Bill Moyers; Richmond, Indiana 1970

I had come in 1962 to refute charges that the Peace Corps had been infiltrated by Communist provacateurs, charges which the American Legion in Richmond was circulating with considerable attention from the Midwestern press.  Having sought an audience which I could face our accusers, I went to Richmond for the confrontation in a Legion hall.  There were at least two hundred men present that evening and they were not in the mood to tolerate the supplications of a twenty-eight year old bureacrat from Washington.  “He don’t even look old enough to recognize a Communist, much less fight ’em” one man said.  Several veterans hooted and hissed and laughed as I spoke, and one huge man with a broad forehead descending down a conclave face into a long narrow chin kept picking his nose and flicking the fruits of his labor at my feet.  […]
“Well, I think it’s because Earlham College over there” — overe there is west, across the Whitewater River, which divides the town.  “There’s a lot of folks think some Communists got in there a few years back and were going to cause trouble and they joined the Legion to help oppose them.  Now, Earlham College is a fine school and a credit to this town, and 95 percent of the student and faculty are good people.  But there was a lot of people who believed some Communist influences were at work.  It only takes a few to stir up trouble.  Here, let me read you something.”
He picked from the table two copies of a one page flyer, handed one to me, and read aloud from the other.
(a document which had fallen into my hands, a duplicate of one found by our Allied forces in May of 1919 at Dusseldorf, Germany which contained “Communist Rules for Revolution”)
I was to see these “Communist Rules for Revolution in town after town, in newspaper after newspaper, and even when they had been exposed as a hoax by no less a Tory than James J Kilpatrick, the columinist, they continued to circulate widely.
“We’ve reprinted them and have been passing them out all around town,” Bob Kimbrough said.  “The young people should be educated as to what to look for, especially the trickery that communism represnets.  And I think we have to take a stand against Communism everywhere we can.  We have this undesirable thing in Vietnam.  Should never have been there in the first place.  The French tried it and didn’t make it.  But if only the force of arms can stop Communism, we have to use force of arms.  You can’t back down or they’ll take more and more.”
“This is why we have to promote Americanism.  We try to get to the young with things like baseball, even though it costs us about $3,000 a year, oratorical awards, essays, Boys State, Boy Scout troops, things like that.  Last year we got American flags on the sleeves of all the athletes in the school.  We had to put a little pressure on the school officials to get it done but we did it.”
Did the kids object?
“Heck, no.  They’re proud.  We also donated to the fire department and the mounted patrols.  We haven’t got to Earlham College yet but we want to get flags on their athletes too.  You see, we got these demonstrations and riots because the Communists are trying to use the kids, but if we wake up we can handle them.  I’ll tell you — the old Yank sits around on his butt until he gets pushed into the corner and then he comes out swingin’.  Just like Pearl Harbor.  Sure, we had trouble lately at the colleges and the colored folks have been actin’ up.  Eleanor Roosevelt started that when she went to England and posed with the colored boys.  But I can’t blame them because I think …
Listening to America; Bill Moyers; 1970; pgs 29; 31-33.
And other Totalitarian parallels echo in our fevered minds at all times.  (I like the part about Hitler instituting Socialized Medicine, and thus driving all the good doctors away.)  The Cold War is over, so that one edges away.

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