Updated: Apr 28
I remember the threat of communism as a child . . .
and the possibility of physical attack.
The cold war started in 1947. It was a stand off between the US and the Soviet Union with constant tension between communism and freedom. Our parents had returned from World War II, having experienced all the danger and destruction of war. And the attack at Pearl Harbor was a reminder that our country was not immune from physical attack.
The thing is, I don't ever remember even talking to my kids about this,
and I wonder now what they learned in history class.
Mostly my life as a child was light and carefree, but I remember air raid drills— ducking down under my desk or lining up along the hallway walls with our arms over our necks. I remember the day we had a dry run, walking ALL the way home in groups led by teachers and staff—and for those of us who usually rode the bus, it was a loooong way for a grade-schooler! In 1956, the Nike site (Missile defense) was constructed across the highway from my neighborhood. It was one of many around the country, set up to defend in case of attack. And the Brown Deer Road site was one of three in Wisconsin that was also a launch site. Jets would also fly overhead, sending neighborhood kids scurrying for cover "just in case." My friend Judy even had an fallout shelter off her basement. In 1962, when I was 12, I remember the Cuban missile crisis being a very tense time.
I remember internal conflict in the 60's, the sexual revolution, and civil unrest. By the time I reached college at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, "free thinking" was the by-word of the day, and there were protests of every sort. When I think of my time there, I picture it under a dark cloud. Many of my contemporaries bought into "free thinking" and became leaders in schools and government, going on to shape the hearts and minds of the next generation. Because I had personally returned to my foundational roots, I forgot about the fact that many did not.
Over the years, my life went on and in the busyness of day to day life I didn't think about communism. As the years went on, I did wonder about all kinds of "seemingly disconnected" things that were taking our country off track. Now I realize that those things were actually connected. Connected to an agenda that was "hidden in plain sight."
Recently I learned about a book written in 1958 by
FBI agent Cleon Skousen.
I was 8 years old when he wrote this book. He stated that communist leadership realized the US would not easily fall to communism, and he learned of long-range plans designed to topple the US from within. The list of 45 goals was actually presented to congress in 1963. (I was 13 at the time)
I don't think many people knew of it or took it seriously, and life went on without much thought about communist threats. But communists are patient, deliberate, and consistent.
It's quite chilling to read through the list of 45 goals and realize how many of them have actually been met. And many of them were met unwittingly by good-willed people who were led astray.
#40 Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
#21 Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
#24 Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
As an artist, this list brought clarity to many things I witnessed as a student in the art department at UW-Milwaukee in the 70's:
#22 Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”
#23 Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.”
#42 Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use “united force” to solve economic, political or social problems.
And on and on it went . . .
“America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: Its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.”
– Joseph Stalin, Soviet Union, Communist Party
"Your children's children will live under communism. You Americans are so gullible. No you won't accept communism outright, but we will keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you finally wake up and find you already have communism. We will so weaken your economy, until you fall over like overripe fruit into our hands." "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who are not."
- Nikita Krushchev, Soviet Union Communist Party, September 29, 1959