From 1965 to 1973, the largest airborne refugee evacuation took place from Cuba to America. President Johnson's freedom flights alleviated the influx of Cuban refugees who risked their lives by crossing the sea, sometimes in rickety boats and makeshift rafts.
Not only did my son-in-law's mother come by plane, but another little girl, Giselle, accompanied by her parents, her brother and an assortment of relatives, came by plane to America. She was my new friend, a fellow 11 year old. Our only difference was that she came from Cuba and had left the country because of a very bad man named Castro.
That's all I knew, all that mattered--at the time.
As an adult, I wish my child-self had been more curious. I wish I would have asked all the valuable questions lost over time.
That very bad man, clearly understood to people who value freedom, is being pseudo honored in his death. He was even honored before his death. I understand it is the nature of humans to be contrary, to want to kick up the dust, to "stick-it-to-the-man." All fine with me--let the first person who has never been rebellious cast the first stone. But...this man and his cohorts...
I told my students if they ever wore a Che Guevara or a Fidel Castro t-shirt to class, I would ask them to leave. It would NOT be a violation of free speech or free t-shirt wearing--they have every right to wear what they want--just not in my class. Because these men denied basic human rights to fellow human beings--even death, they cannot be glorified in my classroom. Castro ruined the economy of his country, took away people's possessions, properties, and denied the right to think according to one's conscience.
How blurred do we allow the lines of right and wrong, good and evil, to become?
Some people may remember when Ronald Reagan had the audacity to call the Soviet Union, the Evil Empire. It was a bold move in the dawning age of political correctness. In 1983, the President defended America's Judeo-Christian traditions against the Soviet Union's suppression of religious freedoms, freedoms of expression, the rights to think and act for oneself and its totalitarian rule. He wasn't afraid to call evil evil. What if? What if this blatant identification helped in the surprising, miraculous, dissolution of the great and might Soviet Union?
Yet, we keep trying to call evil good, keep hoping there is hope in socialism. We tried to cloak it again in the most recent election, because we saw such goodness in the candidate, even though he deemed himself a social democrat. Over and again, socialism has proven an unsuccessful economic experiment. Margaret Thatcher reversed the socialism of the UK and saved her country's economy. The socialist principles of the Soviet Union failed. Keep your eye on Venezuela, whose people are leaving by boat to escape starvation. Even China's economic changes were spurred by the leader who recognized, "It doesn't matter if the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice."
We are trying hard to be mutually inclusive. We want refugees to feel welcome, accepted and hopeful. We can love everyone, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but we can't step on the toes of truth. When we blur the lines of good and evil, evil triumphs.