Democrats and progressives have been “otherizing” the President Elect by incessantly referring to the fear he inspires in so many, including young children. This, as I hope to explore in another post, is part of a wide ranging and dangerous de-legitimizing strategy, as wrong as calling Barack Obama by his middle name, or claiming that he isn’t a citizen. In the weekend’s Ethics Quiz, I answered answer to the question of whether Trump’s unequivocal condemnation of Fidel Castro in response to his death was ethical in the affirmative, and I concludeed with this:
Rather than using the occasion to find another excuse to attack Trump, Democrats should think about why it is that so many Castro admirers are in their ranks.
Now let me be more pointed: everyone surveying that national political scene should be concerned and alarmed that so many Castro admirers and apologists are in the ranks or progressives and Democrats….especially progressive and Democrats. It is signature significance. No one who is committed to liberty, the Constitution, the democratic process and basic principles of autonomy, respect, fairness and free speech can seriously praise Castro. The ominous turn of the increasingly radicalized Left in the United States to an “ends justify the means,” totalitarian methodology-endorsing philosophy is something to watch carefully. You want genuine fear? I am genuinely frightened of liberals who say that Castro “did some good things” on the way to shrugging off how he did those things, and how many lives it cost.
A good friend of mine and a nice, smart, man who is also an extreme liberal wrote on his Facebook page,
RIP, Fidel. A huge figure of the 20th century, one with faults and virtues. Believed his island belonged to all its people and not just the rich. A better man than the one who was just elected…
Res ipsa loquitur.
While Obama may be forgiven his mealy-mouthed equivocation about Castro’s legacy (“History will judge…”), others not facing diplomatic dilemmas should not be given the same pass. Nicely proving my assessment of his ignorance correct, San Francisco 49ers quarterback/protester Colin Kaepernick indicated that he was a Castro fan, —not of everything he did, of course—and thus is an idiot, just prior to playing a game in Miami, where the crowd loudly displayed its displeasure. This is the same symbol of protest whom President Obama and the NFL have lauded for exercising his rights of free speech, refusing to condemn a dictator who denied free speech to his people as well a free elections. How can one resolve this apparent conflict? I see no other resolution than that favored by the current convenient tilt of the Left: good speech, as in that which supports progressive goals, must be protected; bad speech, such as that opposing leftward power, should not be.
Scared yet? Consider these letters in the New York Times today, complaining that a recent Times overview of Castro’s reign was excessively negative. The first comes from a professor of political science at Purchase College, SUNY, and the author of “Cuba: Confronting the U.S. Embargo.” Yes, these people are teaching our children:
To the Editor:
Re “Fidel Castro, 1926-2016: A Revolutionary Who Defied the U.S. and Held Cuba in His Thrall” (front page, Nov. 27):
One of the more charismatic leaders of the 20th century, Fidel Castro had an enormous impact on relations among the United States, Cuba and the Soviet Union. As important, he and his fellow revolutionaries drove a hated Cuban dictator from power and used that success to charm the left and sway liberal opinion to their side by successfully standing against an American military invasion and embargo and excising America’s domination of Cuba.
Although many Cuban exiles in Miami gleefully welcomed Mr. Castro’s death (“Miami’s Streets Fill With Songs and Reflection,” front page, Nov. 27), his impact on politics in the third world was positive, while the model health care system his government developed and the educational opportunities he provided all Cubans will remain as among his greatest domestic achievements.
Although the right detested him, those of us on the left respected his standing up for the poor, the downtrodden and the desperate masses of the developing world. A controversial figure for sure, he could not be pushed around by Washington, offending it by his very impudence and survival. In his time, there was no one like him.
Note that there is no mention from the professor of the political prisoners, the desperate refugees, the executions and disappearances, the brutal oppression of gays and discrimination against blacks in Castro’s workers’ paradise. Nor is he bothered, apparently, by Castro’s typically lavish (for a dictator) lifestyle while his people struggled to live on rationed food and pitiful wages. He was charismatic, as dictators often are. That’s something.
The last paragraph is astoundingly values-free. How did Castro “stand up for the poor”? What was the cost in human dignity and human life? “Controversial,” was he? Only to enablers of dictators and supporters of oppression as a means to an end. Boy, what a champion to resist being “pushed around” by a government that sought to persuade him to not to ally himself with the Soviet Union and to permit his people to have some semblance of self determination, like being able to leave! As is too typical of the progressive way, all that matters to Shwab are the positive results, such as they are. Costs? Casualties? Never mind.
Next was a letter from an indignant professor emerita and documentary filmmaker in the Film, Television and Theater Department at the University of Notre Dame, who wrote…
To the Editor:
Gasping, I read this long, grim account of Fidel Castro’s life and of the anticolonial, socialist revolution he inspired and led. The article seemed to me to ridicule the Cuban revolution.
Mr. Castro is described as a “rabble-rouser” who “swaggered,” “a self-obsessive zealot,” “a tyrant” — not as a brilliant leader of a guerrilla struggle and then president of a tiny socialist republic with the highest literacy rate and best health care in the hemisphere, just 90 miles off the coast of Florida and under constant siege.
I am one who has for many years wished that Mr. Castro could have trusted the progress of the revolution enough to allow for open elections. Under constant attack from the United States — economically, militarily and through propaganda — it is clear why he thought the revolution had to be protected by the revolutionary party that led it.
One can condemn Cuba’s prosecutions of gays, and I do. And one would have hoped that Cuba hadn’t imported from the Soviets a system of surveillance that is still active today. Fidel Castro’s revolution has failed to provide liberty for each and every Cuban, but consider our contemporary surveillance situation and our political prisoners.
When sentenced to up to 15 years in prison by the Batista regime in 1953, Mr. Castro said, “History will absolve me.” All in all, it has.
History has absolved him! I guess that ties up Obama’s statement. The entire letter is testimony to contemporary leftist ethics rot. “I am one who has for many years wished that Mr. Castro could have trusted the progress of the revolution enough to allow for open elections,” she says. That’s nice. She dismisses the utter failure of the revolution to free its supposed beneficiaries—for six decades!—as just a disappointing glitch. Besides, it’s all the fault of the United States.
Prosecutions of gays, Big Brother-style surveillance, “failure to provide liberty for each and every Cuban”—now there’s a euphemistic phrase for the ages—again, no mention of all the deaths—but hey, look at the United States! Nobody’s perfect! (WHAT “political prisoners”?)
Would that these two were isolated cases of terminal left wing derangement, but they are not. We are finally ending a progressive adminsitration that bypassed the democratic process to rule by “phone and pen” to the cheers of the news media, academia and the Democratic Party, and have seen totalitarian methods and philosophies creep into the political culture of the Left. After all, the head of the Democratic National Committee said she was proud, not remorseful, about helping her presidential candidate cheat, and the Democratic Party’s leader in the Senate has endorsed the Big Lie tactic as a legitimate political tool. Progressive are clamoring to overturn the Constitutional results of the election. Electors are receiving death threats. Lenin would be impressed.
“Although the right detested him, those of us on the left respected his standing up for the poor, the downtrodden and the desperate masses of the developing world.”
Good for the Right. The rest is a full-throated endorsement of brutal leadership, for the “right’ ends. How many progressives and Democrats would say the same?
I’m afraid of the answer.