“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”
I don’t discuss politics much because of my own choosing. Maybe it has something to do with the amount of stress in my life and the desire to minimize aggravating subjects whenever possible. Could be because my Italian blood goes from a gentle simmer to a rapid boil when I hear ignorance ladled out like tablespoons of sweet honey. Despite the multitude of reasons why I excuse myself from certain topics, I am now making an exception.
Just because I don’t enjoy talking about the governor of Florida or the state of our economy or our current healthcare fiasco, I have a son in a legal and historical academy and I like communicating with him about what he’s learning in school. This week, he informed me that his Constitutional Law teacher, someone who I respect for challenging his students to think critically and outside of the box, made a statement that was disturbing.
It went something like this, “Che Guevara did a lot of good for the Cuban people. He helped them with providing better healthcare.”
Excuse me while I throw up. I’m not here to argue the alleged merits of Che’s medical experience or idolize him by turning him into a god-like symbol of Marxist revolution. He might have seen disparities between the haves and have nots. The bottom line is: he utilized violent revolutionary tactics and was a cutthroat oppressor of the common people. Hitler would have been very proud. Ask any Cuban who witnessed the decline of what was once their paradise, their home, their country, into a place of despair and desperation and they will tell you he is no hero. He represents all that is disgusting, violent, and inhumane.
They will tell you about how there are no pharmacies, hospitals, grocery stores, basically, any of the places we take for granted here in the U.S. How, if money is sent by family members in the States to Cuba and basic goods like rice or canned food are purchased on the black market and the Cuban people are caught, these people could face jail time of up to ten years or worse, death. Or how education is free for children, who along with their donated uniforms, are indoctrinated into communist, revolutionary Cuban history. Or if you speak out against the government you could end up in front of a firing squad sporting some ugly exit wounds that riddle your crumpled body.
BUT, if you are part of the government elite, there are hospitals, wonderful hospitals. There is medicine should you get a cold and need to see the doctor. There is food, lots of it, without having to bring a book and wait for hours for a handout of whatever it is you are lucky to receive. You live in beautiful mansions with servants and armed guards. You, who supposedly speak for the rights of the oppressed, have become oppressors.
Let’s cut through the bullshit. Stalin, Hitler, Che Guevara, Castro, Lenin, and other intimidating “revolutionaries” had (and those who remain in power have) blood on their hands. Lots of it. Human blood. Blood of those who were (and are) not afraid to speak up against injustice, oppression, outright massacres, and communism. Blood of those who say NO to the sweet talking, UZI toting, corrupt politicians.
Don’t talk to me or my son about the “good” these men have done in society. I’m not paying for a college education where I have to see Che’s nauseating face on my professor’s tee shirt. Don’t attempt to sway me into your twisted mindset that democracy is the scourge of humanity.
I’ve seen the spilled blood of the innocent, the abused, the silenced, in the eyes of my friends who witnessed evil and managed to get out alive. Che Guevara said it best, “cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders turn cruel.” He knew what he was talking about. He lived cruelty, breathed it, inflicted it.
It is true history/herstory repeats itself if we do not spend some time digging, talking, learning. Instead of allowing ourselves to be handfed like babies, eagerly swallowing and digesting whatever food is placed on our tongues, let’s check it out first. Taste it. Look at the ingredients. Make sure what we are consuming is what the label says it is. If not, spit it out. Shop somewhere else. Take a stand.
“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”