Lech Wałęsa’s recent speech to the U.S. Congress featuring the former president of Poland criticizing the current Polish government can only be seen as the culmination of the regretful end to his legendary status.
Wałęsa’s performance in front of one of the subcommittees of the House of Representatives was meant to mark the 30th anniversary of the end of communism in Poland. Instead, it only served to showcase how far Wałęsa has fallen.
He started his speech with the words “We the people” in front of the entire U.S. Congress, referring to his own original famous speech from Nov. 15, 1989.
Although in 1989 he could speak in the name of the Polish people, he did not have that right this time and has not had it for a long time.
He lost the right in 1992 when, as president, he led to the dissolution of the first, fully democratic Polish government under Jan Olszewski.
Wałęsa’s transgressions did not end there though, and his credibility came under further question when he encouraged assaults on protesting workers who were outside the Sejm fighting against Donald Tusk’s government’s proposal to raise the retirement age.
It is hard to believe a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, a fabled union leader and former head of Solidarity, would call for attacking workers, but that is exactly what Wałęsa did.
He later often claimed that Poland is facing civil war and called for people to march into the streets. Can you imagine more provocative behavior from a former politician of his stature acting that way to his own country?
That is why when Wałęsa says, “We the people” we have to ask in whose name is Wałęsa speaking?