Truth-starved captive pleads, “Why are you abandoning us?” as the Shining City goes dark

Well, this week marked the last broadcast of BBC World News to information-starved captives behind the bamboo curtain – and that’s just the beginning. President Obama also intends to cut off radio contact to the huddled masses as well, by throwing the switch on Voice of America.

For some reason, this makes me think of Ronald Reagan, how he referred to America as a “Shining City on a Hill,” and his dedication to beam hope and inspiration to those languishing under the boot of communism while he worked tirelessly to thwart their jailers.

It makes me miss him. Me, an American. You know one of those blessed but often ungrateful creatures that emerge from the womb wearing a bloodstained crown of freedom. If our present administration can make me – living my insulated American life of blessed cluelessness – miss him, how much more must those who live in fear yearn for an American president so passionately driven to shine the language of liberty into their dark dungeons?

According to the Foundry, some of those desperate voices have pierced through the curtain, even as the darkness closes in – including this heart-rending plea, “Why are you abandoning us?”

The Chinese people have been able to rely on truthful information from VOA and the BBC throughout their many national traumas, including Tiananmen Square. No more. While some VOA shortwave programming is to be transferred to Radio Free Asia (which is also owned by the U.S. government), the Internet will henceforth be the primary medium of communication with the people of China, a country whose government is world-class when it comes to Internet censorship.

On VOA’s Chinese service, which devoted an evening show to the broadcasting cuts last week, callers from China expressed their disappointment and dismay with the radio silence from the West that is about to befall them. Contrary to arguments that radio and satellite TV are completely jammed by the Chinese government, callers from a number of provinces, from Beijing to rural China to Inner Mongolia, spoke of their reliance on VOA as an honest and credible source of source of news. They spoke of not knowing where to turn if the broadcasts go off the air. One expressed deep mystification and sadness: “Why are you abandoning us?”

I first read about the VOA going silent last month during a concurrent media push to compare Obama with Reagan. This is what I wrote at the time:

Unbelievable. President Obama — who some are determined to cast as a Ronald Reagan Redux – doesn’t feel Chinese dissidents need to hear anything that hasn’t been approved by their communist jailers. So, after 42 years, he’s cutting off short-wave Voice of America broadcasts into Tibet, western Xinjiang Province, and other points beyond bamboo curtain.

Judging by his friends, associates, statements and actions before and after coming to Washington, it should be no surprise that Obama steps over the huddled masses to bring water to their oppressors. Just spare us the whack-adoo Reagan comparisons. […]

So now he’s pretending to be a clone of one of our greatest presidents — even while his actions prove the opposite. Reagan was passionate about beaming news from the free world into the darkest crannies of the earth’s political dungeons – and in so doing, he infused hope from his beloved ”shining city on a hill” that encouraged and mobilized millions. He invested 6 billion in renovating, upgrading and enhancing ”the world’s largest short-wave system” and when the Soviets blocked the signal, he pugnaciously jumped into what Peter Schweizer called another “arms race” – to develop new technology to foil their jamming equipment.

It’s naive to expect Obama to do anything else. Sadly, this man who has been so prodigiously blessed because generations before him cherished our American system, doesn’t view our liberty worthy of passing down to generations of yet-unborn Americans, let alone a freedom-starved Chinese peasant.

I don’t want to be harsh, but how can any thinking person expect any different from a man who was able to sit in Reverend Wright’s church for two decades; is married to a women who believes that America is a “downright mean” country; and who grovels on foreign soil that received the freedom-defending blood of American GIs for “dictating” or for not “listening” or for being “dismissive,” “derisive,” and “arrogant.”

But then this is a president who propped America up to be muddied and spit upon by the world’s most notorious regimes at the U.N. Human Rights Council — for egregious offenses like the Arizona immigration law and secret ballots at union elections. It’s no surprise that he sees no value in sponsoring contraband truth to the oppressed. It’s clear that his actions aren’t exactly guided by an over-riding sense that anything America has to share would be a worthwhile alternative to communist thought control.

Nevertheless, those in Congress who feel differently can still act to ensure that hope, liberty, and truth are beamed into the earth’s darkest dungeons. Let’s hope for a late-term miracle.

As the President’s budget has not been approved by Congress, there’s still time for reconsideration of this decision. Congress—specifically, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Foreign Affairs Committee—is getting ready to hold hearings on broadcasting, and high time it is.

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