Monday, November 28, 2016

Viva La Libertad

Death to Tyrants

I just had to make a post about the death of Fidel Castro this past weekend. I am postponing my more formal thoughts on the Presidential election results, but still eventually plan to get around to that. I just want to wait for a couple more aspects of the Transition to take place, especially as it relates to the impending nomination for Secretary of State, before I offer more complete thoughts. Before the end of the year, I also want to do a lengthy post on the World Champion Chicago Cubs, but that might wait until the dawn of the next baseball season.

Anyways, when I first began this blog, back in August of 2006, one of my very first posts was the news that Fidel Castro, the dictator of Cuba, had taken ill and was temporarily ceding power to his brother Raul. Many of us in America and certainly privately in Cuba as well, hoped that this was the beginning of the end for one of the 20th Century's most brutal tyrants.While his hold on Cuba would largely dissipate after that event, he did manage to live another 10 years, and reached the age of 90. He is gone at last though. El fin. I wanted to note the event.

While it is good that Castro will now face the eternal judgment in death that he avoided in life, all is not well on the island nation 90 miles off the U.S. shores. Raul Castro remains in power, and while relations have certainly changed between this country and Cuba during the Obama years, the cause of freedom, in all areas, especially the right to free and fair elections must never not be demanded. Until that day happens, Cuba will remain under tyrannical Communist oppression. Hopefully one day, just as the death of Fidel took some time, I hope to be able to note that there is truly a Cuba Libre.

Now, there have definitely been some interesting reactions to the death of Fidel Castro that I wanted to touch on, both in America and around the world, as the former leader of Cuba remains an extremely controversial and divisive figure. I guess it is hard for me to understand how anyone could want to go out of their way to find the "good side" of a brutal murderer and terrorists who ruined so many lives and destroyed so many families over such a long period of time.

The statement of outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama was equivocal and weak. He seems more interested in his own legacy than pointing out the truths of all those who have suffered under Castro, and who are now celebrating his death, in Miami and other places. All I can say positive about Obama's statement was that it was nowhere near as bad as the embarrassing gushing released via press release by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. That was perhaps in line with leftists around the world who hold a sick fascination with honoring Castro, but even many in Canada felt it was way overboard. Trudeau embarrassed his office  and his country in a way that might only be equaled by what Donald Trump will do here one day.

Speaking of whom, his hours late "Fidel is dead!" tacky Tweet aside, the President-Elect released a statement about Castro's death that was extremely well-said. Obviously, someone wrote it for him. It was a strong pro-American, and pro-freedom statement though that fit well along strong words issued by other Republicans and Democrats, but mostly Republicans. Of course, I cannot get it out of my head that there is evidence that Trump, as a private citizen, openly sought to violate the U.S. sanctions on Cuba, in order to line his own pockets. He was not caring much about those languishing under Castro's brutality at the time.

So, the reactions were quite mixed and interesting. The passing of Fidel Castro would be a great opportunity for people to examine their worldviews and their values and to think about what freedom and liberty really mean.

Those on the left, in America and around the world, who profess fear that Donald Trump will become a dictator but at the same time heap praise on the Castro legacy are pure hypocrites.

There are many reasons why there it is highly unlikely that Trump will ever be close to a Castro. I feel that is obvious to state. However, the same people who rightly denounce Castro and his assaults on freedom and liberty but see nothing at all troubling about Trump, the forces that led to his election, and aspects of his persona and appeal are also kidding themselves.

Donald Trump may turn out to be a horrible President, but I am practically certain he will never be a brutal dictator.  I have gotten the sense that though if he could get away with it, he might. Castro had his infamous firing squads in Cuba. Trump simply muses during a campaign about how he could shoot people in the head and get away with it. The incoming President of the United States has also of course expressed his profound respect and admiration for Vladimir Putin and other tyrants in recent and not so recent history.

While there might be similarities, there are of course vast differences that comfort me as an American. We have free and fair elections for one, and a free press, even when they might prove to be inconvenient to some. We also have term limits and checks and balances and a long tradition of Americans willing to speak up unabashedly for freedom, including the need to extend it to those who were not enjoying enough of it as part of their G-d given rights as Americans. We also of course have freedom of religion in America.

Again, I hope one day the people of Cuba, as well as those living in tyrannical regimes all around the world one day know the freedoms that Americans enjoy. For people of all lands though, including ours, it will always be necessary to keep an eye on those in power and to guard our rights and our liberties above all else. Freedom and liberty must always prevail over tyranny and authoritarianism, in any form.