Mark Twain often suggested that history doesn’t always repeat itself, “but it does rhyme.” This chronological cadence is particularly true when you note some of the key events in the past century that happened in early November.
November 7, 1917 was when the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, unleashing a still too-often ignored and dismissed era of tyranny and terror (the idea of an “October Revolution” has to do with the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars). Long since discredited by the verdict of history, the ideas that formed the basis of what Ronald Reagan aptly called an “evil empire,” have found new adherents – some in high places in our land. But ignorant neo-Marxists in our midst notwithstanding, the reality of what took place under the czars-of-all-things-Soviet for more than seven decades was horrifying.
Much is rightly made of the atrocities committed by the Nazis in Germany and we are regularly reminded that we must never forget. I agree. But while remembering all the depravity wrought by Hitler and his henchman, why do Communist leaders and regimes so often get a pass these days? Even by conservative accounts, more than 100 million people died via Communist oppression. Yet some apparently feel that the ideas behind the system are somehow still valid. Really?
Fast forward to November 4, 1956, and see Soviet tanks penetrating the Pest side of the Danube in Budapest, Hungary, in their offensive to put down a nationwide revolt against the so-called Peoples Republic of Hungary. Brave patriots sought to wrest control of their nation from the grip of Soviet-style Stalinism.
Meanwhile, America stood sadly down. The great General, who had led the allies to victory 11 years before, sent mixed signals. Freedom fighters were emboldened by what we were saying on Radio Free Europe, but the official policy turned out to be nothing more than impotent ambivalence. Within days, the courageous movement was crushed.
Speaking of the 4th day in November and presidential impotence, let us now move ahead to the year 1979 – the moment Iranian “revolutionaries” seized control of our embassy in Tehran, initiating a 444-day Hell for 52 American hostages. This was the moment when many average Americans first came face to face with the ugly egregiousness of Islamism. Jimmy Carter lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in those days, but his presidency would languish due to lack of foresight, insufficient resolve, and malaise-driven methodology.