The other day I went to Dollar General to buy new underwear. Guess, where it was made: Vietnam. Last fall, I bought a warm jacket at Old Navy. It also came from a factory in Vietnam. OK, so 50,000 young Americans died during the Vietnam War (don’t even insult me calling it a “Conflict”) but now we can do business with them. And it’s a Communist country, with Saigon re-named for the Communist leader Ho Chi Minh. Well, the Vietnam War was over in the early ’70s and there is no need to hold a grudge. We now have diplomatic and business ties with them, and it’s the way it should be after all these years, Communist country and all.
Wait…wait just a cottonpickin’ minute… We also have had relations with the then Soviet Union all during the Cold War. We owe our soul to Communist China, who sends toxic junk for us to buy cheaply at toxic Wal-Mart. And that seems to be OK, because our American companies can make a few extra bucks of profit at the expense of the American worker. But some of our politicians are mighty upset about the Obama Administration’s willingness to finally normalize relations with Cuba.
Never mind that Fidel Castro overthrew one of the most oppressive, brutal and corrupt regimes, led by that Mafia-loving dictator, Fulgencio Batista, in 1959. Since 1961 -that’s 54 years, folks! – we have isolated and ostracized this little island nation. Marco Rubio, born in the US, and Canadian-born Ted Cruz, are 2 of the worst demagogues when it comes to Cuba. They don’t know the first thing about life before and after Batista. They don’t know the first thing about Communism. But they clamor for political points and attention by opposing any relaxation of the Draconian embargo and isolationist policies we put in place FIFTY FOUR YEARS AGO.
Look, I am no friend of Communism. I, unlike these cheap American conservative politicians, actually grew up in a Communist country. The rulers were Communists in name only. The Communist countries were dictatorships, run by dictators. But the best way to overcome these regimes is not to isolate and shun them, but by having meaningful dialogue and interaction with them. That’s not appeasement but, in fact, it is letting their people know us better. Rubio, Cruz and the other sorry lot would be best reminded a quote from Lincoln: “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
It’s time to normalize relations with Cuba. If we could do it with the Vietnamese, with whom we fought one of the nastiest wars in American history, then we can certainly do it with the Cuban people.