Friday, August 3, 2012


What are you afraid of? 

For me, it is the thought of my family hungry, cold, sick... eyes haunted with fear and desperation as I am unable to help, unable to protect, to provide, unable to feed them... 

I was an exchange student to Germany, just after the wall came down and right before the Reunification.  I spent two weeks in East Berlin with an East German family of four that lived in a two bedroom apartment, happy for the luxury... a wife and husband who had married because they could share more together, a business arrangement that seemed to have turned into something more... but still far from the world of love that I had come from.  We visited the father's mother during my time there... she lived in a village an hour or so from apartment in Berlin.  It wasn't squalor she lived in; all neat and tidy, but it certainly wasn't anything like what I used to.  Not many electronics at all, but she cooked up a nice meal...

Everything in their life was changing.  You could see the color entering there lives like watching a commercial for the Colorized version of the Wizard of Oz... the shots of it black and white, then the color "Magically" brought in. You look at the black and white shots and then the color shots and you were amazed! What sorcery! I know I watched the color version after the black and white version... Same story... but the colorized version was exciting after watching the old version.  You could see the same thing happening around me... People were travelling... stretching legs long held back by the iron curtain... Stretching their minds... starting to discuss things out in the open that would seen them behind bars.  Some of the young women would even talk about some of the horrors of Soviet Army troops... but still in hushed tones.

They were the survivors of the Cold War.  Many perished before them, but they had held out.  They kept their mouths shut when they needed to.  Studied what they were told to study in school.  Worked at the jobs they were assigned.  They knew what happened to those that didn't.  Google STASI.  I even went to one of their headquarters buildings and was able to see some of the "interesting" areas.    It was amazing to see how bright the future was in their eyes. How horrifying it was to see the past in their hearts and minds.

There is a reason why many revolts start with the Students.  Young, impressionable, full of vitality.  Not bent over with the yoke of true Adulthood, where you take your turn at the wheel, neck bent with the responsibility of providing for yourself and others.  Even more importantly, not responsible(normally) for anybody but yourself.  This freedom is precious, and often taken for granted when you are young(I know I sound like an old codger now).  It gives people a power to try to change the world around them.

Now think of our founders... (yes, you knew I was going to get to them eventually!) Almost all family men.  All with something to lose.  They risked everything.  Their lives... the lives of their wives and children.   Think about that.  Today we are taught that such a belief, such a total belief in anything like that is to be discouraged.  You can't choose for your children, you have to let them decide... Don't defend your beliefs, just go along and get along. 

Where would we be if the founders of our country did that now?

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