Wesley Baucom, Staff Writer

America has been a place of striving towards ideals—a singular and shining image of what it means to truly be free. Whether or not those ideals follow through from pen and quills to simple reality, has always been contested. Right now as the U.S. stands vigilant in its eternal mission against tyranny, it forgets to check in its own backyard where the corporate children pass notes to the neighboring Chinese in one big game of telephone where no one remembers who said what, and what needs to be changed. By continually riding that fine line that divides freedom and money, a harsh choice is going to be made soon if it hasn’t already. 

The companies who are allured by the sparkling potential of the “Chinese Market”, forget their own roots and the environment that made them the way they are—for better or for worse. Whatever the reasons, by allowing Chinese bureaucrats to dictate what is acceptable for their own people, they then give that watered-down product back to American consumers, who take their own offense to whatever the Cultural Board wants them to see. In this way, it’s a great betrayal to the people who first raised these companies since their inception—raising them since birth. What will they do to keep up appearances now? How then, will the average American cope with the fact that the constant affair of economic love and war is beginning to burn that dividing line between their money and freedom? 

This vitriolic exchange comes in two examples among many others. The first of which lies in the court of the NBA. Daryl Morey, general manager for the Houston Rockets, made a statement on Twitter in favor of the Hong Kong protests. Not only was the tweet taken down, but any subsequent action or voice within the NBA’s chambers, signs and flags used in protest at games were immediately taken away—shushed into attempted obscurity as the NBA hopes and begs for China to approve of them once again. The second example, still dwelling in the confines of the competitive sphere, takes its form in the world of video games. When a professional “Hearthstone” player, Chung Ng-wai, a Hong Kong native, shouted a slogan of protest for the Hong Kong riots after winning a tournament and was banned from future tournaments (though later reinstated). Blizzard Entertainment had stated that he had “violated our policy” by using their platform as a political footstool. Understandably, a company would want to stay apolitical, perhaps, but when a Chinese company (Tencent) owns 5% of your company and there’s a river of gold at stake, could they really risk it? Both of these companies who owe a lot of what they have to the American consumer base betrayed their own ideals in the most deceitful way possible—by making the rightful protestors the ones to blame. 

Our media, as deceitful as it already is, may be under yet another attack from yet another government other than our own. Freedom of press and speech is just as important nowadays as it was before when it was penned with feathers and scrolls. The only difference now is that it’s treated as some kind of joke—as if it never really existed. Perhaps it never did. Maybe true freedom, in its nature, can never be fully achieved, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep fighting for it. A slave will hardly have their freedom if they keep waiting on their master to give it. Victory must be fought and purchased with blood and tears. So keep fighting, keep on playing that dangerous game of democracy, in a world that always changes the rules.