I was born into the Cold War Era in 1961. It was a bad time. The USA had just finished the Korean War, and was just ramping up the war in Vietnam. There was civil unrest everywhere.
- JFK assassination
- Bay of Pigs
- Watts riots
- Black Panthers
- 1968 Democratic National Convention riot
- RFK assassination
- MLK assassination
- Kent State riot
- Tet Offensive
- Assassination attempt on George Wallace
- American withdrawal from Vietnam and the fall of Saigon
There was nothing but bad news on the television set, day and night. In school, 1966, we were being taught to “duck and cover” if we heard the sirens announcing an atomic bomb attack from the Russians. I do not know what good that did. During the summers I would hear those sirens go off at different times during the week and there was no Russian atomic attack.
I was living in the Park Place area in 1966. We Catholics have something called Catechism. It is basically Sunday School, but for us it was on Saturday. One morning in Catechism, we talked about atheistic Communism. My teacher showed us a map of the spread of Communism all over the world. It was one of the most scary things that I can remember from my childhood. I was petrified at the thought of being taken over by the Soviets and forced to give up church and God. I would say my prayers at night asking that God not let us get blown up by those Godless Russians.
The 1980s were not much better. During this time Cuba was getting a lot of support from the USSR and thumbing its nose at the USA. With the USSR’s help, Cuba helped spread Communism to Latin America and Africa. Our politicians said that we must stop the spread of Communism to our South or there will be a “Domino Effect”. So, since Congress did not authorize a war, we could only send CIA military advisers. Yeah. Right!?!?
In 1980, President Reagan won the presidential office and his pledge was to get tough on Communism. The press labeled him “Ronbo”. The USA became known as a nation that depended on “gunboat diplomacy”. The USA still sent aid to struggling Democracies, but without the authorization from Congress. How would that be funded? Enter Oliver North and the Iran Contra Scandal. Iran Contra opens up a whole new can of worms and we will not elaborate on that for now.
in the 1980s, we got a new Polish Pope, John Paul II. Around 1984, Poland started pushing for freedom from the Iron Curtain. By, 1990, Communism was pretty much neutralized. Seems like at the blink of an eye, it was all over. The USA touted the defeat of the USSR to Ronald Reagan and his famous policies like “Peace through Strength”, and “Trust but Verify”. Personally, I think it was the Polish Pope that did it because no doubt Poland got hope from having their man in the Big House.
Unbelievably, some in the Catholic Church during the 1990s were saying that the fall of Communism was a bluff: “Don’t believe it”. Somehow it was supposed to be the next phase of the Marxist plan. Sometimes I wonder if they were right?
In the early 1980s, I attended college in Iowa with a lot of Chicago kids. In the late 1990s, I lived in Chicago; and unfortunately, met a disturbing amount of people who said that they participated in the Chicago riots of 1968 and were part of groups that were responsible for harassing the government with stuff like flooding emergencies lines with prank phone calls. While living in the Northern States, I heard for the first time boasts for atheism and sympathy for Communist Ideology. That would never happen in Texas during my childhood – you could get beat up for that.
I am a Catholic, but I attended a Methodist college; so, I never studied Catholic theology formally. Instead, I studied Protestant theology. While in Iowa, I was taught some pretty radical Christianity. I am referring specifically to these books as examples: “A Theology For The Social Gospel” and “Honest To God”. The first one is basically The Communist Manifesto masquerading as theology. The second is a wrecking ball to established Christianity. It uses word games to confuse the basic tenets of Christianity; things like The Ascension, Immaculate Conception, Crucifixion, Atonement, and the God-Man. What does “descend into Hell” really mean? Stuff like that. Other disturbing writers were Paul Tillich and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was not so bad, I kinda like him. My point is that taking this class was more likely to make you an atheist rather than a better Christian.
It was pretty well accepted in Texas during the 1960s and 1970s that Communism was being spread in our colleges and universities. I believed it then, and I believe it now. Where did all that rioting and social disruption come from that I mentioned at the top of this article? Well, I think it was Communist indoctrination and I do not believe the Cold War is over.
In the next article, I will talk more about how Communist ideas were quietly spread throughout this nation for decades.