At the height of the cold war, most of us in the west; Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, Socialist, Christian or atheist, had a common enemy. And when President Reagan said, in 1987, in Berlin “I’d like to ask the Soviet leaders one question […] Why is the wall there?” and “I call upon those responsible to dismantle it [today]”.
Thirty years later, many of us in the west; Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, Socialist, Christian or atheist, have a common enemy. And when President Trump says, in 2017, in Washington says about his wall “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful.” It is time once gain to learn from history. Isolating ourselves and our misguided ideas is a disservice to the world and harmful to our people.
Under the old common enemy; Communism, a few benefited greatly. Members of the party elite built dachas, statues, monuments and amazing wealth. Oppression was necessary, so the officials suspended freedoms and disappeared citizens. Views contrary to the party line were ridiculed, writers and artists who challenged the regime faced imprisonment and anyone who wasn’t pure white Russian was relegated to secondary and tertiary citizenship.
Thirty years seems long enough for our collective memory to have faded. It seems many of us have forgotten that we opposed the era of Khrushchev through Gorbachev. A time when the ordinary people of the USSR suffered shortages in the most basics of life. A time when ruthless, cynical opportunism flourished and the best liars and fabricators made a mockery of truth.
It seems that Russia forgot the path and hope of “Demokratizatsiya” and have again accepted the iron fist holding sway while stuffing a wallet with gold. A bare-chested leader with bravado and little else, riding bareback isn’t a knight in white armor and cooperation with a bear is a fools game.
When held to public scrutiny and criticism, the power was sapped and the wall did come down.
We have a responsibility and an opportunity to shine a light with voice and deed, calling out narrow-minded protectionism and parochialism whether in Moscow, Washington, Ottawa or London or in the provinces, states, cities and towns.Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, Socialist, Christian or atheist, have a common enemy and she is overconfident that we will surrender to the dismantling of values and the construction of barriers to keep ideas out. Show her that she is wrong.