awoke Friday, inauguration day, with an epiphany. I try to stay way from
politics, and I'm willing to give anyone a chance. But sometimes
it's hard. Russia's still out there....
More than one way to conquer...
Friday morning I woke up with an epiphany, one that had crept
into my mind during the night. I arose with the intention of a cup of
tea, reading the paper, and over breakfast turning on the TV to follow
the beginning move towards the inauguration of a new president. Let me
I grew up in the era
of the first real Russian threat. There was the Russian takeover of many
eastern European counties after WWII. We had drills in school... if the
alarm was given that we were under nuclear attack while in class, we had
to crouch under our desks, cover the back of our necks against breaking
window glass, and close our eyes until after the blinding flash of
explosion. One student asked a teacher: "If we have our eyes closed, how
will we know when the flash is over?" The teacher replied, "Don't worry,
you'll see the flash right through your closed eyelids!" When I got home
one day, I asked my father what he would do if we were attacked. He
replied "I think I'd go stand outside and hope I would die quickly; I
saw pictures of how residents of Hiroshima suffered!"
I grew up in the
McCarthy era, when we were so afraid of communism that anyone that was
anybody, and even hinted at any sympathy for Russia or communism, was
called before cruel hearings and fired from careers, taken out of the
public eye and often jailed, even if they had been denounced
illegitimately by a rival. After we left Lincoln, Nebraska, my future
husband was stationed there, a 1st Lt. in SAC, and sometimes in
Greenland, to guard against nuclear armed missiles feared to come over
the Artic Circle to attack us. In the Everglades, North Dakota and
elsewhere, we built bunkers holding missiles ready to attack back.
We moved to Sarasota
Fla; the Russians beat us into space with Sputnik; then the race was on,
and eventually we apparently visited the moon. My father never believed
that Sputnik was real, partly for religious reasons and partly because
of a blind spot when it came to basic physics.
I moved to
Miami, and married, in time to live through the Russian missile crisis
in Cuba. One evening I heard a steady faint droning. Going outside with a
horizon limited by huge mango and avocado trees, there was an unending
wide swath of airplanes, high in the sky, thousands and thousands of
them. I was astonished and unbelieving that we actually had so many
planes. The next day I told Floyd, my husband, expecting to be told I
was imagining things. He said, "Seriously, Bess, you have no idea."
Other times I would hear a deep thrumming in the ground, usually at
night, and the next day would find that the paving on a main
thoroughfare, a block away, was all chewed up by tank treads.
Communism in Russia fell of its own weight, but that didn't eradicate
their activities, just slow them down. Hacking or interfering with an
election is easier than planning a nuclear attack. The epiphany? The
Russians failed to scare us; they failed to take over Europe and even
hold what they did conquer. They failed in Cuba thanks to Kennedy; in
East Germany thanks to Reagan; they failed to beat us in space, in
technology, in armed conflict in third world countries; communism and
Russian aggression has displayed its failures in many places. With
modern technology at its disposal, as well as advances in psychology and
better understanding of public relations, perhaps they have now
displayed a new weapon; one we fell for. Make us the laughing stock of
the world, a clown state of government even for much of our own
population. We just have to wait and see how it plays out...