Forget the human suffering in Venezuela, Democrats are more worried about the votes

RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

There was a New York Times headline yesterday that sounded a warning cry:

Dangerous Territory for Democrats as Republicans Seize Venezuela Moment in Miami.

What is the desperate fear? That President Trump might continue his tough talk supporting the ouster of Venezuela's dictator Nicolas Maduro. And what if he succeeds? That would be an amazing miracle for millions of suffering Venezuelans, right? Sure, maybe. But the dark side would be that a generation of Venezuelans in Florida might start voting Republican. Oh, the humanity.

Listen to this quote from the article:

Democrats fear it could transform Venezuelan-Americans into loyal Republicans, much like Cuban-Americans.

So, essentially, the bigger issue for Democrats when it comes to Venezuela is not freedom and basic human dignity for people there who have to spend a week's wages on a loaf of bread. It's how might this situation lose us votes in Florida.

RELATED: The Downfall of Venezuela

Just like Cuban-Americans turned on JFK after the Bay of Pigs fiasco and started voting Republican, the idea is that if this thing veers toward freedom and democracy in Venezuela, it will also turn Venezuelan-Americans into Republicans.

When President Trump recently recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim leader of Venezuela, thousands of Venezuelans gathered in Miami to voice their support. And that's exactly the kind of thing making Democrats sweat. Because you know how close those presidential election results always are in Florida.

Then there's also this reality – a lot of Democrats prefer Maduro because they prefer socialism.

Then there's also this reality – a lot of Democrats prefer Maduro because they prefer socialism. If he gets chased out of office, it would confirm another massive socialist failure and that makes them uncomfortable. In fact, several of the white pantsuit brigade in Congress – including Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) and Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) – immediately lashed out at Trump for supporting Guaido and criticized the idea of more sanctions against Maduro.

One 44-year-old woman quoted in The New York Times story fled Venezuela 12 years ago, settled in Florida, and became a U.S. citizen last year. She said she leans Republican, but did not like President Trump until he started taking a firm stance on Venezuela. She said:

Thank God we have this president. At least he's listened to us. Unfortunately, the previous administration did not.

So, go ahead, Democrats. Continue down your socialist path of less freedom with your Green New Deal and freebies galore. Just don't expect many Venezuelan votes along the way.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

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