This post is a continuation of the thoughts I began to express in my last post above …
Amazingly enough, I didn’t learn about the Holocaust until I was 16 years old. Later that fall I began reading The Bridge at Andau
(1957) by James Michener, which was partly based upon interviews of Hungarians who had fled their country in 1956 when Soviet troops crushed the revolt against the brutal Stalinist regime. Their tales of Communist terror were appalling. I couldn’t finish reading the book because it was just too sad. Not many years later I was able to see that individuals living under Hitler who risked their lives to save Jews, political dissidents behind the Iron Curtain, and the civil rights marchers of the early 1960s were all cut from the same cloth.
I know this is history now, but I’ve long held the John Birch Society in utter contempt because of their propensity to falsely accuse some individuals of being Communists. I speak from personal experience. My sister was a college student from the fall of 1961 through the spring of 1965. In either 1964 or 1965, the Houston chapter of the John Birch Society held a press conference in which they publicly accused my sister of being a Communist. On the basis of what evidence did they attempt to blacklist her? What had she done to deserve this? (Incidentally, if this incident had occurred, say, ten years before during the 1950s, my sister’s chances of pursuing a career would have been ruined.)
Well, my sister was a member of a sorority that had racist by-laws excluding blacks and Jews from membership. (No, my sister wasn’t a social climber. She ignored social boundaries imposed by cliques, I’m proud to say.) She had a Jewish girlfriend whom she wanted to be able to join her sorority. So, she started a petition to the national headquarters of the sorority, urging them to drop their racist by-laws. She had also participated in a peaceful
demonstration against the “whites only” hiring practices of a leading employer in the town where the campus of the college was located. This was why the Houston chapter of the John Birch Society called my sister a Communist. In contrast to what the Birchers had to say about her, I’m proud of my sister to this very day.
Incidentally, one of her friends who was also a member of that sorority found out about the Birchers’ press conference before my sister did. She called my sister on the phone (if I remember correctly) and cried as she told her. My sister wasn’t fazed, though. Instead of crying, she sarcastically responded, “I’m proud
to be a Communist!”
The John Birch Society’s charge against my sister was despicable. No, she was not a conservative. But she was the sort of caring liberal who would have been among the first to be killed under a Communist regime, not to mention Nazi Germany.
You may think I’m a raging liberal today. No, I’m not. Many changes have taken place in society, as well as in my own life; and as was inevitable with the passage of time, other issues came to the forefront. I am gratified by the changes that have taken place in race relations in this country; and, yes, I’m painfully aware there are black racists who are just as bad as the white ones. In fact, as we all know, there are racists in all races and ethnic groups. Black Americans face problems today that are not like those they faced when I was young.
In case the reader is wondering, what am I politically today? I’m neither a Democratic nor a Republican, and I’m not a Libertarian or a member of any minor political party. That’s why I’ll hardly ever post in the political threads. According to today's ideological litmus tests, some of my views are conservative; but some are still liberal. I have no answers. I could say that my current political views are a curious mixture of early 1960s liberalism and religious right politics, but even that description doesn’t fit. I’m fiercely ideologically independent. I’m just as critical of the religious right as I am of any other political movement. I’ve even given up on politics and no longer vote (a position which I don’t recommend to anyone). In my humble opinion, I’m just one of the powerless sheeple awaiting whatever the political powers that be have in store for us either out of their own incompetence or their outright maliciousness.
Aw, I’ve said enough …