This is what I did to get a stellar education after I attained a terminal degree from a respected institution, the apex of that offered through regular channels.
- Feb 19
- 3 min read
Updated: May 30
Beata and me in the cave, Hannibal, MO. She, her husband Jim and I took a road trip from Iowa City and read Tom Sawyer on the way down; she had never heard of the book.
Beata was a co-worker I helped train, along with Brett when I worked as Assistant Registrar at the University of Iowa Museum of Art. She, young Brett, and I were like the three musketeers, sometimes like the three stooges, and became fast friends as we proceeded around the Museum doing our job. They were both at least 10 years younger than me, but it didn’t matter.
She would say to me in her beautiful Polish accent “Its pronounced Beata, like the Beatitudes.” Only her pronunciation of beatitudes and that of Americans was vastly different. I practiced saying her name until I got close to pronouncing it the way she did: Beh-AH-tah. I loved hearing her tales of growing up.
She told of Soviet tanks rolling down the streets of Cracow where she and her parents lived in an apartment that they eventually left in the 1970s to escape communist Poland. When her Father left Poland to work in France, Beata and her mother were held as State captives until he returned. Eventually a friend of the family, who worked for the communist government arranged for them to leave the country to join her father. They packed their suitcases as if they were leaving for a weekend, left her beloved dog behind to make it convincing, then she and her mother got on a plane ostensibly to visit her father, never to return (or at least not until communism had lost its grip on Poland). Her father, Stefan Niedziałkowski, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF83Vd7lEA0, was working with Marcell Marceauu a celebrated French mime who was a regular on the Ed Sullivan Show – the same venue that helped make the Beatles famous. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0545131/bio
Beata related to me that they were unsure until they actually touched down in France if they would end up there or in Siberia.
I met Beata’s parents in 1991 after the Berlin Wall came down. They were again living in Poland, but came back to the US for the summer to make money any way they could. Her Father worked de-tasseling corn in the fields of Iowa and her Mother worked at Walgreens. They lived with Beata, her husband, Jim, and their little silky terrier Ami in a small apartment.
When I consider socialism and communism, it is not from somewhere in my imagination, I have a real person with real experiences to recall. Beata always said “In Poland. . . . ,” and then recounted something brilliant about her country, particularly about the Catholic Church there. I had grown up hearing Polack jokes, now I’d met real ones and was edified.
Poland is one of the most civilized countries in the world. I look to them for wisdom and today I found it once again. According to Deputy Minister of Justice Sebastian Kaleta, Poland has decided to fine big Tech companies large amounts ($13.5 Million), if they dare to censor free speech:
“Advancing the new legislation, Kaleta noted that Poland has spent 45 years under communism—an experience he said has taught it the value of free speech and the need to know when to draw a line amid disturbing new trends toward censorship. . . . We are now increasingly faced with practices we believed were left in the past. The censoring of free speech, once the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is now back, but in a new form, run by corporations, who silence those who think differently.”
I am glad to have met Beta and her family; feel privileged to have done so. They opened my eyes. Uh oh, I feel privileged . . . does that mean I have to confess that to the thought police?
- Oct 3, 2020
- 4 min read
Updated: Oct 7, 2020
Wish I had written this Please read this
I did write something on this subject several months ago and thought of posting it to Facebook (from which after 45 minutes hard digging I permanently deleted my account on the day I retired from my job), but I didn't have the stomach for the backlash I would receive.
For years I participated in glibly finding fault with those with whom I disagreed and demolishing them as people (never to their face, mind you), never bothering to find out what they really thought. I was rather quick witted and enjoyed entertaining my friends with my quips. They loved it. It’s easy to do and makes one feel good, for the moment anyway. However, as I have matured, I’ve tried to stop doing this.
I began to see that people liked to run down people because they liked to feel superior. It took a long time for me to come to grips with this fact because I had been earnest in rising above my humble beginnings and to do so I believed I needed to think this way as well. I was wrong.
Along with this, I believed that Liberals were for the common man and Conservatives were for big business. Some of that was in fact true. But beginning with Bill Clinton it began to occur to me that the Democrats were not much different than the Republicans regarding business. It was Bill who signed us up for globalization with NAFTA and GAT, which marked the end of family farming as we once understood it. I suspect it also marked the beginning of the end for many small businesses. Instead, it created global cartels.
Politically I had been a Liberal until Bill Clinton came along. After that I could not bring myself to vote for any of the candidates. Abortion was the big issue between Democrats and Republicans, with the Democrats promoting it and Republicans paying lip service to change it. Nobody was willing to stick their neck out too far. I waited for a pro-life candidate to clearly say that they were, and do something concrete about it; waited for the Democrats to be for the common person. I waited many years. I stopped voting.
Finally, in 2008, John McCain, a man whom I admired, was nominated to run for President for the Republican party against Barak Obama; I voted. We know how that turned out.
I hate the Marxist axiom “The personal is political,” played out with one’s response to COVID-19, the environment, how many children one has, choice of car one drives, etc., ad nauseum. When people reduce everything to politics, unable to recognize such things as modesty, privacy, a conscience, or heart, nothing is left.
Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump (of all people), were the two candidates we were left with for the 2016 election. It was appalling. How in the world had we come to this? By the Democrats radical social agenda and the Republicans dragging their feet to stop it. Hilary made it crystal clear, as did the Democratic Party that abortion was one of its leading planks – the dismemberment and killing of innocent, unborn children, was a “right” that would not be denied in America and we were hell bent on tying foreign aid to the adoption of the same. Donald Trump said what he thought and didn’t care about backlash. I disliked (to put it mildly), both candidates, but I believed that the time had come that I had to vote, even though I had no one I really wanted to vote for. I could not remain silent in the face of ever stronger identity politics and the killings, now being pushed abroad.
Shaking my head in disbelief over what I was about to do, I prepared to vote for Donald Trump. How could this be; I found him so vulgar? But the alternative was to vote for someone who had no respect for us, the Deplorables, no respect for life, and who vowed to take that policy around the world and force it on smaller, weaker countries, should she be elected. Besides, she and the media were so smug. So, on election day, I held my nose and voted; not for someone, but rather against something worse.
There has been no way to discuss this with a leftist since. At one point, shortly after the election, while I was at the break table at the university for which I worked, with a group who assumed everyone there would have voted for Hilary and shared their complete disgust with anyone who had not, I suggested that perhaps there was a reason someone might have voted for Trump. I was shouted down. When I got up to leave, I was accused of not wanting to discuss the issue, but when I sat back down the hue and cry began again as everyone got up to leave. I never got a chance to say why I thought that might be the case. Only a bigoted idiot would think that, and nobody wanted to hear from her! I have no idea if anyone there agreed with me, they knew better than to say so.
That is why I voted for Trump. This year I’m voting for Trump because I am impressed with what he has done:
· Nominated Federal Judges to uphold, not dictate the constitution
· Forced China to stop taking advantage of the United States in trade
· Ended the war with ISIS
· Ended the terrible deal Obama made with Iran
· Made numerous positive Executive moves to oppose abortion
· Re-negotiated NAFTA
I am humbled by my past assumptions.
I pray for his fast and complete recovery from the COVID-19.