THE BURNED NEWSPAPER ARTICLE THAT NEVER WAS... A TRUE STORY
When Communists, Anarchists, Nihilists and Socialists (CANS) were in the process of taking over this country, it felt like the Good God had placed your grandmother smack in the middle of the fight. She wasn’t looking for one. She had a lot on her plate, caring for your aunts and uncle. Providence put her in the thick of things. As she muddled her way through chaos, she was essentially isolated and totally dependent on heaven’s help. Floundering in a secular world, without allies, she was effective only in small ways, or so it seemed.
Your grandmother belonged to an exclusive and well regarded group of "ONE," one voice, that is. As the song goes, she was “singing” in the darkness at a time when our Nation's young men, and a few good women, were fighting a more virulent form of that darkness in Vietnam. The nation was divided by darkened souls many of whom spat on troops returning home from a horrific war. Your grandmother to this day remembers their unconscionable disrespect with remorse because of her inability to help.
In 1968, opportunity allowed her to give voice to a sense of outrage, as she sat in a political science class listening to a Latin American revolutionary. She wrote a commentary for the Sporadic, the newspaper published by students attending the college. Few read the editorial. The reason? A group of radicals confiscated all but a handful of the copies and burned them as Hitler did, many years before. This was a newspaper burning communist-style: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4_j4c7Bop0
Your grandmother was asked why she wrote the article that stimulated such wrath. She simply replied, "It was the thing to do." Was she afraid? "No."
Take note of the newspaper article’s headline: "Speaker Lashes U.S., Student's Just Laugh." Sound familiar? Isn't that how many dismiss evil in this country? People laugh as citizens try to do the right thing. Facts are laughingly dismissed as bullies (propagandists) grab power.
Ironic, isn't it, that reasonable men and women are reviled and found laughable. The Revolutionary who addressed a classroom of freshmen students in 1968, at a community college, followed a prescribed format that we see today. Presidents Clinton and Obama et al., avail themselves of the same strategies briefly outlined in your grandmother’s call-out commentary, in that terrible year.
A sentinel’s watchfulness was needed then and remains a necessity for our times. Then, it seemed as if God had turned his back on the Nation that He had blessed with abundance, and from which He expected much in return. It is no different today.
This letter will be finished in parts so that you can give it your time and thought. For now, carefully read the article. It was written for each of you, long before you were born.
The publication followed by the burning of your grandmother's article was not the end but the beginning of a conflict that would continue for awhile.
As she entered her classroom, the day her article was to appear in the campus paper, SL was told that a bonfire had been held. The fuel? The Sporadic, the community college newspaper. The bearer of the bad news that day was Mr. Swibach, her poly-sci instructor and the campuses SDS sponsor, who entertained every malcontent in the state.
Swibach took malignant delight in reporting the bonfire, enough to suggest that he played a role in it. A narcisisstic superiority veiled his countenance as arrogance found its way into a smirk. Would she respond? shake? whimper? lose control? He was attempting to find a weak spot into which he could more deeply thrust malevolent barbs.
If he couldn't make her bleed, he could humiliate the one person whose voice was raised against him. She remained silent, thinking it curious that the long-hair-hippies in the room laughed at Swibach's remarks, just as they did when the Latin revolutionary spoke. SL noticed that they were enjoying the workover. "Cowards, she thought.
"I'ts too bad no one got to read your article. It was pretty good," Swibach was still looking for an opportuntiy to escalate his state of euphoria. His SDS malfactors laughed on cue. SL turned in her seat, leaned forward and took a long look at her tormentors. Her daughters used to say that look could terrify. "You think I lost something today. But it was you that lost your right to free speech. I exercised mine." Bodies moved uncomfortably in their seats as quiet overtook Swibach and his useful "worms" as he later called them. She had delivered a kind of coup d' e'tat - words failed them.
Suddenly a voice to her right arose. "Mr. Swibach, if she hadn't been here I would have bought you, but I don't now." Swibach had won a battle. He obviously played an advisory role in overseeing the destruction of one issue of the college newspaper, but SL's voice was joined with another and maybe another. She would never know, but that wasn't the point. Evil does exist when good ... do nothing, and SL was determined to do all she could to counter deception.
SL would never see her special article published for all to read on campus that year. A few copies of the newspaper were saved, however. SDS lackies had broken into the journalism office and took everything after painting epithets on the office door. As if by fate's design, the paper's sponsor, Mr. Neelson, had, as a second thought, placed extra copies in his car. SL would get two of them as a momento of an historical touch-point.
One might think that SL would destain her instructor and tormentor. She had been formed in the ideals of the Franciscans and hateful thoughts were out. Instead, thoughts of revenge were placed in some far off place meant to house deformed souls. SL pitied the man and looked upon him as mentally ill. She didn't hate Swibach, but he was her enemy and she would by the grace of God push back or outsmart whenever possible.
