[No kidding, if this one doesn’t make you cheer, weep or both, you may be a crappy American. Most bookstore owners lean Left, it’s just an occupational hazard. Not this one. Craig Maxwell, owner of Maxwell’s House of Books, is angry about beloved commie singer Pete Seeger’s undue respect at the hands of the latte set, and he tells the San Diego Union Tribune why right here. You don’t need the context, it all falls together as you read.]
Recently, I criticized the San Diego Unified School Board for their undue apology to folk-singer/inveterate Marxist Pete Seeger. And though I knew this would upset some of his die-hard leftist fans, I never guessed that a subsequently written defense (“Thanks, Pete Seeger, for guarding freedoms” Christopher Glenn, San Diego Union Tribune, 3/14/09) would so perfectly illustrate the moral blindness and hypocrisy I had described.
Mr. Glenn is impressed with Seeger’s invocation of he First Amendment while under interrogation by the House Un-American Activities Committee. But this ostensibly principled stand looks very different when viewed against the backdrop of historical fact and the brutality of Seeger’s ideology and political affiliations. For instance, has Mr. Glenn ever considered the irony (not to mention the cowardice) of a committed communist shielding himself from prosecution with the rights afforded to him by the most free, democratic, and decidedly anti-communist nation in the world? Or, has he ever considered just how Seeger would have been received behind the Iron Curtain had he been protesting their policies and form of government? Or again, in stark contrast to what Glenn writes about Seeger’s supposedly patriotic support of WWII, has he ever considered the unsavory fact that Seeger at first strenuously opposed our involvement in the war; opposed it, that is, after Stalin and Hitler signed their 1939 Non-Aggression Pact (since our fight against Hitler would have then also been a fight against his beloved USSR)? At that time he sang:
Franklin D, listen to me,
You ain’t a-gonna send me ‘cross the sea.
You may say it’s for defense
That kinda talk ain’t got no sense.
And, in fact, it was only after Hitler violated his unholy alliance and invaded Stalin’s equally hellish prison-camp nation that Seeger changed his tune. Then he sang out for FDR to rescue his besieged ideological ally, “Uncle Joe”:
Now, Mr President
You’re commander-in-chief of our armed forces
The ships and the planes and the tanks and the horses
I guess you know best just where I can fight …
So what I want is you to give me a gun
So we can hurry up and get the job done!
However ambivalent Seeger may have been about Hitler, he and his fellow-traveling minstrels always knew where they stood with the mass murdering Marxist du jour, and over the years his songs of sympathy went out to everyone from Stalin, Mao and Castro, to Ho Chi Min and Daniel Ortega. Yet all the while, real heroes and victims of world communism went unsung.
Not for these–the tens of millions who perished in the gulags and enforced famines; those to whom Alexander Solzhenitsyn dedicated his great work, The Gulag Archipelago, and from whom he begged forgiveness in the preface, “…for not having seen it all nor remembered it all, for not having divined it all…”– not for these countless souls did Seeger ever write a song or pluck a single note.
Fortunately for us, communism is dead. But its legacy of contempt for the West lives on the in the hearts and minds of several generations who were shown only its Potemkin Villages by sympathetic teachers and professors. And now these former students are not only our teachers, they are our lawyers, our judges, politicians, journalists, directors and other molders of public opinion. Some of them hold the highest offices in the land, and no better proof of their moral confusion could be given than their inaugural invitation to Pete Seeger.
Craig S. Maxwell
Maxwell’s House of Books