Freedom (or: a Velvet Revolution) Begins at Home

Why does the NBA matter? Why does the US Open, Powerball, or Chris Brown matter?

These are some of the top Web searches for June 15, 2012 in the U.S., so they clearly matter a great deal to Americans.

Screw that. Point your favorite search engine at “Tank Man.”

June 5 was the anniversary of the Tiennamen Square uprising. On that day in 1989, a lone man stepped in front of the column of tanks that the government sent to suppress those of its subjects who had the temerity to assemble in order to petition for a redress of grievances.

We don’t really know who he was, but we know who he was not. He wasn’t some pampered, latte-drinking hipster with a smart phone riding the 2/3 down to the Village while ostentatiously “reading” a copy of Kapital and denouncing the “injustice” of the West.

But he wasn’t Jason Bourne or the Terminator either. So we know basically what happened to him: he made his last stand that day.

Tank Man was a true hero for this world. I wish I could command the atoms of this universe just enough to pull him out of time and bring him here, to a place that was founded to preserve what he gave his life for. We could shake his hand. But most importantly, we could get him on TV.

Then maybe we could get some Americans searching for him instead of Matt Cain. Lest we forget that freedom begins at home.