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Opinion

Are America’s “Four Olds” Being Destroyed?

By – Diana Erbio

When tiny human hearts, livers and other body parts are nothing more than “fetal tissue” and we cannot refer to another human as a he or a she without wondering if we have offended someone,  it is time to decide as Americans if this is the country we want. ( I hope I haven’t offended anyone by using the word American.)

If it seems things have gotten more and more confusing over the past few years it should not be surprising. Some of us expected we would not  like the “change”  that would attempt to fundamentally transform America, but I think many more who voted for change, did not think the change we are living with now is the change they were waiting for.

We were told by candidate  Barack Obama in 2008,  “We can’t drive our SUVs and, you know, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees at all times, whether we’re living in the desert or we’re living in the tundra, and then just expect every other country is going to say OK, you know, you guys go ahead keep on using 25 percent of the world’s energy, even though you only account for 3 percent of the population, and we’ll be fine. Don’t worry about us. That’s not leadership.”

But most didn’t hear much of what was said because they didn’t listen. Many Americans at election time hear what they want the candidate to say, not what the candidate is actually saying. Those seeking office  tell prospective voters a lot of things. Too often they tell different groups different things, and when meanings of words are in flux that helps aspirants. What exactly did “change” mean again? Change is just the type of word that I am sure polled well. It is a word that can mean many things to many different people.

As beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder, so too is change. Beauty depends on who is  looking and change depends on who is hearing. Every election, candidates talk about change. If you listen carefully and do not just hear their words you may understand what they are really saying.

When I was seventeen my grandfather asked me who I might select for president if I could vote. I chose the candidate of the opposite party of who was in office and gave the reason as “change”. It would be good to have a change I said. My grandfather said, “Change for change’s sake alone is not a good reason.” He told me to be sure I understood what the change was, before thinking it was a good thing. Whenever I hear the word change, I remember what my grandfather told me. I wish more voters would follow that advice.

It is important for citizens to pay close attention. Change may come quickly, but if it comes slowly it may not be noticed until it is in place. Once a fundamental transformation has been completed, or is near completion, and it is realized that it is not desirable, even if  by a majority of the citizenry, it will still be difficult to return to the post-transformative state.

I recently read a book that worried me. Red Scarf Girl (A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution)  by Ji-li Jiang is the personal story of the author who was a twelve-year-old girl when China’s Cultural Revolution began in 1966. It is chilling to read Ji-li’s story and experience the harsh transformation of a society as told by someone who lived it.

Ji-li describes the daily radio broadcasts by Chairman Mao that spoke about the evils of the old ideas, old culture, old customs, and old habits. They were called the “Four Olds” and to build a strong socialist country the “Four Olds” had to be destroyed and the “Four News” had to be established. Families who had been property owners were suddenly labeled and shunned. Ji-li’s grandfather had been a landlord, and even though he was now dead, her family was marked. Neighborhood Dictatorship Groups would patrol neighborhoods and determine which families would be singled out and have their personal property removed from their homes if it was deemed to be “Four Old” or was gained through capitalistic means. People were shamed and publicly humiliated. If they did not submit to the new thinking, they were physically brutalized.

This book made me remember when America used to warn about the evils of Communism and what an undesirable system it is to live under. We must remind our fellow Americans and the next generation that societies have been fundamentally transformed and not always for the better. We must focus on where the change the political candidates speak of today will lead us. We must not vote and live blindly. If we do, we may find ourselves in a country we no longer understand or want to live in.

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Rik

Diana, you are so right. … My mother’s parents escaped Communist Russia, my father’s parents escaped Hitler’s Germany. … My mother’s father died a bitter man, he wasn’t wealthy, but he was a landowner. He gave it all up to come to America and ended up as a factory worker. He was a learned man, I say so because every Sunday, he read the entire N.Y. Times from cover to cover, though I doubt he do that with today’s Times. He hated Communism! He would get very angry every time Khrushchev was on tv. I’m sure he be rolling over in his grave seeing what’s happened to America today. What irks me to no end is why not even one Republican serving Congressman or upcoming candidate is talking about Lenin’s Decalogue … His “Manual to Seize Control of Society” and realize that this is the proverbial “smoking gun” to win… Read more »

ken

Paulo didn’t you read the article. Most everything thing you mentioned and your opinions of change are what’s wrong with America. I know you admire obama and his communists ways, but,you are so wrong. And it does appear that your are the wussy of the family.

Rik

Hey everybody, this is priceless, did you all see the video of Democratic National Chairman, Deborah Wasserman Schultz waffling out of a question asked by Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s Hardball? … He asks her “what’s the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist?” … Her uncomfortable answer, “this is about the difference between Republicans and Democrats” … Com’on Rebublicans, this should be a dominant issue this election … Let them defend themselves!

As the old saying goes … “If the shoe fits, wear it!”

PaulO

Sometimes old customs, old cultures, old habits and old ideas should die off changing for the decency and respect for ALL people. Old custom’s like flying the divisive confederate flag over state capital domes. Thank you Governor Nikki Haley for the NEW approach. Old societal cultures against Gay marriage. Thank you majority of American people and Supreme Court for the NEW ethos. Old habit of expecting my server or the cook preparing my meal to slog for a measly $3 or $7 per hour. Thank you proponents of a NEW higher $15 minimum wage. People that work 40 hours a week shouldn’t have to struggle to get by each week. Old ideas that women are only worth 77 cents to every dollar a Man is paid. Thank you President Obama for the NEW change and the Lily Ledbetter act (wow his 1st executive action too). …. Or would you have… Read more »

Frank

Excellent article! That’s all you need to say.