Decades ago I had the opportunity to travel to Russia. It was still the Soviet Union at that time and not a favorite vacation spot for many in the Free World (except, of course Bernie Sanders who chose to honeymoon there!). But, my opportunity was part of a package sea/land tour through Scandinavia and what is referred to as the “North Cape” which happened to include an overland trip to Moscow and Leningrad and so I booked the tour.
I distinctly recall the distress my travel plans caused for my maternal Grandfather and Grandmother who had each escaped Russia and Poland respectively, as little children…my grandfather being a stowaway on a boat that crossed the Atlantic. “Grandpop” as I called him, sat me down and with tears in his eyes said, “Carole, why do you want to go back? We fought so hard to get out.”
No matter how I explained that “times had changed” and that as a lover of travel this was all quite exciting to me, he remained sad and uneasy until I left…and until I returned home.
My experience in Russia was not what I imagined. My Visa was stamped with a “j” for Jew and those of us who were Jewish on the tour were segregated out away from the others at times and treated royally…along with the oft repeated explanation, “See how well we treat our Jews!” Despite these assurances, a Russian woman cashier at a market refused to check me out when she saw the Star of David on a chain around my neck. She indicated she didn’t want my money.
Despite what you may think, this isn’t a post about anti-Semitism. As we exited the Soviet Union after three days of touring, we were given the option of either flying back to Copenhagen where the ship was docked or taking a side trip to Hamburg, Germany. I didn’t need to think about it for a second. I bypassed Hamburg and headed straight for Denmark.
I had seen enough Communism and Socialism in the Soviet Union in three days to last me a lifetime.
When we landed in Copenhagen, having flown out Aeroflot, the Russian state-owned airline, I disembarked from the WWII surplus plane and, at the bottom of the stairs…and the feet of two Russian stewardesses, got down on my knees and kissed the ground in Denmark.
Moscow had been oppressive. The people and the city were “grey.” The city was grey with pollution. The people were grey with oppression. Food was scarce. People whispered questions to us about what life was like in the United States. We were watched and guarded everywhere we went. Red Square was “closed for renovations” and my request to visit the Summer Palace of Tsar Nicholas and Tsarista Alexandra was denied. One of the novels that had been in my suitcase entering the country and taken by a custom’s officer was never returned. Women in grey “babushkas” sat atop huge tractors in Moscow repaving streets.
Yes, I had seen enough Communism and Socialism to last me a lifetime.
So imagine my wonder at all the people who were rallying and supporting Bernie Sanders and who have segued to yet another Socialist, Hilary Clinton. In fact, an entire Democrat Party that champions Socialist values and governance.
Such misguidance can only come from 1) misinformation; 2) lack of direct experience or 3) illusion. Perhaps all three.
Communism and Socialism have never worked and never will. They subsume the rights of the individual to the will of the collective for the benefit of the few. Nowhere can you point to their success. Yet, millions of young Americans have been sold a bill of goods and even brainwashed through revisionist history controlled throughout public education and, in the case of higher education, by the deadly combination of Leftist academics and foreign money.
We are a people adrift because we have untied ourselves from the anchor. That anchor is the U.S. Constitution. Without it, we are cut off from the governing principles and constraints that have made this the most remarkable, however brief, experiment in individual liberty ever to have graced this planet.
No, we are not a perfect Union. But the words in the Preamble to the Constitution express the “why” of that effort: “In order to make a more perfect Union…” We were not perfect and we weren’t claiming we could be perfect. But brave men and women had risked “their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” for the right to try. And so they did.
Now, having come so far, on the backs of so many, we seem to have lost sight of greatness and devolved to a place where Clinton, Trump, Progressivism, and Socialism (Communism light) are our highest goals and the highest good.
Grandpop escaped. I went back out of naiveté. Our nation is going there by submission to the lowest common denominators. I’m glad my Grandfather isn’t here to see the precious opportunity he risked his life for being destroyed through willful ignorance and traded away for government promises that enslave and the illusion of protections that eventually become prisons.