July 04, 2010

Did You receive Your Donated Polish Blanket in the 1970s?

I had a political conversation that other day with someone who seemed to think that the youth of this country seemed inclined toward Marxist ideas because they see their own parents unfulfilled by materialism and the chase of material pursuits. I begged to differ. The problem, I explained back, was that we had a youth that knew nothing else. They have only a perspective of relative affluence (typically, the wealthier the more attracted to these ideas the youth can be). It is an issue of perspective. I explained most of the world would sever a limb to come to the this country and "not be satisfied" with all we have.

It's easy to it on your western engineered computer in your ergonomically correct chair with your $5 organic Chai tea in your $45 Abercrombie shorts and fantasize about a Gilligan's Island existence because you have to go to work on Monday morning. There is a reason why a young girl from the Chinese countryside will take a job in a sneaker factory working fourteen hour days and sleeping on a cot in a room with a dozen other Chinese girls working the same job. The fact we are so wealthy we 'measure consumer confidence' while a hundred nations still measure water production, food, and other neccessities is mind boggling when you think about it.

Forget freedom for an instant, assuming we have a contingent of people who have little concern or understanding of freedom. From a purely material perspective, how do you make people understand what it would be like once you cross that line? How do you teach those lessons without all of us having to endure the lessons and hardships in real time that would be the most effective teachers and leave the strongest impressions?

Listening to Alex of the Hyphenated American Blog Link being interviewed on the Jimmy Z show it became obvious to me that we have a valuable resource of American citizens who carry with them the experience and stories of life behind the Iron Curtain and other various utopias around the world. Most of them do not have blogs or the compulsion to tell their stories but as they age we run the risk of losing these stories and real world testimony.

I urge these people to tell their stories. They do not need to be harrowing tales of the Solzhenitsyn variety, sometimes it is the simple stories of day to day life that are the most striking. I have good friends who are immigrants from Poland. They are of the age to remember it all and they are the biggest advocates of freedom one could meet.

A story, Garajnia, the wife of the couple, told one year over Christmas dinner sticks with me. She spoke of the "blanket drives" they were forced to partake in. Polish families were forced to donate blankets for the "poor and disadvantaged" children left on the cold streets the in oppressive capitalist United States.

"Imagine" she said, "here we were, not a pot to piss in, giving away our blankets. Blankets that we often needed. Because, you know, consumer goods were not easy to come by, even if you could afford them."

"Did you believe any of it", I asked? "Did you know we had so much and that it was a complete lie?"

"Yes, we knew, she said but we went along with it anyway. What else could we do?"

People like this are a valuable resource and an underutilized tool in our toolbox. If you know someone like this, urge them to tell their stories, especially to our youth. If you are one of these people, spread the word. Write, lecture, preach and educate. Time is short and patriots are few.
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