You know the old saying; “when the going gets tough — ”, Mike Pompeo shrugs and says “tough shit”? No, wait. That’s not how it goes. If you’ve kept up with the Secretary of State, you’ll know his stance on Hong Kong. Only three days after remarking on “[…] a smooth transition into a second Trump Administration”, he’s given onlookers a sense of whiplash. Now he’s back to championing democracy, and tweeting #StandWithHongKong.
That’s what people say when they support (not just) the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, but also the spirit of democracy itself. The stance isn’t just brave; it warms the hearts of those who demonstrate for these ideals. The notion it could be an act of roleplaying? That’s cold.
Half a year ago, the Secretary of State said: “No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China,” and consistently touted “facts on the ground”. Meanwhile, millions of people on the ground have been left wondering; do we really care about democracy abroad? Or is he just paying lip-service, the convenient byproduct of serving at the pleasure of a man who takes a heavy-handed stance on China?
Three days ago, he may have laid that speculation to rest. While the President-Elect has been confirmed, Donald Trump has yet to concede. As a side-effect of his refusal to accept the election results, one of the agencies responsible for giving transitional elements to Joe Biden has declined to do so. This raises some questions; who should we expect to cooperate?
“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” — Peter Marshall
Amid tensions over the interregnum — or lack thereof — many officials within the Trump Administration have failed to acknowledge that President Trump won’t remain in office after January 20th. (Including Mike Pompeo.) Why? There’s no reason to doubt that the election was fair. Even the CISA reported it was the most secure election in U.S. history.
Trump's own officials say 2020 was America's most secure election in history
The 2020 US election was the most secure in American history, according to US elections officials. "The November 3rd…
Needless to say, the Secretary of State’s remark wasn’t appreciated; even an ex-cabinet member was displeased. It highlights an inconsistency — if he’s not for democracy at home, is he really for democracy at all? Let alone in a place that needs it so desperately, like Hong Kong? The ongoing protests began as a plea for anti-extradition, and quickly became something larger. Anti-fascism, anti-brutality, and pro-freedom. (All too familiar to Americans, today.)
It’s time to ask Mike Pompeo, is he just cheer-leading for democracy from the sidelines? When he attended West Point Military Academy, there was a code of honor — he took an oath: “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” In the meantime, he shouldn’t use #StandWithHongKong.
Until he does what’s right, he can use a few of these instead:
To the people fighting for the soul of democracy, and especially in Hong Kong, the stars and stripes are a symbol of hope — the America flag is often flown in these demonstrations; one way to say “thank you” isn’t to kill that symbol; it’s to keep the country it represents in one piece.