America is at the crossroads. In a couple of weeks, we get to vote which path we will choose---toward bigger or more limited government. Lately I've been hearing from different people who fled Communist backgrounds, warning about what they see happening in modern America at the hands of politicians on both sides of the aisle.
A woman from church said of recent presidents (of both parties): "These politicians write executive orders as if they were kings or a Communist Party Politburo. I am from Communist Poland (which has recently become Communist again), and here in the US, I see socialism (and other -isms) coming every year, more and more since I got here, except under Reagan."*
Another man tells me via email: "…no matter what words I use to describe it, people who never lived under Communism will never truly understand the social cancer that Communism is. In the Romanian church I pastor…we have many members who fled Romania during Communism and risked their lives to escape the totalitarian regime; some were caught and brutally beaten….For the Communists, people who worked hard and managed to have more than the average were considered to be dangerous and were deported or worked to death in forced labor camps."
Someone might say, "Well, that was then. That was there. This is now. This is the United States." But my friend continues, "It is scary to see the mentality that resembles that of the Communists being more and more openly expressed by the politicians in USA."
The main voice I want to highlight here is from Carlos, a 42-year old Cuban refugee who escaped to America in 1995. His plea is for us to not go down the same path. He fears that we could "lose our beloved America," if we don't heed the lessons from Communism, such as:
1. No God Means No Rights
Carlos notes, "I grew up in government schools a complete atheist, and the system indoctrinates you all the way to the bones. There is no private school."
In contrast, our founders said that our rights come from the Creator. God-given rights are not up for vote. John F. Kennedy declared, "the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God." Ronald Reagan observed, "If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under."
2. Collectivism Means No Freedom
Carlos said, "Absolutely everything belongs to the government…For example, you own a cow; and you're starving to death, but cannot eat it…you can only sell the milk from your own cow to the government, and the government tells you how much it is worth…. The Communists try to keep you very poor and try to make you believe that there is only one way you can survive, and it because of government's help."
What's the net effect of over-bloated government? It often saps the strength and will of the people. As Carlos puts it, "It is very important for the government to take all the incentives, aspirations, and ambitions away from you. Government wants to make you a dependent parasite. That way they can control you very easily."
3. You Have No Freedom to Disagree
Carlos says, "The Communists control the media 100%.….I remember my mother being taken to jail because there is a law that if you are considered a dangerous person, the government has to isolate you 'for the better of the community.' They took my mother to jail for two years when I was in 5th grade." Although she has now lived in the U.S. for at least ten years, Carlos notes that she still fears being overheard saying the wrong thing. She whispered to Carlos recently, "Don't say that. Somebody is going to hear you."
Carlos continues, "I remember very well that you are afraid of talking about politics with your friends or any family member because you don't know if they work for the government, and any comment can take you to jail for many years---real jail, not the hotel that we have in America! I have many friends that went to jail for just having an opinion against the system."
Carlos escaped (on his fourth attempt to flee) when he and five other males rowed a 12-foot boat from Cuba to "a rock" in the Bahamas. He wept when an American soldier said, "Welcome to freedom, gentlemen!" Eventually, he was granted "political refugee asylum" in the U.S.
He looks back at how risky it was to row a 12-foot boat in the middle of the ocean, but he adds, "Nothing is more precious than freedom…you would do it for freedom too." He laments that "millions of Americans take this freedom and system for granted. How sad, very sad!"
Carlos warns. "I see the government getting bigger and bigger and controlling more and more, and I am afraid for my child to live what I lived. Well, I try to tell people my opinion every day and thank the Lord that I can do it without hiding. I will try, as long as the Lord wants me to be here, to try to keep this country the way it was founded."
There's a song that says, "You don't know what you got 'til it's gone." May that never be our future lament.
*Note: I have corrected grammatical errors and misspellings from these refugees.