History by People
On this day in 1989, November 24, in Prague, the entire top leadership of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia resigned.
The causes and events leading to that resignation are many; but among them are an extremely large peaceful, popular uprising.
Four days earlier, on November 20, a crowd of of 200,000 protesting Czechs had swelled to 500,000. In that high-energy environment, a bold, freedom-loving playwright, soon-to-become President, Vaclav Havel, addressed the crowd, while standing on this balcony:
I snapped the pic a few years ago when we were visiting Prague. Our tour guide pointed out that (in my opinion) historic balcony.
Please note that that 1989 crowd of a half-million Czechs did not attack their government; nor did they trash the place; nor did they attack the leaders of the ruling party, or threaten any one them with a scaffold. But with the peacefully constructive leadership of Vaclav Havel, Alexander Dubcek and others, they were able to initiate a peaceful revolution, now called the Velvet Revolution, and thereby join the ranks of freedom-loving nations.
These last few days, November 2022, I have been pondering the idea of Liberty. We are visiting Boston, just now. If you walk around this historic city for any length of time, you cannot miss the atmosphere of Liberty that pervades the place.
From the Old North Church where Robert Newman signaled to Paul Revere, as he was waiting across the Charles River, came Newman’s lantern signal that the British were coming! . . .
. . . to the Civil War Soldiers monument on Boston Common, or the Wendell Phillips monument:
. . . Along these lines of Liberty musing, this baby boomer cannot fail to remember. . . nor fail to mention, in this year of ’22, that liberty-loving Massachusetts Senator who, while assuming our Presidency in 1961, offered this counsel to us all:
“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
JFK’s message of constructive liberty was not confined only to us Americans. Later in his Presidency, while visiting the fiercely divided city of Berlin Germany, he challenged the citizens of that embattled city:
“My fellow citizens of the world: Ask not what America will do for you, but what, together, we can do for the freedom of man.”
His counsel of peaceful, constructive doing — rather than destructive rioting — is timely and appropriate for us . . . We the People of these United States of America in 2022.
Think about that this Thanksgiving. Do you really want to start another civil war just because one man refuses to play by the rules?