Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dissidents and Democrats

Sergei Alexeyev, the son of a famous Russian dissidents Lyudmila Alexeyeva, died recently. It is said that one should speak nothing but good of the dead. Yet generally this man was not regarded as a very good person. He had in his apartment the photos of Joseph McCarthy.

He was stridently against Communism, and that is fair enough. The problem I've seen is many Russian immigrants in America comparing Democrats to Communists. There is no room for this error. Democrats have not built labor camps. Democrats haven't executed people for disagreeing with them. Democrats have not invaded countries and made them their satellites by force.

If you have left one country to go to another country, it is expected that you will love the country into which you have immigrated. Once again, there is nothing wrong with that. The problems start when people start making false links. And the link between Soviet Communists and American Democrats is a false one.

My mother votes Democratic; yet she is a highly responsible person who has done well in the economy. Under Clinton, America thrived; under Bush it failed miserably. There are many people who hate Obama, but Obama rescued America from its worst economic crisis since Great Depression. If he had been, as some claim, a Communist or a totalitarian, then he would have nationalized banks and the car industry. Instead he bailed them out; and American capitalism owes a lot to this president.

As for myself, I believe that people should have the best of all worlds. Having been both a winner and a loser under capitalism, I look for win-win solutions. People should have the benefit of opportunity that comes with capitalism; and people should have the benefits of security that comes with liberalism. Everyone should be taken care of at the basic level; and those who want more should be able to work for it.

I certainly find it despicable that a Putin-associated youth organization, known as Nashi (translated as “ours”) would make Lyudmila Alexeyeva – a woman in her 90s – as their enemy. But I also see as despicable the people who claim that those interested in clean energy are commies. There is enough idiocy running around everywhere, and it becomes the duty of the responsible citizen to see what is idiocy and what is not.

Lyudmila Alexeyeva has done great things, and she should be respected for it. But not everything that Russian immigrants are doing in America is right. Coming from Russian immigrants, I am willing to do the intellectual heavy lifting to distinguish the right from wrong that takes place in this constituency. And it is by doing that that we can know right from wrong.


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