Friday, January 28, 2005

Life through red-colored lenses.

Toward the end of my senior year of high school, Stéphanie, a French foreign exchange student told me about Senator McCarthy and the Communist Witch Hunts. We had history classes every year, and during my junior year, I, like everyone else, had to take a special twelve-week unit on communism and the Soviet Union, which was designed and taught by Mr. H, a charming right-wing Christian who lamented the passing of prayer in public schools and who once called me "Comrade" (, sarcastically.)

We never learned about the Red Scare of the 1920s. We never learned about the Red paranoia of the 1950s. We learned that hippies were naïve and that the United States tried to be nice to the Soviets right after World War I, only to have them steal some military supplies that we left in Vladivostok.

I'll say that again, for those who are having trouble processing that: we never learned about Joe McCarthy. We never learned about Eugene V. Debs. Or Rosa Luxembourg. We did learn that Marx died in poverty and that Lenin was clinically insane and that Trotsky was murdered by an agent Stalin, who was a failed priest. We learned that the Soviets wanted to kill us and that their economy wasn't working anyway, but they were on the brink of burying us.

Mr. H was fond of saying he welcomed questions, but he was also fond of sardonically mocking those who asked them. Years later, when I heard Rush Limbaugh's 1990 program where he invited Phil Donahue and this Communist American who'd defected to the Soviet Union and made a living defending the Soviet system. Rush apparently had him on there to gloat about the apparent coming collapse of the Soviet Union, which came toward the end of 1991, but as I recall, the feeling at the time was more to do with when it would collapse, not if.

Rumor was that Mr. H had a nervous breakdown in 1990. I'd graduated high school in 1987, so it could be that his breakdown didn't really happen, that it was just a nasty rumor instigated by some other "comrade." I don't know. One's education is often hampered by personal agendas of individuals, but those who complain about this don't usually have right wingers like Mr. H in mind. You know the type: they'll pay lip service to a fair and balanced discussion, to respecting others' opinions and points of view, but they don't really. I'd say the real menace crosses political and religious lines, but if you've devoted to wiping out an enemy, you probably won't choose to see things that way.

The right wing has been working hard to engage in total war on discourse, total war on moderates and moderation, total war on all who oppose or even question them. This has grown increasingly apparent to me, but Mr. H, whom I regarded as a comic throwback to another time, represented something more real than my chronically open mind was ready to accept back then. He was the first neocon I ever knew.

It's been almost twenty years since Mr. H's class, and I'm sure that sour old paranoid still isn't happy with the way the world is. How could he? How could any neocon? Their whole movement is fueled by grousing, by complaining, by loud bellyaching about how their kind is persecuted by everyone else. If they ever calm down and accept any of their victories as genuine accomplishments, they're doomed. But one day they're going to be content with themselves, and when that day comes, enough of these vermin will feel guilty enough to let down their guard, and the opposition will be able to get a toehold, and start fighting back with real gusto.

The question is: is there any real opposition? It seems that they've managed to destroy us, demoralize us, shut us down to the point where we won't be able or willing to start hitting back when we can actually grab their attention. Could it be that they've already won?

Or maybe I should just lay off for now. First things first. There's a war on, you know.


At Monday, February 21, 2005 at 12:35:00 AM EST, Blogger Kael said...

Interesting article, however, give it time, the opposition might rise again. Sooner or later.


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