It has only been a few weeks since Obama has been reelected, yet again, thanks in no small part to my fellow American Jews. President Obama has wasted no time in expanding his Marxist-inspired agenda. YES! Marxism! I lived it. We who came to America from socialist countries like, in my case, the USSR, have been trying to warn our fellow Americans of the frightening signs we see of the change from freedom and liberty to the domination of everyday life by government. An excellent example of our attempts is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnX7TNFIELg.
One of the most rewarding experiences of my early time in the United States as an immigrant was the study of American history. It became clear to me why America became the most advanced, powerful, and generous country on Earth. It was so very different from what I was taught in the USSR. I learned that the early American Pilgrims tried communism-socialism’s ultimate goal-in their first years here. They soon starved and were failing. Enlightenment came, and land distributed as private property. All changed for the better and they prospered. The Declaration of Independence and Constitution confirmed the lessons the Founders had learned from their forebears and contemporary thinkers like Adam Smith. As an immigrant I reveled in these learnings, these wisdoms borne out by America’s REAL history.
Barack Obama is often compared, by his followers, to Lincoln. This one quote by Lincoln says so much to debunk that view: “That some should become rich, shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise.” This is the exact opposite of Obama’s rhetoric, and indeed, his goals.
As a result of just one portion of his agenda, Obamacare, many American businesses are scaling back hours and laying off employees in order to avoid being crushed out of business by the new system. Socialism disregards the “source” of money to support its utopian aims. If a company cannot make enough money to sustain itself in business, there is no point in its continuance. Worse, it tells all those who might create wonderful, needed new products and services that their ideas will not come to any success; as the early Pilgrims learned. Eventually, all business would be, as in the USSR, run by government. We would live in the lines at the DMV everyday, everywhere.
Having grown up in a communist (AKA socialist) country where all services, including medical care, were socialized, I feel compelled to share some personal experiences:
Since all medical services were completely dependent on government funding, there was no choice but to ration care. Everyone was considered equal-though some more than others-and being a doctor was not any more of a respected profession than a janitor. Doctors, moreover, did not make any more money than the average citizen with the nation’s motto being “from everyone according to his ability, to everyone according to his need.” There was no sense of personal achievement to drive excellence. In the city where we lived, which was one of the most developed cities in the USSR, there were many periods of time when hospitals were so short on supplies that the patients had to provide their own instruments and medications. One of our neighbors in our government assigned apartment building came down with appendicitis. Upon arriving at the hospital his family was given a list of supplies they had to acquire such as surgical tools and medications for the doctors to operate. There were simply none available at any of the area hospitals. His family spent the next several days attempting to acquire the necessary supplies while he suffered in agony. By the time they were able to purchase what was needed, his appendix had ruptured and he died at age 40.
Another incident hits even closer to home. My own grandmother had her tonsils removed on the advice of her doctor. There was a shortage of qualified surgeons so my grandmother’s surgery was relegated to a medical student; of course grandma had no say in the matter. In the course of the surgery the inexperienced medical student broke grandma’s jaw, which she had to have wired shut for over a month and was forced to nourish herself with a liquid diet. Just when you think this couldn’t get worse, it does. Ever since the tonsillectomy, my grandmother always had atrocious throat and digestion problems. She got sore throats and coughs almost non-stop and had such horrible indigestion that she couldn’t consume any seasoning with her food. It wasn’t until moving to the US in the 1990′s that an American doctor discovered that whoever performed her tonsillectomy also removed her salivating glads. Even if this had been discovered at the time of the surgery, there would be nothing she could do under the socialized medicine system.
Another example comes from a family friend who was a medical doctor at one of the city’s major hospitals. He used to complain that he had a floor full of oncology patients who needed routine injections but only had 7 needles and 10 syringes available. He and his colleagues had to resort to bringing their instruments home and boiling them on the kitchen stove in order to sanitize them.
Let’s talk personal impacts; my everyday life under socialism, I have mentioned medical care. There are many more I can share about daily life. Since at its core socialism is rooted in regulation, like the compounding regulations of our President’s administration, there was not one single tenet that was not controlled by the government. Since the government owned all goods and services one had to apply to receive even the most basic necessities such as toothpaste and toilet paper, which of course, were rationed. We often laugh nowadays at family gatherings about having had to use newspapers in place of toilet paper when monthly rations ran out; the underlying message however, is far from humorous.
The government was very keen on indoctrinating schoolchildren, thus every single story in every single schoolbook would center on the glory of communism and its founders. We learned to read from a story called Lenin was Never Afraid of Anything, while word problems in math involved calculating the outputs of communal farms. There is an eerie resemblance to this in the school classes we saw on news channels that taught young American children to sing, “Mmmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama” verses extolling a man who’s past is apparently off limits. A man whose stated objective is to “transform America.”
In Soviet art class we were only allowed to draw representations of communism’s glory. We could draw the Kremlin from all angles but one time I drew a squirrel and had to stand in the corner on my knees with my hands interlocked behind my head. Starting in the first grade the children were referred to as “young Octoberists” and had to wear a pin of a red star with a portrait of young Lenin in the center. Upon entering the fourth grade we became “young pioneers” and wore a red bandanna around our necks to signify our allegiance to the Soviet cause. The most admired child hero in our schoolbooks was Pavel Morozov, who reported his stepfather to the authorities for hiding an extra bag of rice in the basement. The stepfather was subsequently executed and Pavel was glorified as an exemplary pioneer.
Even the most mundane aspects of life were regulated. When cassette players first came out my mother wanted to acquire one for me. She had to go through the process of filling out an application with her boss at work, known as the brigadier, who called together a committee to determine whether she had a need for a cassette player. The committee declined her request because we already had a record player at our government assigned apartment. When I outgrew my child-size bed my mom had to go through a petition process at her work again and then was put on a waiting list for a new bed for about a year before one became available for issue. This, as is known by immigrants who fled socialism, is the tenet of shared misery where only those in the government lived in beautiful dachas and had luxuries we could only dream of.
I am certain that many reading these words would say that such things cannot happen here in the US. After all, America is considered a world superpower and the most developed nation on earth. Yet we have a president who went on a tour to apologize for the very successes that, from my immigrant perspective, make America great. He targets private enterprise in a push to impose his socialist ideologies. He is striving to put something as personal as our medical care into the hands of the government. If we have the government in charge of medicine, can we really be sure that the horrors of Soviet medicine will not reappear here in the US?
This article is meant for all Americans. I am Jewish, but I lived the experience of socialism, a form of communism. I look at my fellow Jews and wonder, what are you thinking? Many doctors in the US are also Jewish. I wonder how many were a part of the 70% who voted to reelect a president that wants to control how they care for their patients while taking away the majority of their hard-earned income. Many American Jews have become disconnected with our heritage as a people. One can remain linked to one’s heritage, whether Christian, Jew or otherwise while also embracing the guarantees of America’s freedoms through the Constitution. Israel is part of my heritage. I see all around me Americans of many faiths standing with Israel. I see a socialist president who clearly does not stand with our friend, Israel. I see the Obama-enabled “Arab Spring” collapsing. What was the REAL agenda? What is his REAL agenda for the United States? As a former Soviet immigrant, I know! I LIVED it.