A good friend of mine reminded me TODAY is when the Berlin Wall “came down”. For some reason, I thought December was when Gorbachev allowed German people on both sides, people, free access. Perhaps it was because people lamented how wonderful it was for families to be reunited in time for Christmas. What I do remember, quite vividly, was the political electricity in the air. “Could this actually be the end of Communism?” Of course, it was… at least for a while.
I was an Army Combat Engineer stationed at Fort Knox Kentucky at the time. Once a year, NATO conducted a countrywide exercise in Germany call REFORGER; Return Forces to Germany. Just after final formation, a call came across the barracks PA system asking for volunteers to serve as a representative group of my unit in Europe the following January. My entire squad hoofed it downstairs to the operations NCO to sign up. There was no way I was going to miss out on this!
We all made the list and shipped off for several weeks in Germany. Like I say, the feeling was electric. Though I never saw the actual Wall, the German people were so happy that they might one day get their country back. The Germans I met had nothing but gratitude and appreciation for us Americans. It appeared the “Cold War”, the stop to the spread of state ownership, was about to be over. As a soldier, I wondered if this would be the last of such a military exercise. Communism was defeated, Democracy reigns!
As I state in my workshop, Dealing with Different Generations in the Workplace, Millennials can be the most positive force in human existence… IF they remember the lessons of past generations. I am concerned given what I see on social and public media today. There are politicians promising “free this and free that”. Of course, nothing is free including freedom itself.
But when people with few accomplishments in their lives lash out against those who are successful, in a classic struggle between the haves and the have-nots, it sounds like a compelling argument. That is until you take a closer look at those who have more, simply
because they or their family worked for it. The free enterprise system is the best form of meritocracy; you have something because you EARNED it.
Look at the pictures within this post. If Communism / Socialism was so great, so fair, so equitable, why were so many people desperate to escape it? Communism is nothing less than organized tyranny. Socialism attempts to do by legislation what Communism does at gunpoint; rob you of your freedom.
Speaking out against Socialism isn’t politically correct today, but then again, I was never PC. Next year, America has decisions to make concerning the direction of the country. Will voters make those decisions based on their feelings alone or will they learn the lessons of a generation ago. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.