Thursday, March 19, 2009

"You Americans Are Obsessed With Communism"

"You Americans are obsessed with Communism!" one of my students said in exasperation. I giggled. I can't even remember what we were talking about that brought out her observation but I giggled because I knew it was true.

"We can't help it!" I said. "Our parent's generation and our generation's tax dollars went to fighting it. For years we heard how awful it was. When Mikhail Gorbachev ended the Cold War, it was like we could breathe a giant sigh of relief and could then spend all that money on something else."

"So then you went to Iraq!" she said with a laugh.

"Touche." I couldn't stop giggling cause I knew that was true too.

But she made me think about why we're obsessed with learning about Communism when we come here. An awful lot of my generation "fought communism" in Vietnam and I knew what it cost them.

I realized another reason we're obsessed: we want to see if everything our government told us about how awful communism was as a system was really true.

I'm happy to report my government didn't lie to me. It's much worse than they said. Here's what I didn't realize about communism until I got here - under communism, it's not just the government being mean to people, but the government forcing people to be mean to each other. You should hear the stories. They're awful.

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