This sums up my feelings about why all this nonsense people are histrionically throwing around about tyranny and oppression in a simple social welfare bill in a democracy with free speech is so disgusting. Most of us have never seen tyranny, oppression or evil in our own lives. In Leipzig and East Berlin there are a museums devoted to documenting the horrors of the East German Communist secret police, the "Stasi." I've visited them.
I first visited Berlin in 1985, while traveling with Randall Kroszner. We drove to West Berlin by car and we were terrified for the few hours we were underway in East Germany. Randy did not drive over the speed limit once. I was hardly a communist sympathizer but still I was unprepared for the day trip to East Berlin. I saw soldiers goose-stepping down one of the main streets. In the stores old ladies yelled and swung their brooms at me. Many buildings still had bullet marks or bomb damage from World War II. In a restaurant we ate a rubber Wiener Schnitzel and shared a table with an East German family; they did not have enough trust in their government to speak a word to us. I was unable to spend my mandatory thirty-mark conversion on anything useful; I carried back some Stendahl and Goethe but didn't want the Lenin. This was in the capital city in the showcase of the communist world.
My biggest impression was simply that I had never seen evil before.
I guess this makes me ruminate about the importance of getting a little perspective and not being a psychotic lunatic who pretends that the health care bill is the end of democracy in America. Maybe more folks (especially college students at VMI and around the country) would benefit from taking real trips abroad and seeing some of the museums and monuments established around the world in memory of those who were terrorized, imprisoned, and killed by truly tyrannical governments; usually for no more than speaking out.