IYDU Chairman Jason F. Emert’s speech to the IYDU Asia Forum, on January 14th, 2016:
It is wonderful to see so many people here today at the International Young Democrat Union Asia Youth Forum. It is an exciting time to be in the Republic of China during the last couple of days of an election. IYDU is honored to be here to support the robust democracy that thrives here on Taiwan.
Similarly, I am thrilled to be here for personal reasons in sharing this occasion with my great friend Tony Kuo. There is no one I respect more than Tony. Tony has been a champion of freedom and an advocate for youth in politics. His involvement in our organization and our parent organization the International Democrat Union spans over two decades.
In fact, Tony was the first person I reached out to when deciding to run for Chairman. I think at first he questioned my sanity given the state of IYDU at the time. In all seriousness, he has been instrumental in shaping my agenda as Chairman and an invaluable mentor to me and our organization on world affairs, especially Asia. So, Tony, I want to thank you for your friendship and guidance over the years. And, I look forward to working with you these next two decades to foster liberty and promote our shared values the world over.
As a token of my appreciation, and because you have invited us to your beautiful home, I want to present you with a couple of gifts: the first from my home state of Tennessee, a basket made from the state tree, state mineral, and state nut; and, the other, a gift from my adopted home of Louisiana, their state pet — an alligator head!
For many years I promised Tony I would visit this beautiful island. I could not think of a better time to visit than for a celebration of the democratic values we hold in such high regard. After all that’s what an election is: a celebration of democracy, rule of law, limited government, and human rights. In fact, there is no single greater human right than the right of self-determination – determining who should lead a nation and what those policies may be as ratified by a well-informed citizenry.
Our values derive from one simple truth: freedom is innate within every human being – no one is born subservient – no one. Freedom is in our human composition, our DNA, in a way that is inexplicable because when people do not have it they yearn for it, fight for it, and die for it.
To those that wish to take away freedom, that hope to enslave people by taking away their individualism for the sake of the state, remember what Ronald Reagan told us,
“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.”
This is still true today. There are far too many enemies of freedom throughout the world. There are enemies of freedom with a vast array of weapons in their arsenal.
But so long as we – the freedom loving people of the world – recognize the power of the individual, act with moral courage, and stand united – in this generation or the next or maybe in generations there after – we will ultimately win. Make no mistake freedom will prevail and one day the world will ring the bell of liberty in harmony.
This is why we – the International Young Democrat Union – exist. We are the keepers of tomorrow’s promise of liberty. We cannot become complacent in our success but must work to break all mankind from bondage and slavery. And that is why we are here today.
Last August at our council meeting in Rio de Janeiro we sat out an ambitious agenda to recommit our organization as a global entity that works together with our allies to attain the ultimate goal of a global society of freedom.
Since this meeting we have had an IYDU presence at events each month. Just to name a few, we have been in London, Brussels; Morocco; El Salvador; Guatemala; Germany; Toronto, Canada; and coming up the next six months we will be in Ghana, the Baltics, Sri Lanka, and the United States, and many more.
For too long IYDU was derelict in our duty. We were worried more about internal strife than the entrenchment of socialism and the erosion of liberty throughout the world. Those days are long gone and we are once again a global organization back the in the fight.
We resolved in Rio that our two biggest priorities were to rebuild our relationships in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the other, identify and develop a strong Pan-Asian presence.
In Latin America and the Caribbean we have been successful in re-establishing ties with parties we have long – and wrongfully – neglected. I would like to recognize two members of our delegation from the region: Jatzel Roman from the Dominican Republic and Luis Suazo from Honduras. These two leaders are the future of conservatism in the region – thank you for being here and showing solidarity with our partners in Asia.
It is an exciting time to be a democrat in their region as the scourge of communism and socialism is being rejected one country at a time. We must continue to support our friends like Jatzel and Luis to strengthen our global mission for freedom. I truly believe the soul crushing disease that is communism has seen its high water mark in the Western Hemisphere and like the oceans on our many beautiful shores their red tide is receding.
So far the greatest defeat has occurred in Venezuela. in December Venezuelans casted off their socialist overlords. A vast majority were tired of empty grocery stores, empty promises, and, most notably, the empty homes of political prisoners, most of whom have been imprisoned for years – like opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez who has been imprisoned since February 2014.
However, even though this red tide is turning, there is still a long way to go before Venezuela is a liberal democracy. Then still, we must work to ensure conservative and center right principles permeate the political landscape of Venezuela. We know that the only path out of poverty and destitution for Venezuela is through free markets, limited government, and respect for the rule of law.
Venezuela is just the beginning and over these next few months pay attention to election results in Bolivia, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.
our next priority for this year is creating a strong network across Asia. unlike Latin American and the Caribbean, we have few connections in the region. Only the KMT, Saenuri Party in Korea, the Maldivian Democratic Party, and the United National Party in Sri Lanka are in our network.
But our Asian partnerships cannot be limited to these political parties alone. It is important that we align with like-minded parties such as our friends here today from Malaysia who represent the coalition government.
I will make you this promise, you have a friend in the International Young Democrat Union. And, henceforth you will be an integral part of our mission to promote democracy and conservative principles in this region.
To further prove our commitment to this region, and the reason we are all here today, IYDU will open an office here in Taipei that’s sole mission is to identify, assist, or promote like-minded political parties at the youth level to build the long-term promise of prosperity and peace in the region.
The promise of this office is simple: “liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” these words are no less true today than when George Washington first spoke them.
Our formal declaration reads as follows:
“On this fifteenth day of January in the year 2016 the international young democrat union is proud to announce the official opening of iydu Asia at the IYDU Asia Youth Forum.
The IYDU Asia Youth Forum is a summit dedicated to the young center right and conservative leaders from around the asian region who believe in liberal democracy, limited government, free and fair elections, human rights, free markets, and the right of self determination.
The office of IYDU Asia seeks to promote camaraderie and partnership between political parties who are founded are the aforementioned principles dedicated to freedom of all mankind.
IYDU Asia is expected to:
1) Engage with political parties who are both members and potential member of the International Democrat Union and the International Young Democrat Union;
2) Hold two major events a year at minimum inviting all these parties to participate; and,
3) Host a series of election training seminars, observations, and shared best practices around the region.
The founding regional members of IYDU Asia are the Young Liberal Movement (Australia), Saenuri Party (Korea), Kuomintang (Republic of China), and the Young Republican National Federation (United States of America).
Signed and affirmed on this date by Jason F. Emert, Chairman of the International Young Democrat Union; Kai H. Jorgensen, Secretary General of the International Young Democrat Union, and witnessed by those present.”
This is the first step in broadly sowing the seeds of liberty with our partners across Asia from this day forward. We owe it to those millions of people who hope for a better future for their children and grandchildren. And, we must do it so liberty abounds in perpetuity as freedom is the natural disposition of all mankind.
Let me conclude, as I do with every speech at an iydu event, it is the single greatest honor and joy of my life to date to be a part of and lead this organization. I cannot imagine a greater charge to keep than to bear light upon darkness where freedom does not exist.
I believe, as Thomas Paine did, “my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”
Jason F. Emert