As Fathers Day and July 4th approach, I congratulate you on being the first American president to meet with North Korea’s head of state: where others feared war, you have increased the chances of peace. Such communication is essential to make a reality of Douglas MacArthur’s prophecy: “A better world shall emerge based on faith and understanding.”
I am Australian and a fan of MacArthur and the American spirit of freedom. I write to you from a new home for freedom: the Republic Of Indonesia. In this nation, leaders like Presidents Yudhoyono and Jokowi and Mike Pence’s recent White House guest Yahya Staquf Cholil strengthen democracy, fight terrorism and present a gentle face to the world.
The Indonesian nation was born in the wake of the American lead victory over Imperial Japan in 1945. During World War Two, when the attack on Pearl Harbour and subsequent Japanese imperial conquests shook up our world, Australia’s great wartime Prime Minister, Jack Curtin, said, “Australia looks to America.” We still do. Under the postwar leadership of Douglas MacArthur, Japan became a democratic ally of the West.
America inspires the world by the depth of her commitment to freedom. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.” Likewise Thomas Jefferson said “Our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves.”
In words that presage the sufferings of many men in the twenty first century at the hands of misandry disguised as political correctness, George Washington declared, “If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
During World War One, when free nations faced an existential threat, Nobel Peace Prize winner Teddy Roosevelt reasserted the profoundly American vision of the centrality of honest freedom: “I am an American and a free man. ……. Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free press, is a necessity in any country where the people are themselves free …… Nothing but the truth should be spoken …….”
In his 1941 state of the Union address, Teddy’s 5th cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, spoke of the need for continual national endeavour: “……. today’s best is not good enough for tomorrow.”
This last quote points to a strength that defines American greatness: the ability to correct mistakes and to take new paths: as Ronald Reagan said: “Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things.” That’s the spirit behind your pioneering meeting in Singapore, Mr President.
In 1961, The Gipper warned: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Protecting freedom for those who follow speaks to us now when equality and freedom are denied to far too many sons in the western world.
The election of Barak Obama and yourself were both examples of America’s capacity to redirect herself. The following wise words from Obama show great insight to social problems which became worse during his presidency: “For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighbourhoods or on college campuses, or places of worship or especially our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions …….. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we start accepting only information, whether it’s true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there.”
The problem of sexist injustices towards men is getting worse across the western world. The appointment by you, Mr President, of Betsy DeVos to the crucial post of Secretary of Education may be a turning point.
In addressing injustices created by previous Title IX directions she has shown that America’s freedom-based capacity to correct problems is still alive and well. For me as a poet, her words about this are profoundly moving: they demonstrate your administration’s defence of the very best American traditions. For instance:
“There is no way to avoid the devastating reality of campus sexual misconduct: lives have been lost. Lives of victims. And lives of the accused.”
“Survivors aren’t well-served when they are re-traumatized with appeal after appeal because the failed system failed the accused.”
“And the rights of one person can never be paramount to the rights of another.”
“Schools have been compelled by Washington to enforce ambiguous and incredibly broad definitions of assault and harassment. …. But if everything is harassment, then nothing is.”
“The notion that a school must diminish due process rights to better serve the ‘victim’ only creates more victims.”
Mr President, I know of no government figure in the world to have recently made a better stand for the rights of men than your Secretary of Education. As a victim of socialist left police state tactics in in Victoria in southeast Australia, I salute your appointment of Secretary DeVos.
Current challenges to freedom are real. As the Secretary’s comments imply, people stripped of freedom will sometimes choose suicide.
American founding father Patrick Henry said “…… give me liberty or give me death!” A slogan of the Indonesian republican revolution gets this in three words: “Merdeka atau mati!” (Liberty or death!)
Where is the answer to modern injustices against men? Perhaps Douglas MacArthur’s wise words: “It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.” show the way.
Much work must be done for the spirit of freedom to survive and save us.
As Thomas Jefferson put it: “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
God Bless You and God Bless Betsy DeVos, Mr President.
And God Bless the spirit of freedom with which America leads the world.
Geoff Fox, Java, Indonesia, 15-06-2018