Let Freedom Ring” by Phyllis Hunsinger article first appeared in the Business Times July, 2023

  “As America becomes predominantly made up of people who didn’t have a hand in building the system in the first place, it is producing more and more people who want to destroy the system because they don’t understand it. They don’t appreciate how fragile their freedom is, how precious their system of government, how rare their way of life. And they entertain fantasies of tearing it down. In some cases, those fantasies are becoming reality.”  Yeonmi Park

Yeonmi Park, a North Korean defector, knows of which she speaks. Her journey began with her birth and early years in extreme hardship in North Korea continuing with her escape into China as a young woman, where she was sold as a sex slave.  She was introduced to a group of Christian missionaries who aided North Korean defectors in China. The missionaries helped send her to South Korea, from which she eventually made her way to America. This amazing story is chronicled in her book “While Time Remains.”

The title of her book identifies the urgency she felt in writing the book. As a new citizen, she observed that many of her fellow Americans had lost the ability to appreciate the glory of this country the way she does. These same people seem unable to recognize current threats to freedoms in America. Her escape from brutal regimes to seek freedom in America was a dream come true. What has been surprising for Yeonmi Park are the alarming similarities between policies and developments in the United States that remind her of North Korea.

As an invited speaker, Yeonmi has experienced attempts to cancel her presentations. This is done by people who tend not to be first-generation immigrants. She observed these people seem to work mostly in schools, universities, media, large corporations, NGO’s, activist organizations, and government bureaucracies. She said, “these people were born in America and have never actually lived under the kind of political and social system they believe to be superior to America’s capitalist democracy.”

Author Helen Raleigh expressed parallel thoughts in “Confucius Never Said,” a deeply personal saga of her family in China. They experienced a life of tranquility with the right to own and farm their property, providing for their family until the rise of Mao Zedong. After the Communist take-over, landlords and rich farmers were rounded up to be sent to labor camps or executed.

When Mao and the Communist Party took over China, people never suspected his evil intent because his slogan about equality appealed to the majority of Chinese people. The people soon realized the heavy price that would be paid to achieve equality. His forceful redistribution policies, his command economy, and his thought police ensured misery was equally distributed among Chinese people. Ordinary Chinese peoples’ lives were expendable, and millions perished during the years of famine.

Helen said, “When I read George Orwell’s 1984, it gave me nightmares. It was exactly what my mother and millions of other Chinese people lived through.” Helen recounted that thought control mastered by Mao is not unlike political correctness and taboo subjects in America today. Losing liberty is a gradual process, and as she points out, it usually starts with limiting freedom of expression.

Both Park and Raleigh write passionately about the dangers of overlooking the insidious regulations and limitations being placed on ordinary Americans under the guise of correcting injustices and inequalities. The heavy-handed government actions they observe are all too reminiscent of their shared experiences under Communism. Raleigh explicitly calls socialism a kissing cousin of communism. It is time to resist excessive government control and shout, “Let freedom ring!”

“I grew up in China and immigrated to the United States. I sought freedom and the American Dream, and I found both…only to witness my fellow Americans throwing their freedom away with both hands.”  Helen Raleigh

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