Thinking about the death today of the Iron Lady, I am left to wonder if Lady Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were the best thing that ever happened to communism.
Before you think I have lost my Mississippi cotton-pickin’ mind, let me explain.
I was born in January of 1959 and one of my first memories is of the riderless horse (with the reversed boots in the stirrups) of President John F. Kennedy’s funeral cortege. My aunt was looking after me because my mom was at work and I can remember that black and white TV picture as clear as day.
I remember the news reports of people trying to escape East Berlin and being shot – or accidentally killing themselves while risking all in the attempt to escape the repression of communist East Germany. I remember the Warsaw Pact and images of Soviet tanks rolling into Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the war footing that the US assumed.
That is simply an acknowledgment that I entered elementary school in the shadows of the assassination of a president and the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. I remember the Civil Defense films (there were no videos) and the drills at my schools. I remember getting drilled to remember where the civil defense shelters were in the public buildings in my little town of New Albany, Mississippi.
That one was from 1951 but here is a much longer one from 1969
We were aware of the danger of totalitarian regimes – and those regimes had one unifying factor.
It was not the benevolent, munificent communism sold to young skulls filled with mush by today’s fellow travelers and useful idiots (many won’t even understand those terms without clicking on the links), it was a brutal, oppressive communism that destroyed people and families, enslaving and killing hundreds of millions.
The communism of my formative years (and what I believe is the real communism) was antithetical to liberty and freedom and it was practiced by men intent on subjugating populations of entire nations to their will. This leads to those of us who retain memories of those violent and fearful times to conclude that, while it is possible that communism isn’t evil, it provides the perfect delivery system of one party rule that allows narcissistic, self-deluded men to make oppression and evil the new normal.
The end of USSR marked the silencing of the engine of tyrannical global communism. When the Berlin Wall fell via the efforts led by Lady Thatcher and President Reagan, the funding of the satellite communist states in the Warsaw Pact ended – and it wasn’t long before the little tin-pot puppet dictators in these countries started to lose their hold on the people. Without aid from Mother Russia, the evidence was eminently clear that global communism was neither productive nor self-sustaining…and they fell.
Communism was defeated so soundly that it completely disappeared…for a time.
The generations who grew up recognizing communism as the evil it personifies heaved a great sigh of relief, consigned it to the dustbin of history and switched on the telly to watch Survivor, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Jersey Shore and American Idol.
We adopted the Timothy Leary philosophy – we turned on, tuned in and dropped out.
And therein lays our terrible mistake and why Reagan and Thatcher were the best things to happen to communism.
They took communism’s evil out of the news and off the front page and we summarily forgot about it.
They used our lack of vigilance to teach our children that America was imperialist, filled with racists and intent on perpetual hegemony.
Reagan’s historic “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech that started the end of global communism was in 1987, the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the USSR collapsed in 1991. Using my level of awareness at three years-old as a benchmark, that would mean that the roughly 40% of Americans born since 1984 (age 30 or under) have no personal knowledge of any of these seminal events and have learned of communism, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact from history books – many of which were written by modern communist radicals (now called “progressives”).
What was once universally known as evil is now the default setting for many of our uninformed, ignorant and mis-educated citizens.
Manuel Martinez said it so eloquently (via Real Clear Politics):
You people don’t know what freedom is because you never lost it. You haven’t been tortured. You haven’t seen assassinations; you haven’t seen mothers begging for the life of their son not to be killed because the only reason is they wanted to be free.
Evil, tyranny, oppression and their chosen delivery system, communism, never sleep – they never rest –and neither should we.
As John Philpot Curran said (often misattributed to Thomas Jefferson):
“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”