Just as a leopard cannot change its spots, nor a zebra its stripes, an organization whose founder admired the “ideals” of the hammer and sickle can never really abandon those destructive beginnings.
More than a quarter-century after his death, the “legacy” of American Civil Liberties Union founder Roger Baldwin – a self-professed fan of Soviet communism and of Joseph Stalin – is still going strong. With the collapse of the Soviet empire, current ACLU leaders have thrown more of their support to one of the last remaining bastions of the Soviet ideal: Cuba.
In 2005, for example, the ACLU endorsed an amendment lifting the ban on tourist travel to Cuba – a long-distance slap in the face to Cubans, who now watch foreign tourists feed corruption, pesos and dollars to the Communist machine, while they themselves are stripped of nearly all human rights. The insult was multiplied a year later, when the ACLU demanded an end to bans on academic travel, so scholars could lend their support to the regime.
But ACLU leaders are as eager to export Cuban communism as they are to import American tourist dollars. Last week, the ACLU was in federal court, arguing that a Miami-Dade County school board broke the law by removing from its school libraries a book entitled Vamos a Cuba (Let’s Visit Cuba), which offers a strangely luminous view of life in Castro’s island “paradise.” A federal judge has already ruled that the book be returned to the shelves until the case can play out in court.
The school board’s beef isn’t with what is on the pages, but with what isn’t. Parents filed complaints after finding the book to be devoid of any mention of the oppressive regime instituted by Fidel Castro nearly 50 years ago. Instead, its pages are filled with breezy commentaries on how Cubans enjoy chicken with rice (under the country’s subsidized ration plan, the average Cuban is allotted a whopping 8 ounces per month) and boating as a leisure activity (“boating” being a rather ironic term for the fragile, homemade rafts so many launch out onto the ocean, in desperate bids to escape the regime).The book’s cover, available in both English and Spanish versions, is adorned with beaming children dressed in the uniform of the Pioneers, the Communist youth organization that Cuban children are required to join. They look like Cuban Bobbsey Twins.
Obviously, the Miami children targeted for this book have never been told that questioning the Cuban government is likely to lead to imprisonment … that milk is far too expensive for most on the island to purchase … that access to everyday activities like surfing the Internet is not only severely limited, but closely monitored by the government for any shred of dissent against Castro and his cronies.
Absent from the pages of Vamos a Cuba is any mention of the ruthless 20-year prison sentences levied on Cuban poets and journalists and priests who failed to fawn over their fearless leader. Instead, the book depicts Cubans as living as freely as they please.
Incredibly, the ACLU claims that removal of these fictions somehow violates students’ constitutional rights to “access of information.” That’s right: your kids have a constitutional right to absorb misinformation. If a pro-Communist wants to lie about the impact of the Party on the people, your tax dollars should encourage children to read those lies.
Of course, this same “right to access” doesn’t apply to information that the ACLU’s intolerant agenda deems misleading. They’re not nearly as interested in allowing both evolution and intelligent design to be discussed in science classes, or in letting a student who disagrees with homosexual behavior present his views openly and peacefully to a fellow student. It’s doubtful that a biography stressing John Paul II’s resistance to Communism, a children’s book stressing the importance of having both a mommy and a daddy, or, of course, a revisionist view of the impact of the ACLU would make the organization’s suggested reading list for Florida public schools – or the subject of an ACLU lawsuit to protect children’s “access.”
And yet blocking the truth isn’t enough. The ACLU chooses clients who want to replace factual information with lies, like the blatant misrepresentations of Cuban life in Vamos a Cuba. In its determination to keep a book so ridiculously backward on the shelves, the ACLU is clearly bent on a mission of disinformation.
But then, it would have to be, to promote the current Cuban regime. Cuba’s own Constitution declares that: "Citizens have freedom of speech and of the press in keeping with the objectives of socialist society.” Translation: Toe the party line, fellow Cubans, or face the consequences.
Perhaps the book should be retitled, Vamos a Prisión.