For Polish Independence Day, 60,000 patriots marched in the streets with Polish flags, and some with political slogans.
In previous years the media has paid little attention to this annual event, but this year the march was so large and contained so many people from other European countries that the mainstream media finally covered it.
Can you guess what their spin was? Most of the participants were ordinary Poles, but a small minority had racist and anti-Semitic slogans, and of course, the media gave these few dubious elements the most attention and used them to smear the great majority of participants. Apparently, #NotAll does not apply to patriots.
Ignoring the Spin
In Poland, the march was reported in positive terms. According to Fox News:
“State broadcaster TVP, which reflects the conservative government’s line, called it a “great march of patriots,” and in its broadcasts described the event as one that drew mostly regular Poles expressing their love of Poland, not extremists.
`It was a beautiful sight,” Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said. “We are proud that so many Poles have decided to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday.’ ”
A casual reader may ask “what’s the deal with Poland? Why are there so many patriots there and why should Americans care?” Unlike the West, Eastern Europe has experienced both imperialistic invasions from abroad and totalitarianism from within.
A Dark History
This is particularly true for Poland which has a long and bloody history of being occupied and enslaved by other nations, most recently by the communists and the Soviet Union. And more importantly: a large part of the population who experienced this is still alive. They maintain the memory of the dark times as an active part of their cultural heritage. These large annual marches on Independence Day are a part of that effort of keeping their dark past alive.
By contrast, Western countries have experienced six decades of peace, freedom, and sloth. Almost no-one remembers being in a war. Virtually none have experienced true tyranny. It’s fair to say that most of us are spoiled.
Not so with Poles. Not long ago they thirsted for freedom and independence, and now that they have finally achieved it, they desperately want to keep it.
The Signs of Dictatorship
They know dictatorship and invasions when they see it. Therefore, they are highly skeptical of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the EU and the flood of migrants entering from Africa and the Middle East. It is only seventy years since another German leader dictated the laws and lives of Polish people, and they are not afraid to draw the parallels. They are tired of being dictated to from abroad.
While Poles are marching in the street to celebrate their independence, the U.S. is slowly marching towards tyranny while the American people are sitting apathetically by and doing nothing to stop it. America could learn a few things from Poland and be inspired by their youthful energy. Maybe it is time for Americans to appreciate the freedoms they still have and to stop taking it for granted?