Monday, July 10, 2006

It Never Seemed So Strange

These are the days, this is the time, where $20 an hour is to be made by watching some Korean students play 20 Questions. It is a good time to have a summer job.

Something I realized the other day: my generation does not care about Communism. We do not see communists as a threat, we think McCarthy and Nixon were somewhere between paranoid and lunatic. (Okay, so older people see Nixon as paranoid too.) We see communist ideology as more laughable than dangerous. We do not understand why the Vietnam War was fought, nor why "containment" was such a laudable goal. There was a time where "card-carrying member of the Communist Party" was a phrase that portended doom for whomever it was attached to. No longer; now the Red Menace merely seems like an empty threat.

I discovered this when a radio talk show host took a call who was virulently condemning a few members of Congress as those same "card-carrying members of the Communist Party." How would you have responded to this? My personal response would have been along the lines of "Who cares? So that member of Congress happens to believe differently than you and me." This host, however, decided to return with "Communism? That's a serious and dangerous charge." Misguided, certainly; even dead wrong, sure. Serious? Not really. And dangerous? Not at all.

I don't doubt that during the Cold War, the Soviet Union would have rather the United States been a communist nation. I also don't doubt that there were those in America that would have rather the United States been a communist nation. But would the American people have stood for that? And I recognize the superiority of the free market to the command economy. But does that mean the United States as we know it would have been shot to hell if a few more satellite countries had "fallen" to communism for a few decades?

The threat of communism, as the current generation sees it, does not exist. But radio demagogues and others continue to preach it as if the country once--and still does--lived or died based on the presence of a handful of communists in the government. And that threat just is not relevant anymore.

Stick another tack into the world map. I have now eaten Persian food, and I am impressed. This was the simplest of all ethnic meals I've eaten in my world tour of eating exotic stuff, and it was every bit as good as anything else. Main course: chunks of lamb, kabob-style; rice. Exactly two ingredients (plus whatever spices and seasonings made their way into the dish). Then there were some appetizers: Pita-like bread, and herbs, cheese, and nuts to eat with the bread. More rice (crispy this time) and some beef and bean stew. Nothing to it.

Currently listening: "Suddenly I See," KT Tunstall

1 comment:

Gina said...

McCarthyism and the red scare are little more than a demonstration on how effective propoganda is, I think.

The reason we today don't fear communism is because we have completele rational, logical reasons not to fear it. The people back in the sixties didn't lack these logical explanations, but they were simply overcome by the massive amounts of propoganda and fear tactics, in my (not-so)humble opinion.

A lot of people, and I have no official position on this, compare McCarthyism to the terrorism anti-propaganda stuff today. Do terrorists REALLY stand threat to take over the world? No, not really. But they make the people fear them enough so that all rational thought is gone, and we'll support anything the government says against them.

My two cents.