Saturday, February 24, 2018

Dark History Remembered

Finding this article was a pleasant surprise: "CNN thinks that socialism is cool. My grandparents from the USSR would disagree."

It's quite rare for a mainstream media outlet to highlight the horrors of Soviet communism. Because of its epic failure decades ago, the oppressive cruelty of communist totalitarianism has largely faded from modern memory. But my late husband's family had firsthand experience with its terrors, thankfully escaping with the clothes on their backs. Many of their close relatives were not so fortunate, being either rounded up and executed or shipped off to Siberia for long prison terms in hard labor camps. The stories around my in-laws' Sunday dinner table were not for the faint of heart.

After the Berlin wall came down and the Soviet Union disintegrated, family members came to visit my in-laws in New York. They were spellbound by our quality of life. One of Pete's visiting uncles brought a lawn chair to the neighborhood supermarket parking lot and sat for hours, just watching people steering grocery-laden carts out of the store. He was incredulous at the bounty of food and other goods so readily available to us. His fascination with our prosperity brought new meaning to the expression "land of plenty."

Today's left-leaning "cool crowd" in media, academia, and Hollywood seems to have no knowledge or understanding of the brutally cruel regime that was the Soviet Union. When dire warnings about our "authoritarian" president are sounded, I have to chuckle. How many towns has he rounded up and slaughtered, as Josef Stalin routinely did? How many people have been hauled off to labor camps in the dead of night, never to be heard from again? How many "enemies of the state" have been dragged off to prison for criticizing the U.S. president?

We are so fortunate in our country to be able to think, to write, and to speak in freedom. All of us should pause to be grateful for such a gift, and to think before we speak.