SL was about to learn, again, as she had when she worked in the early days of the civil rights movement, that freedom rquired vigilance at home and abroad. There were more prices to be paid for exercising hers.
Having previouly worked in the Democrat Party's political circles, she knew how easily people are corrupted by power, and she was determined not to become a twisted soul, like the bully that taught her poly-sci class. The resistance between the radical Swibach and herself was both temporal and spiritual. She wondered if he realized that.
To be continued.
Your parents were kids when your grandmother was exposed to attempted brainwashing and intimidation. If you ask them, they each have their own story to tell as she was exposed to threats, and the family as a whole was left to share in the madness that surrounded them.
The day after the college journalism office was compromised and the newspapers were burned, mysterious phone hang-ups created a sense of danger. SL had experienced similar harassment when she worked on the “Archbishop’s Committee for Human Relations.”
In the event that she encountered danger, friends placed a tube, tear-gas-trigger-device in her hands. There was a question of legality and effectiveness, so she stored it in a safe place at home. SL was on her own and completely unprotected, as were her children.
The question arose: how much danger was there? SL’s mind revisited the moment when she met with the newspaper’s sponsor and editor. Initially they met to discuss the damaged journalism office. Quickly, their thoughts moved to more dire circumstantial evidence.
SL was slowly pressured to back-off any further expose` reporting. The word came down that the staff was to write strictly about student interests, or the paper might be cancelled. It wasn’t clear if a high authority had made the directive, or the final decision was made by their journalism instructor.
SL suspected that Mr. Weldon had been pressured. No inexperienced novice, he had written for Stars and Stripes and had traveled extensively in the course of his work. He dejectedly disclosed that he had encountered communism in Europe and was stunned that in 1968 he was witnessing the loss of protected rights on a small community college campus in the United States.
SL felt heaviness envelop her as if contagious, tentacles of gloom momentarily immobilized the small group of three, as they silently attempted to measure the ferocity and likely outcomes of the vile events that had been recently thrust upon them.
The three silently glanced at each other as they seemed in unison to weigh the merits of Mr. Weldon’s words. Things had changed. He had encountered virulent communism elsewhere, in places far removed from free America. This was something else….
SL surmised he was shocked by the discovery that militant, radicalized communists didn’t reside only in far-off places or leftist universities. Was he just now realizing that they were also embedded in the heart of blue-collar America?
Mr. Weldon’s measured words left SL with mixed feelings of anger and a sense of determination. She had supported the Domino Theory that soviet inspired communism would cause helpless, poor countries to fall like dominos, as it pursued its lust for world conquest and a Marxist-Socialist, One World Order.
The idea of being targeted as a slave for an atheistic world government was naturally repugnant. She remembered the Cardinal Mindszenty trial and communist barbarism that in many ways had outweighed the horrors of Nazism. Her mind perused a catalog of historical events and searched for safe harbor, but could find none.
For the first time she entertained the possibility that while we supposedly were fighting to win in Vietnam, our country’s soft-on-socialism liberals were prepared to accept a truce, rather than a victory. In shorthand: “Better Red than Dead,” had seemingly won out over: “Better dead than Red.”
Far from being cowed by emerging events, she wanted to write that the enemy wasn’t just now coming. More accurately, an army of American misfits had long been serving a foreign power with one aim in mind: the destruction of the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.
Momentarily stunned, SL realized that with the failed publication of her minor news article, she had inadvertently uncovered a pit of vipers, and there was little she could do to fend off the coming assault.
To be continued
It wasn’t long before your grandmother’s trial by harassment started. It began with inane attempts to remind her that freedom of speech was tenuous at best and there was a price for its responsible exercise. For starters, the harassment vehicles were intimidation and symbolic acts. Names have been changed for obvious reasons.
[S]hortly after her meeting with the Sporadic leadership, SL was summoned to report to the social studies department, where she was to meet with its department head, Mr. Atlas. The note was coincidently delivered by messenger at, of all places, Mr. Swibach’s class. Swibach, who was never good at effective disguises, smirked as he handed her the message.
It was becoming clear that the hallowed halls of learning were rumbling about her bold article. She wondered about the stranger, Mr. Atlas. As she walked to the forum where apostates were evidently punished, SL moved from the mindset of student to irate tax-payer.
There was an unanswered question that had not been settled in her mind: if the newspapers had been confiscated and burned, why was Mr. Weldon silent and sitting on a good story? It was as if the whole thing hadn’t happened. In her mind’s eye, she was seeing the effects of a cover-up.
