Episode 16: Guns, Roses & Umbrellas

In the sixteenth episode of The Latest, we vote for democracy in Hong Kong because it’s got to happen somewhere. Chelsea Konarska, a Los Angeles-based hair stylist, joins the program for this week’s O.J. Simpson Twitter Update.

The Latest with Greg Ott
The Latest with Greg Ott
Episode 16: Guns, Roses & Umbrellas


Those voices are discussing Hong Kong, the site of a massive pro-democratic movement in a world that desperately needs to be eating more fiber.

Record turnout in local elections on Sunday solidified such efforts, awarding the vast majority of votes to pro-democracy candidates, a fraction to establishment control, and a couple to Tulsi Gabbard to make her feel welcome somewhere.

Hong Kong falls under China’s governing principle of “one country, two systems,” affording Hong Kong its own form of Chinese Democracy, which, like other forms of Chinese Democracy, took a long time to develop and was ultimately pretty disappointing.

Citizens in Hong Kong fear China’s encroaching power and influence and desire to exert their own control. When Shen Yun randomly shows up in February, they don’t want to see it either. 

Now on paper, these local elections are not particularly important, intended to address strictly neighborhood-level affairs, like parking, outdoor space for animals, and the best time of year to throw a block party that won’t be bombed with tear gas. But they are considered a barometer of support for greater democracy in Hong Kong.

Last week, the U.S. House and Senate approved a measure of support for the Hong Kong movement through passage of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

But Mr. Trump has indicated he does not plan to sign this bill into law, even when it arrives on his desk inside one of those restaurant menus. He claims, “we have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi.” It sounds like a lot of standing, but at least it sounds like he’s getting a little bit of exercise.

The United States has the world’s oldest democracy, and even though we’ve made some major mistakes trying to spread democracy throughout the world, I think it’s essential to support others who want to determine their own future. 

This is especially true in our bizarre era of strongmen, where a guy who sells board games and hangs out with Kid Rock is considered a strong man. 

Our country should not be standing with mass surveillance, re-education camps, and intellectual property theft — we should be standing behind our own universal values, like a hamburger, medium fry and any size drink for $6.99.

Hong Kong’s path towards greater democracy remains unclear and challenging, but at least they’re trying. When we’re given a similar option a year from now about our own self-determination, I hope U.S. citizens can muster up the same type of energy seen on display in Hong Kong that they typically reserve for protesting the end of of Game of Thrones.