Smooth as Velvet
No better way to start today than to point to the above website. After a brief description of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989 the text goes on to point out some steps that will be taken here in the USA. OK, so there’s lots going on regarding the Socialist Assault on our country. The president’s approval rating went down a bit more in last few days, his disapproval went up. There is great foment and ferment in the nation. The Socialists will not win – as they never do in the long term. But here it won’t even be in the short term.
But it’s the Czechoslovakian reference that intrigues me. On www.americanthinker.com today there was an article about the irreconciliable differences between a minority of this country, concentrated in some states and cities, and the majority, spread out much farther and wider. This led me to: http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2010/04/07/parting_company
I posted, as I often do at American Thinker – where many people fret and are panicky, if not panicked. I’m much calmer in foreseeing where the country is going. But I posted this, in regards to a potential divorce of the different parts of the nation – something that is getting more discussion every day. I said:
We can go the route of Czechoslovakia and divide peaceably, like they did, into the Czech Republic, which is richer and more free, and into Slovakia, which is poorer with more big government.
It’s amazing how I come to two things so similar on the same day – a day in which I also finalized my participation at the Louisiana Folklore Society annual meeting, were I’m on the program to present my findings on the Czechs & Slovaks of Louisiana – I wrote the book, the only book on this subject. I’m no professional historian, but not one of those looked at the subject. I wound up with 400 pages of details.
Now it is also true that many questioned my qualifications to write on the subject – mostly by archivists, professors and historians. So I put right there in my Introduction – which ties in nicely with the above matters – I’m of Czech heritage – no Slovakian at all. I’m not some hybrid American with one grandparent German, and one Irish, another Polish and the fourth Italian – no, I’m Czech, for all four sides, and all sides as far back as we can see into the past. Nor am I one of those Americans who says: “Well, we come from Italy somewhere, I don’t know.” Or “I think my great grandfather was from Poland somewhere.” I know right where my family is from – because they mostly still live exactly where they were for the past several hundred years. And I’ve been to their houses. So it’s been a very Czech day.
But one thing this Czech experience did was give me an armful of ammunition against Socialism in all its forms. Not technical or scholarly stuff – but practical and personal stuff. My cousins lived this Socialist life – and they told me about it.
In the 1960s to 1980s many came to visit. We’d have to pay the government money to let them out. We had to pay their way here. Their kids could not come but were taken by the state to “summer camps” — that is, sort of held hostage. It was Jan, a doctor, who told me “They hold us back.” It was Milos who said “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.” It was Karel who told me there was “no truth in the News and no news in the Truth,” if reference to Pravda (Truth) and Izvestiya (The News). It was Mirka who said “One day we will overthrown the Communists.” And they did, didn’t they?
When my cousins wanted some rock and roll music we would buy the albums and also some old second hand Mozart and Chopin sleaves – then put the Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones in the classical music sleaves and send them on over – smuggling in music as it were.
When my relatives here visited Czechoslovakia they would bring four and five suitcases stuffed with goods, and come home with one bag of souveniers, leaving the rest behind. For those goods could not be bought there for any price.
When we went to a supermarket they were slack jawed at the abundance we ignore. They cooed and ahhed at the display of kitchen gadgets at a Macy’s that we wouldn’t think twice of.
They wrote the same thing in each letter: “When will you visit so we can talk.” They would commit nothing to paper, ever.
They were afraid to enter New York City Hall, for it was forbidden over there.
I recall once in a Constitutional Law class in college the professor waxing nostalgic about how people in Prague and Warsaw were able to write to the newpaper and say what they wanted to – I blurted out “That’s not what my Uncle John says.”
The professor of course, as did most of the class, thought that he had me. “And who the hell is your Uncle John?” he asked with great sarcasm.
“He’s a card carrying member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia who is the head pediatrics doctor for all the hospitals in Prague – and he told me in Czech and in English that he’s panic stricken to suggest anything to a government appartchik.”
The professor and the class looked at me – marveling – I added “If you want I can give you his work and home address, there in the Lovosicka section of Prague, in his tiny, thin walled government provided apartment, should you want to verify.” That changed the conversation.
Then there was cousin Philip who had a huge American Flag in his apartment, ready to be rolled up and replaced by a Soviet flag at a moment’s notice.
One of the weirdest family stories is of another cousin who was sent to Yugoslavia by the government to work on some project. He asked if his oldest son could come visit. It was allowed. A week or two later he asked if his younger son could be together with the oldest. It was allowed. Then he petitioned the government to allow his wife, the boy’s mother, to come, for the work he was doing meant the boys were left alone all day, and they were young kids. It was allowed. The day after the lady arrived all four of them were on a ferry to Brandisi Italy to beg for political assylum, which was granted and they were resettled in Denmark.
There are hundreds of stories in my family of the wonders of Socialism. But you needn’t a family history to know the horrors of the concept. You need only know that every country that proclaims itself socialist is among the poorest nations on earth, nearly all are police states – and lest you think somehow France is innocent, think again:
In France you can be arrested and held without charges, you are guilty until proven innocent, you cannot critize the courts or judges without running afoul of the law, and the weirdest thing to me is to see machine-gun armed soldiers patrolling train stations and public plazas.
The whole this is a failure, as it must be. And so, to finish today, here’s a few more sites worth viewing:
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