I have seen the future and ran away.
At first the move to America from the former USSR made me feel as though I had made a jump in time, from the stagnant depraved past into a distant dynamic future.
There was an abundance of commonly available futuristic contraptions, machines, and appliances that made everyday existence easier and more enjoyable. Less obvious but just as exciting was the media’s openness: I no longer needed to read between the lines to know what was happening.
Most importantly, there was honesty, dignity, and respect in relations among people.
Today I’m feeling like a time traveler again.
Only this time the productive, honest and self-reliant America is vanishing in the past, as we are quickly approaching the all too familiar future.
It is the future of equal poverty, one-party rule, media mooching, government looting, bureaucratic corruption, rigged elections, underground literature, half-whispered jokes, and the useful habit of looking over your shoulder.
It was nice living in America before it changed the course and followed Obama’s direction “Forward,” which, according to my compass, is pointing backward.
All of a sudden I find myself playing the role of a comrade from the future, helping my new compatriots to navigate the quagmire ahead of us.
First of all: I’m not going to diminish what Oleg went through by pretending that I came from the same thing. I came from socialism, yes, but it was the “gentle, velvet-fisted” kind. No threats of Gulags, just the prospect of limited choices, endless nannying by the government and the knowledge that it would always be the same because, let’s face it, you’re just a dumb citizen who doesn’t know what’s good for him so let us take care of you. Forever.
But I do see the unraveling of the amazing, at times even confusing and somewhat frightening (but liberating) freedom of coming to these shores, everything that made me immediately fall in love with this country that I can now call my own. I remember the standard response to any idea that might have popped up in my head when I first got here, ideas about what I’d like to do, what would be truly amazing, stuff I’d always wanted to do but the opportunities just weren’t ever there. Ideas that would always be met, where I come from, with mostly “something wrong with where you are?” or “sure, sounds nice, but what if it doesn’t work?” or even the more malicious socialist version, “you think you’re special? What makes you think that you should have what others can’t have?”
The standard response in America That Was was “why don’t you go for it?”
I remember seeing grocery stores loaded with more choices that I could comprehend, I remember seeing a hospital bed that wasn’t something that looked like a bus stop with 4 patients crammed to a room and wondering “what? This is a hospital? I’ve slept in hotels that were worse than this place!” I remember being asked when I’d like a minor surgery scheduled and almost falling out of my chair when I was told I could have it done the same week. Out-patient. Covered by insurance. And if the morning didn’t suit me, we could do it in the afternoon.
What? No 8 month waiting list? No mandatory assignment to when there was a slot open, pending last minute changes of course. You mean to say I can choose which facility and even which surgeon is to operate on me? Are you KIDDING ME?
And all of that is going away, thanks to imbeciles who vote for who they think will give them enough “free” goodies, which will end up exactly how it has ended up every single other place in the world it’s been tried. And what makes it even worse for me, personally, is that as I’m seeing that my native country is realizing the error of those ways and moving in the direction of what the U.S. used to be, with freedom and choice, the U.S. is moving backwards into the failed models of the past, hell bent and determined on repeating the mistakes of thousands of years’ worth of idiots before them.
It’s like I’m caught on the set of Groundhog Day, only it’s for real this time.
Worse, still, it’s like I’m watching a disaster unfold and I’m screaming at the top of my lungs what has to be done to stop it, but no sound appears to be coming from my mouth.
I’m running from a monster in my dreams, but my legs refuse to move.
I’ve seen this movie before. I’ve seen it a hundred times before. I know what will happen, I know how it will end but, unlike those movies where you almost yell at the screen for the protagonist to not, for the love of G-d, open that door, I’m actually HERE, I’m IN the damn movie, finally able to yell at the real, live characters, but either they’re deaf or my vocal chords have been paralyzed.
So all I can do is to watch, helplessly, as they open the door and get torn apart by a giant, bloodthirsty monster. And I know that I’m next on the menu.
Dear America, I tried to tell you that there was a monster behind that door. You wouldn’t listen. I’ll be damned if I’ll let it eat me too.
And anybody else who doesn’t want to be eaten form up behind me or alongside me. Form up ahead of me if you like, I’ll follow if you have a plan.
We’ve got some monster killing to do. And yes, I DO mean killing. Because I’m tired of this shit repeating itself over and over again.
Kill a socialist. You’ll feel better if you do. And it makes the Baby Jesus smile.