A friend and I were talking, and she said she heard a short portion of the Glenn Beck radio show this past week. He took a caller who said he had come to America from the Soviet Union, and I asked if the Russian guy's name was Boris. She thought it might have been.
I asked that, because last week I also heard a Russian guy who immigrated to America from the Soviet Union. The guy I heard on Hugh Hewitt's radio show was named Boris, and he lives in Cleveland. My friend said her Boris is in Miami.
After Hugh asked Cleveland Boris if his wife's name is Natasha (it's not), Boris said that Obama and the Democrats are remaking America in the Soviet image. According to my friend, Miami Boris said the same thing.
My friend and I were discussing the Borises on our way to a meeting where we'd be seeing at least half of a Russian couple who came to America in 1979. Briefly, this is their story:
They met in Moscow, talked for a long time, and really liked each other. He asked her out, and then he stood her up. A few months later, they saw each other again on public transportation, talked some more, he asked her out, and this time he showed up for the date and impressed her parents by bringing a basket of fresh fruit in the middle of winter. They got married and had to live with one of their grandmothers, because in the Soviet Union, they weren't allowed to have their own place, even though he had a cushy, important job that gave him access to fresh fruit in the winter.
At his job as an engineer, he got to work around 10:00 am, shuffled papers until 11:00, went to lunch until 1:00, when he locked his office door and listened to the Voice of America broadcast until 2:00, and then at 3:00, he decided he'd worked enough for the day, so he went home. Because of his important engineering job, his boss, who liked him, got him a deferment from mandatory service in the Soviet military.
It wasn't what you knew that counted in the Soviet Union, but who you knew, what they had to offer, and what you had to offer in trade. He had access to airplane tickets, which is how he got the fresh fruit from someone who had access to that.
After listening religiously to the Voice of America broadcast every day, he eventually decided he wanted to go to America. He told his wife, who was horrified, but he said he was going with or without her.
It doesn't seem like much to us to decide to move somewhere, but in the Soviet Union, any defection reflected badly, VERY badly, on the people around them. His boss would be damaged goods and would likely lose his job. His wife's father was high up in the Communist Party, and it would be bad enough that his son-in-law was going to America--they could salvage the situation if she divorced her husband and stayed behind--but for the both of them to go to America would destroy her dad's position.
Her mom advised her to stay, because you can always get a new husband, but you can't get new parents. But she decided she and their baby would go to America with her husband.
Somehow, through connections and probably luck, he was able to get the documents giving them permission to leave. But in getting them, it signalled to his boss and the rest of the Soviet hierarchy that his heart had turned against his home country. Immediate orders were generated for him to enlist in the Soviet Army and be shipped to Siberia. The small family had to go into hiding, avoiding all family, friends, and acquaintances to keep him from being taken into the Army, while they waited for the paperwork to come through. When the papers were finally ready, they got out of the country with only a few minutes to spare before the travel documents expired.
They had lived under socialism, where the government controls everything, where you are not your own. The choices you make are only those choices allowed you by the government. Everything else is controlled, except the Black Market, and that puts you at risk if you're discovered partaking. We have no concept, here in America, what that's really like. Some on the Left have idealized it, I believe because they envision themselves as the Ruling Party and not as the controlled masses.
On our way back home, my friend told me she had asked the wife what they thought about what's been happening in America under the Obama Administration. She said they're scared. We're sliding quickly into what the Soviet Union used to be, and we as a nation don't see it, because we don't know what to see.
I'm not entirely optimistic (this is me talking here, the woman who was once accused of being Pollyanna). We have November coming, and it may be our last opportunity to stop the slide. But that depends on electing enough Republicans to be able to overturn the Obama takeover of so much of our nation. And if we manage that, it depends on those Republicans having enough backbone to FINALLY stand up to the Democrats and mean it and to Shut. The. Heck. Up about "my good friend across the aisle." Those words spoken by Republicans between now and January 20, 2013, will signal compromise, the white flag being waved. And that will be closely followed by the hammer-and-sickle being waved in spirit over a once-great nation.
Pray. And vote. And pray some more.