They’d come up to me and whisper: “We’re
not all like
that.”Not merely the
but also ordinary non-political folks who just wanted to be
able to speak their
mind freely. This was 1967 in East Germany, part of Big Soviet
Out in public you zipped your mouth:
everyone did. In
their own homes, citizens could be human again – to a degree;
because children were constantly encouraged to rat their
parents out to the Party.
You could never be sure of appearances: Politburo functionaries
and their acolytes would pose as dissidents to trap you.
When appropriate, you
praised the glorious system that kept a few greedy folks up
and everyone else
down. So you rah-rah’d for Russian subjugation and hoped
they believed you.
What a way to live!
Fast forward - whrrrrp! - to 2012 and the
talk freely, discuss politics, espouse various points of view
without fear of
repercussion. They inhale a euphoric mixture of air and
freedom and 22 years
after the collapse of communism it’s still the same. I’ve just
returned from revisiting
But let’s look at Walton County.
A vibrant young lady I know gave me a nod
the other day
and mouthed the word certain individuals in this area call
At two different stores right here the owners told me they
were Democrats but
quickly begged me not to tell anyone. These are frightened
Is this our America? No, but it is
County – a place where folks dare not voice an opinion for
fear of reprisal
from those who claim to speak for all. The scared storekeepers
businesses would take a hit if their personal political views
What a way to live!
We see it regularly in the pages of this
newspaper – the bullyboy
demands to silence any voice that doesn’t echo the Party line.
In this case the
There I go again? With unimaginative
columnists like Roy Roberts and, most recently, Don Ashworth,
parrot Ronald Reagan’s
one-liner as though it had some profound meaning, which it
doesn’t. In his
September 23 column, he re-runs his January 2, 2011 demand
that this newspaper
gag me, so, Mr Ashworth, there YOU go again!
“Wehner’s not saying what I’m saying, so
shut him up!”
But what is Mr Ashworth saying? Well, he
insist President Obama closed the GM plant in Janesville,
Wisconsin in 2009 and
advises “a little research”. But not via trusted sources such
as the Washington
Post and ABC News, oh no. The kind of skimpy research he does
leaves an ‘n’ off
Michele Bachmann’s name and calls her a California Democrat
instead of the
Minnesota Republican that she is.
Not paying attention means you don’t get
straight. He preaches a little research? I prefer a lot.
Anyone who cares to
look at Obama’s February 8, 2008 speech will find he didn’t
“promise” to keep Janesville
open. Nor was he in office June 3 when, at a shareholders’
meeting, CEO Rick
Wagoner announced the closure, triggering an
letter from local Republican Paul Ryan. Nor on December 23
when the last GM
vehicle was rolled out (50 Isuzu workers then completed a
light truck order). All
this is a matter of record with supporting photographs.
Certain Waltonians may prefer to believe
the false story
put out by Mr Ashworth, a man trying his hardest to make Obama
And Reagan the saint. With those four
famous words “tear
down this wall” he did call out Mikhail Gorbachev in Berlin. But the Gorbmeister refused. It fell to
Lech Walesa two years later to start a freedom
movement in Poland
that then snowballed into a total rejection of Communism
Kremlin’s oppressive empire. So while Reagan made the call
on June 12, 1987
nothing happened for 2½ years until the people themselves
brought down the wall.
In the extreme world of Donald Ashworth
organization is “left wing”; any opinion that makes him
“garbage” and a full direct quote is “an interpretation.” His
column, just like
those of Mr Roberts, is full of distortions, suppositions and
knowing a thing about me, Mr Ashworth claims I “couldn’t make
it” in England
and keeps calling me an Englishman when I’m not. Since he’s
Nostradamus perhaps he’d like to make up his own story about
why I went behind the
Iron Curtain in 1967 as well.
That’s how accurate his “little checked”
facts are. And that’s
the trouble with zealots. They base their opinions on very
or none at all – and then they shout down any dissent. No
other voice is tolerated
for fear it might cause the open discussion they’re afraid of.
is national prosperity but they refuse to consider alternative
How insecure must you be to want to
ideas don’t mimic your
There are indeed closet Democrats
throughout Walton County.
Like garlic against vampires, some of them display Romney-Ryan
lawn signs to
fend off the bullies. At the voting machine next month they’ll
fingers do the whispering.