President Donald Trump channeled his inner Ronald Reagan at the Warsaw Uprising memorial in Poland last week. His impassioned speech in defense of Western values heralded his America First mantra in a way that made both domestic and international supporters proud.
It was a stark contrast, however, to the scene in Hamburg, Germany later that day — and for several days after. Protesters flooded the streets of the iconic German city, transforming it into a war zone as world leaders convened for the G-20 summit.
I believe this was a glimpse into possible paths for future. On the one hand we had a rousing defense of truth, justice, and liberty, and on the other hand, lawlessness and intimidation tactics galore.
In 1995, Pope John Paul visited the United States. He was quoted saying, “freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”
President Trump alluded to this freedom in his speech when he said “the West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies.”
The history of Poland shows a remarkable example of a resilient, Western people. They refused to be silenced in the face of the most brutal regimes, truly valuing freedom and what freedom actually means, while putting God foremost before all. They have stood fast in the face of fascism and communism, and today they stand as one of the most prosperous countries in Europe and the world.
What sets Poland apart from the rest of Europe, and quite frankly, the rest of the developed world, is how religious its people are. 87 percent of the country identifies as Roman Catholic, and about half of those actively practice their faith.
I visited Poland in March, and my tour guide alluded to the country’s widespread religious practice; she said that the country had no shortage of priests, numbering about 27,000. She jokingly remarked that priests are “one of our exports.”
Poland has been on the upswing ever since it escaped the shackles of communism. But the same cannot be said for the rest of the western world. In Poland, President Trump highlighted the starkly different futures that lie before us.
“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” he said.
Much of the West has bowed to pressures from special interests, concerning themselves more with personal feelings than seeking hard truths. In many cases, they have excused the abhorrent behaviors of people in the name of equality and civil rights.
The west needs to look to Poland and the Polish people as an example of prosperity. If the rest of Europe and the developed world want to survive and prosper, they must embrace the same patriotism, religious fervor, and resolve that made Poland the country it is today.
We no longer fight against the same fascist and communist regimes who were hell bent on enslavement and occupation, but we still face an enemy that aims to destroy the values and achievements of western culture.
The world does not have to choose a future of riots and mobs like we saw in Hamburg. We have the opportunity to instead learn from Poland.
Let’s take a page out of the Polish playbook and always hold on to the things that made Western Civilization great.
As President Trump said, “if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again. So we cannot fail.”
Watch the president’s speech here: