Among my many obsessions, which include shoes, scooters, convertibles and dive bar rock shows, is MST3K. For those unfamiliar, it's a show from Minnesota where puppets make fun of bad movies. Trust me. It's good.
Well, I have taken to ordering DVDs of the show from eBay, and sometimes the people who sell them (people far more obsessed than I) will throw in extra goodies with your order. I have a couple DVDs of bizarre 1950s and 1960s sex ed shorts as well as several short films produced by the U.S. Government that detail the threat of communism.
Well, I'd never really watched the Red threat ones until earlier this week, and I have to say it was an eye opener. Although the main thrust of these vignettes seem to be that communism means death to individuality, there is also the tangle of bureaucracy so feared by Americans in general. A permit to make a phone call? A permit to send mail? Communism is damned inconvenient!
But here's something else- Baby Boomers were raised on this kind of attitude. They were raised that the biggest threat to freedom, justice and the American way was a society in which all of your actions are monitored, all of your beliefs homogenized, all of your individuality stifled.
And yet, they- and what's more, their parents- are the very kinds of Americans that are defending the actions of a government that spies on its own people, stifles dissent, and manufactures propaganda.
How did this happen? How did we go from our fear of the commie "other" to our acceptance of facist tactics? How did the fear of terrorism become so pervasive that it overtook our fear of losing the so-called "American Way?"