I remember hearing this threat or words just as scary said by a heavy-set man in an ill-fitting suit. He was speaking in a combination of bad English and gruff, guttural Russian. I was a little girl living with my parents and my brother in a rented apartment in a small town in Virginia. Since both of my parents worked at jobs away from home, watching the nightly news on our first television set was an every night ritual that we all waited eagerly for. The apartment was small enough that the volume could be turned loud enough for all of us to hear it, even though my mother was cooking in the kitchen and my brother and I were doing our homework at the kitchen table.
Khrushchev was visiting the United States on a trip to learn more about our agriculture methods and other systems, which he dissed, of course. He seriously, emphatically did not like capitalism and he did not like or respect the American people.
This was shocking to my eight-year-old sheltered views of, well, life as it’s supposed to be, I guess. He scared me the most, I think now, because he stripped me of my childish illusions that everybody loved us, and that the United States was perfect.
His full name was Nikita Khrushchev. He was the leader of the Soviet Union during what was known as the Khrushchev Era, from 1953 to 1964. He was also the leader of the USSR’s Communist Party. He thought the Communist system of government was so far superior to capitalism that Communism would defeat capitalism without even a need for the combat of war between countries.
Although many of the quotes attributed to Khrushchev have now been debunked, enough remain to reinforce the message he trumpeted again and again, that the Communists would ultimately triumph and dominate the world.
Russians apparently have long memories
Much has changed since I was a little girl watching the evening news on our console black-and-white television in the living room of our small apartment. But that sense of fear has attached itself to me again, back after all these years since my childhood in the 1950s.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) no longer exists, but the power center of that group of countries still exists as Russia, the angry remnant of the USSR. Russia is now led by Vladimir Putin, the former head of that country’s intelligence service and a master strategist.
The sense of fear that has resurrected itself in me does not stem from fear of Putin. I fear that our President, Donald Trump, the current President of the United States, is either being duped by masterful Putin, or that Putin knows damaging information about President Trump personally or his family.
My worst fear is that Trump actually is the self-centered narcissist that he appears to be, and that he doesn’t care what happens to our country. He may be fit the description of a sociopath, who is a person unable to see or relate to anyone or anything other than himself (and his immediate family, in this case).
That sounds melodramatic and as silly as many of the conspiracy theories currently so popular. But, isn’t it true that Trump has publicly stated that he believes Putin more than he does the US military and other security forces? If you’re still with me, you already know about Trump’s actions that favor Russia more than this country.
Standing up to bullies
As I watch the evening news on my computer or television screen now, my stomach muscles tighten and I feel my entire body tense up when more news stories prove that Russia is once again threatening the United States. But this time we seem to be giving up our identity and our rights without even a whimper, much less a bang (with acknowledgement to T. S. Eliot).
I’ve learned several major life lessons in the many years since my family and I watched scary Nikita Khrushchev on a tiny black-and-white TV screen while my mother fixed hamburgers and fried potatoes in our small kitchen, and my brother and I sat silent, surprised at what he was saying. I remember my father making some comments back to the TV, but I can’t remember which specific curse words he hurled toward the screen.
One of my life lessons learned is to stand up to bullies. Another is to use the energy of fear to propel action toward solving the problem.
I plan to not only vote for whichever Democratic candidate is selected to run against Donald Trump, but also to volunteer to assist in any way I can to help win the 2020 election for the Democrats, and for all of us Americans.
We must stop Donald Trump from being the Trojan Horse that lets Russia succeed in their threat from more than 60 years ago. We must never let Russia or any other country or group defeat us from within, or in any other way.
I would love to hear your comments and ideas on how we as citizens can help elect a President in 2020 who truly loves our country and all of us, whether we’re citizens or not.
Let me hear from you in the comments section below or join my virtual neighborhood