“I am for socialism, disarmament, and ultimately for abolishing the state itself as an instrument of violence and compulsion,” wrote one particularly ambitious contributor in his 1935 Harvard 30th anniversary classbook. “I seek social ownership of all property, the abolition of the propertied class, and sole control by those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.”
Seventy-two years later, the American Civil Liberties Union still abides by those words – penned by its founder, Roger Baldwin, who, incidentally, also said that advancing “civil liberties” in countries like the Soviet Union or its satellite nations really wasn’t all that important.
Happily, most of those nations have come around to a different viewpoint. But while the rotten tree of communism has fallen around the world, there remains one last stubborn root not far from the coast of Florida: Fidel Castro’s Cuba.
Cuba remains the ACLU’s “Fantasy Island,” where – to hear them tell it – happy Marxist children play together in perfect harmony, and the state makes sure its citizens are cared for from cradle to grave.
At least that’s the glorious depiction in a book titled Vamos a Cuba (“Let’s Visit Cuba”) that the ACLU wanted to keep on the bookshelves of a Florida school. The book makes the communist state sound like a trip to DisneyWorld. But as it did on the TV show Fantasy Island, illusion in Cuba quickly gives way to harsh reality.
While the book is filled with commentaries on how Cubans enjoy chicken with rice, it neglects to mention that, under the country’s subsidized ration plan, the average Cuban is allowed only 8 ounces per month. Cubans are shown “boating,” but “boating” for most Cubans means trying to escape from the repressive regime on fragile, homemade rafts.
And mysteriously missing is any mention of the 20-year prison sentences handed out to Cuban poets, journalists, and priests who don’t fall on their knees and worship the communist regime.
When a Cuban-American parent who had escaped political imprisonment in Castro’s “utopia” expressed his concern that the book only showed the Cuba its communist leaders wanted children to see, the Miami-Dade County school board evaluated the book and agreed. They pulled the book from its school libraries. That’s when the ACLU – always eager to preserve delusion – got involved and sued the school district.
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.