Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. (NAS)
I was asked by a friend once about the two bumper stickers I had on my first car when I was a teenager. One was a Catholic pro-life sticker written in Spanish – the other, a small flag of Tibet. He asked me if I was trying to get my car keyed by everyone at once, or if they would just take turns.
For me, the question still is: Why aren’t conservatives leading the way for Tibetan freedom?
While it my inspire very different demographics, I still believe that these two battles speak to the very soul of American conservatism. If conservatism means anything, it means this: that we are all born with an equal claim to certain rights given to all mankind, and that these include the right to live, and live freely, regardless of whether your life is inconvenient, or another claimed to own it, and the power to determine its fate … and the right to worship, regardless of whether the deity you serve is unpopular with the ruling authorities of your nation. The claim to the first principle gave rise to the abolitionist movement and the Republican Party; the claim to the second gave rise to the Pilgrims and the birth of America itself.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you believe the Dalai Lama’s message about the nature or theology of the divine – that is irrelevant. What matters, in the case of the recent “unrest” in Tibet – such an adorable, innocent little word these foreign beat reporters use, as if China was turning restlessly in its sleep – is that the freedom to worship in this case has not just been torn from an entire people. It is their right to exist, to direct their own paths in any meaningful way.
No wonder they are willing to risk disappearing forever into the oblivion of imprisonment, willing to dare the edge of the Communist knife, to speak out, to show the world what a mockery of “peace” the Olympic torch represents as it enters Beijing.
They have few avenues for support, and fewer still for information. Only one international journalist, from The Economist, is even in Lhasa. His reports are tragic and sad, but there is an aura of inevitability to them. We all knew this had to come someday.
Someone explain it all to me. Someone, please, explain why we conservatives should not advocate forcefully for a free Tibet against the People’s Republic of China. Someone explain why, as conservatives, we should not strongly support those who wish only to claim the freedoms we believe are the birthright of all people.
(And no, it can’t just be that all those trend-chasing ex-hippies want a free Tibet, too. For once, they’re right, even if it’s just another excuse for a hippie jam festival, so just be happy about it.)
Listen to the few conservatives who do recognize the significance of this issue. Listen to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. Listen to Rep. Frank Wolf, who’s been doing this for years. They’ve called for a boycott of the games, for a ban on diplomats using taxpayer money to travel to this Olympics, and forcefully disagreed with the recent administration decision to remove China from the human rights watchlist.
Conservatives should stand up for human rights in Tibet. We should stand up against the despot nouveau who attempt to sweep this ongoing clash under the rug. We should lead, or be prepared to make the case why the rights we have always claimed belong to all mankind are, in this case, irrelevant.