleib stands at attention during the National Anthem during the Pearl Harbor memorial ceremony, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Today marks the 70th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base which pulled the US into a war with Japan. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Pearl Harbor survivor William Muehleib stands at attention during the National Anthem during the Pearl Harbor memorial ceremony, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Today marks the 70th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor Naval Base which pulled the US into a war with Japan. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

College Republicans at Texas Executive Board | December 7th, 2012

Today, we pay tribute to thousands of brave Americans who lost their lives on December 7th, 71 years ago, as result of sudden aerial attack from then Imperial Japan. There should be no doubt that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a game-changer in history: it allowed the U.S. to give up its isolationist stance and proactively intervene abroad. The U.S. involvement during the war arguably ended it sooner, allowing countries to rebuild and return to normalcy after years of global suffering. The men and women stationed in O’ahu were believers of freedoms and liberty. The world was divided at that time between peaceful nations and imperial hegemonies. On the European front, the Nazis invaded Soviet Union and advanced to the gates of Leningrad by December of 1941. In the meantime, thousands of Jewish people were sent to concentration camps, deprived of life, liberty, and basic human dignity. On the Asian-Pacific front, the Sino-Japanese war has been raging on mainland China for years. The Japanese forces ruthlessly massacred thousands of Chinese civilians in the city of Nanjing in 1937, raping innocent women and committing massive looting across the city. The atrocities committed during the war seem so far-fetched from present realities, at least among free nations. However, let us not forget that even today there are many injustices remain around the world, in certain parts of Africa and in the Middle East. History would have turned out differently if the Americans were not involved during the war. If we have indeed chosen to pursue isolationism at the time, then we would have forsaken the cause of liberty for all, and the free world would have then been at the mercy of violent dictators, whose psychopathic avarice for power was an affront against human progress. The brave men of women who fought under our banner in WWII deserve our utmost respect and gratitude for their sacrifices not only for our country but indeed for humanity. Their memories will live on as we proceed to preserve and maintain the legacy of freedom passed down to our generation. God bless America.