By Alex Hogue, STARRS member
A few months back, I was asked a question about what correlation I saw between Critical Race Theory and Communism based on my experiences living in communist Romania for 18 years. I took a deep breath, not because it required much thinking on my part, but because the answer I knew, which was still so vivid in my psyche, was causing me PTSD.
“Not being allowed to dissent. It’s your way or no way. No conversation, no space for dissent,” I answered.
Under Communism, it was not necessarily the rationed life (rationed food and medical care) we were living that was distressing to Romanians.
The struggle of daily life was the constant psychological conditioning of conformity to the system under which we were forced to live. The damage was intentional. Reinforced, through communist party propaganda press and two hours of daily television.
A little background to this propaganda:
“the establishment of the democratic government led by Dr. Petru Groza on March 6, 1945, the manipulation of the parliamentary elections of 1946, the abolition of the two major parties PNT-CD and PNL, the imposition of a program of economic and socio-political reforms after the Soviet model, the repression of class enemies, the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the abolition of the monarchy and the start of the program: The New Man.”
Moreover, during the ‘70s and ‘80s, surveillance was prevalent through members of the Secret Service similar to Russia’s KGB. They recruited Romanians from all walks of life to take the pulse of the society in regards to their view on the communist party and their leader.
The Secret Service’s tool was Word of Mouth. Families were telling on their family members, classmates were telling on their classmates, workers on their coworkers and so on. This was a well organized crime syndicate of listening, observing, reporting back to the System.
Those agreeing to become informants were rewarded with food and good medical care. The System was brutal in their punishment of dissidents by turning them into mad men and sending them to psychiatric wards designed especially for them.
Living in the United States of America for the past 22 years, I’ve been keenly experiencing psychological symptoms between life experiences I lived under communism and what has been occurring in America for the past 15 years.
It has become harder and harder to express a different point of view without being vilified by peers in social media, press, and TV.
Moreover, some of those who are elected to represent us in Congress encourage the vilification of dissent. Lively and healthy debates are being portrayed as misinformation. People’s livelihoods are destroyed for daring to dissent from required programming. The Patriot Act has been weaponized as a surveillance tool against American citizens.
I still believe in the most exquisite experiment of freedom that the world has ever known: The United States of America, the shining city upon a hill.
I still believe in the freedom this nation is providing to millions of citizens who are fleeing despotic regimes.
I’m forever grateful for the dreams I was allowed to achieve in America, and for giving me back my dignity to develop as a human being.
However, lately, due to the turning of American life into an oblivion of divisiveness, my subconscious has been asking a frightening question: did I flee communist Romania to end my life in communist America?