The champion of Polish freedom tells America it's no longer that shining city on a hill. As it slouches toward socialism, he warns, those yearning to breathe free in the world can no longer look to the U.S. for help.
They were the giants of their age. Together, President Ronald Reagan, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II and a little known shipyard worker named Lech Walesa stood up to Soviet communism and brought freedom to the captive nations of Europe.
Last Friday, Walesa was in Chicago campaigning for a GOP gubernatorial candidate in the Illinois primary who happened to be Polish. Arguably the father of Polish democracy, Walesa knows a little bit about tyranny, socialism and the slippery path to both, and came to warn us about the path we've been on.
In a press conference, Walesa commented on an America that seemingly apologizes for everything these days, cajoles rather than confronts the thugs of the world and is embarked on a path to shackle beyond redemption the free economy that led the Free World to victory.
He no longer thinks we are the last best hope for mankind. "The United States is only one superpower. Today they lead the world. Nobody has doubts about it, militarily," the Polish leader said. "They also lead economically, but they're getting weak.
"But they don't lead morally and politically anymore. The world has no leadership. The United States was always the last resort and hope for all other nations. There was the hope, whenever something was going wrong, one could count on the United States. Today, we lost that hope."
Walesa led the Solidarity movement in Poland. He was in a sense a community organizer, but not in the mold of a Saul Alinsky. He sought to liberate his people, not control them.
The marches and protests that led to Polish freedom were a precursor to America's tea party movement that likewise seeks to throw off the chains of a command-and-control society and restore genuine economic and political freedom.
The Soviet empire had its commissars. Our government has its czars, and Walesa definitely feels the America that was his friend is moving in the wrong direction. He sees our quest for redistribution of income as not different from the Marxist credo — from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
In a video-taped interview, Walesa saw a hint of socialism creeping into America's domestic policies. He spoke of "the issue with the banks" and how "the government wastes all the money ... building a bureaucracy — just for itself."
Indeed, it seems the only growth sector in the U.S. is its government and the unions that exist not for the prosperity and freedom of their members, but for the power and influence of their leaders.
Poland had Lech Walesa. We have the SEIU's Andy Stern ,who says that if those who disagree with command-and-control government do not bow to the power of persuasion, they will bow to the persuasion of power.
It has been a long journey for Walesa from the Gdansk Lenin Shipyards to Chicago's Back of the Yards. He's the man who turned an illegal independent trade union into a force for freedom in communist Poland. He served as Poland's president from 1990 to 1995.
He has witnessed a lot of history and knows when people refuse to learn from it.
In Walesa's view, something needs to be done to restore America's strength and leadership. America, in his view, is too big to fail.
... written by Thunderball , February 27, 2010
Lech did not use the word Socialism. Nor can I picture Wade walking any Union picket line. Or fighting to increase the paltry size of unionized Americans (seven percent)