Mr. Atlas was unfriendly as he ushered in the offending student, who had the audacity to lift the scab from Swibach’s “sore-wounded” political science class. Once he established a preliminary exchange, Atlas launched into an informal, interrogatory inquisition.
Atlas rhetorically asked SL what business she had in presenting herself as a “foreign affairs expert.” Without waiting for an answer, he made a terminal thrust: “What are your credentials!”
If this was meant to “shock and awe” her, he could have spared himself the time and effort. SL had walked in the company of certified intimidators for the last eight years, as a political activist and a human relations representative. She had left quaking and shaking reactions at the door of Sacred Heart Church, where ten years earlier she had begun her growing-into-womanhood process.
SL calmly looked at the man whose salary she and her neighbors were paying, and replied that she was a homeowner and taxpayer and those were her credentials. Besides, she calmly asserted, she wasn’t aware that one had to be “credentialed” to make reasoned judgments about world events.
Atlas backed down and muttered something about the need to allow all views to be heard on a college campus. SL would have agreed, except she knew first hand that all views were not being presented in her political science class and elsewhere on campus, but she prudently acquiesced to respectful silence.
Having briefly chided SL for her audacious article, Atlas dismissed her with the addendum to stick to news articles which were orientated to “student interests.” As she walked back to class, SL mulled over the use of the phrase, “student interests.” Mr. Weldon had said earlier that they would have to focus on “student interests.”
Obviously, the social studies department held sway on the matter of her pesky article. She wondered, without wishing to probe, if Mr. Melton had suffered a diminishment of his ability to reach personal teaching goals.
SL decided at that moment one should not step foot on a campus until they had lived in the world for at least five years. In her thirties, SL looked on campus life as a kind of extended play pen where human growth was arrested for four years, so as to conditionally mold young-adult minds, rather than form them into truly free, balanced thinkers.
SL hadn’t time to think about the new/old journalism. Time changes all things. She eventually would find ways to redirect the spotlight on the SDS, through “student interest” articles. In an ironic twist of fate, she would later be recalled to the Social Studies department. This time Atlas would ask for her help.
The whole mess irritated SL. The world was going up in flames and the stranger in the social studies department wanted her to write solely about campus life. The irony gripped her heart as she returned to Swibach’s class.
Cryptic Messages through Padlocks and Chains: Campus Terrorists
By now you should be getting the message that college campuses are dangerous places. The lesson here is that opponents plot in shadows. They dislike fair and open engagements. If you speak, be prepared to face your opponent’s wrath with warfare’s rules of engagement. Get, Sun tzu’s, The Art of War.
[M] r. Swibach was silent about the so-called bonfire event, and nothing more was said about SL’s infamous article about a Latin revolutionary. During class, he droned on about all things that interested him. Swibach thought himself to be funny and SL was fascinated by his insatiable need for adulation. The lazy were all too happy to give him kingly status; it meant that they didn’t have to crack a book.
SL wondered how Swibach intended to grade the class. She didn't trust Swibach as she listened to him entertain the unkempt, while chewing on marijuana leaves.
For a while Swibach ignored SL. She soon learned, however, that his unclean followers were still under the direction of their SDS master and they were plotting. It had seemed that things were dying down and SL thought that she might have some peace. She was wrong. She learned to never underestimate an adversary. As she walked to the place where she had parked her car, Sl knew she had unwisely let her guard down. Her car was missing, or so she thought.
SL spotted her missing car sitting in the middle of a driver’s lane. Someone had removed it from its parking space to another isle. Her state of waning calm diminished precipitously. Drawing closer, she could see that the entire car had been enveloped by chains, which were connected by padlocks. SL suddenly realized that her enemies knew more about her than she knew about them, and contacted the campus security police. “Bring chain cutters she told them with an air of irritability.”
The campus guards arrived with metal cutters and laughed at the sight of the small car. Still suffering from the effects of shock, irritability and disgust, SL was not in the mood to chuckle. “I’m concerned that whoever did this may have damaged the transmission, while moving it.” The two men still thought that it was a harmless prank.
They assured her that the car could be moved easily and demonstrated their claim, by lifting and moving it in place. “Small cars are easy to move,” they assured, as they casually waived off the incident as a prank of the Greeks, a campus student group. “If you only knew,” SL said cryptically as she thanked them for their help.
The next day, she discussed the incident with staff and it was arranged that she could park in the teacher’s lot. It was one of many survival maneuvers SL would use to protect herself from Swibach's cohort of SDSers, and their associate malcontents from the outside world of haters.
A sense of danger kept SL’s survival switch in the on position as she wondered what their next move would be. She would soon be tested, again, in a terror face-off, after she wrote two “student-interest” articles that made Swibach’s minions very angry.
To be continued.