Kerry Embraces Radical Icons

The Kerry campaign has come up with a curious slogan: “Let America Be America Again.” Kerry borrowed the phrase from the title of a poem by the famous black writer Langston Hughes when Hughes was wallowing in his Red period. Here’s a portion of it, written in the 1930s:

“I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart/ I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars/ I am the red man driven from the land/ I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek/ And finding only the same old stupid plan/ Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.”

The poet goes on to sing of the “millions shot down when we strike” (yes, millions!) and describe America as full of “rape and rot of graft, and stealth and lies.” But, he urges, “Let America be America again,” the America of our dreams, but, alas, never of reality.

Surely Kerry can’t believe this describes today’s America. But if not, why has he decided to make the late Mr. Hughes the poet laureate of his campaign?

Just a few years before “America,” Hughes wrote the most controversial poem of his career called “Goodbye Christ.” Here are a few lines:

“Listen Christ/You did all right in your day, I reckon–But that day’s gone now. . . .

“. . .Make way for a new guy with no religion at all/A real guy named Marx Communism Lenin Peasant Stalin Worker ME–I said ‘ME'” So “Go ahead on now/ You’re getting in the way of things, Lord, and please take Saint Ghandi [sic] with you when you go. . ..Move! Don’t be so slow about movin’!”

Kerry’s decision to transform the title of Hughes’ “America” into his apparent campaign slogan–as well as write an introduction to a new collection of Hughes’ poems (will “Goodbye Christ,” which Hughes repudiated in 1954, be among them?)–suggests the Massachusetts senator is still at one with the Left.

Kerry apparently is at ease teaming up with extremists (such as Jane Fonda in his VVAW days), praising Bella Abzug and Ron Dellums, two of the most pro-Soviet lawmakers ever to grace Congress and quoting Communists for inspiration. His campaign theme song, “This Land Is Your Land,” was written by the Communist folk singer, Woody Guthrie.

And on Jan. 11, 1991, Kerry quoted another Communist in arguing against a congressional resolution giving George H. W. Bush the authority to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. At the end of his senate speech Kerry said he “would like to share with my colleagues something that Dalton Trumbo wrote in a book called Johnny Got His Gun,” a 1939 novel graphically depicting the horrors of war.

For reasons only Kerry can explain, the senator deliberately chose the writings of a well-known Hollywood Red to make his case against intervention. A prominent screenwriter, Trumbo was one of the Hollywood Ten, those writers, directors and producers who appeared in 1947 before the House Committee on Un-American Activities and refused to say whether they had been Communist Party members.

Long after serving time in jail for refusing to respond to the question, Trumbo would admit he had joined the party in 1943, informing his biographer Bruce Cook that his views were such that he “might as well have been a Communist ten years earlier.” After his prison term, Trumbo said he “reaffiliated” with the party in 1954, apparently having enjoyed the experience so much the first time around.

Kerry, a Yale graduate who views himself as especially literate, must know the history of Johnny, but most readers may not. The Daily Worker, the official organ of the Communist Party, began serializing Trumbo’s novel in March of 1940 when Hitler was just beginning the process of swallowing Western Europe.

To make Hitler’s task easier, Stalin, a chum of the Nazi leader since the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939, directed each Communist Party in the West to launch a unilateral disarmament crusade inside his own country, with the American CP paying special attention to stopping the United States from rearming and aiding any nation resisting Hitler’s conquering armies.

Thus Trumbo’s anti-war novel was widely pushed by the CP to specifically assist Adolph Hitler. Trumbo would suggest in another novel written during the pact period that FDR was guilty of “treason” and even “black treason” for sending planes and guns to help England. (Like all true Stalinists, Trumbo launched a crusade to resist Nazism after June 1941–the month Hitler invaded the Soviet Union.)

Kerry is campaigning today as a tough, but prudent hawk, who fought in the Vietnam war and wanted Old Soldier John McCain as his VP. He rides motorcycles, shoots rifles and takes to the slopes. But the machismo image cloaks a lifetime of policy positions favoring or grossly accommodating America’s enemies, especially those on the Left.

In his April 1971 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry famously called for the surrender of South Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh’s murderous regime in the north. He not only wanted the U.S. out, but the Communists in. The consequences of the Communist victory proved severe: hundreds of thousands of refugees, many of whom perished on the high seas, and tens of thousands imprisoned in the gulags. North Vietnam’s conquest also enabled the genocidal Pol Pot to seize Cambodia and murder nearly 2,000,000 of its inhabitants.

By 1983, Grenada had become a Soviet-Cuban base, was swarming with Russian and Cuban soldiers and had begun building a military airport to be used for launching Cuban soldiers into Africa.

When the Communist government was overthrown by a more violent Red regime, which also appeared to threaten 1,000 American medical school students on the island, President Reagan called for an invasion. The revolutionary government was overthrown and the students rescued, one of whom famously fell to his knees and kissed American soil, he was so grateful.

Kerry’s response? According to the Boston Globe (June 19, 2003), the senator was “scornful” of the invasion. “At one point, he likened it to ‘Boston College’s playing football against the Sisters of Mercy.'” Earlier, Kerry told the Cape Codder newspaper that “no substantial threat to U.S. interests existed and American lives were not endangered. . . .”

Kerry was hardly through making light of the Communist threat. In his winning Senate campaign in 1984, he conspicuously challenged Ronald Reagan’s military buildup by calling for massive, unilateral disarmament. Indeed, according to the recent Kerry biography by three Boston Globe reporters (p.196): “Kerry supported cancellation of a host of weapons systems that have become the basis of U.S. military might–the high-tech munitions and delivery systems on display to the world as they leveled the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein in a matter of weeks.”

A year later, Kerry was romancing Daniel Ortega’s Red regime in Nicaragua. The Marxist-Leninist government had imported Soviet and Cuban military advisers, confiscated private property and jailed non-violent dissenters. The Sandinistas had also begun shoveling weapons, money and training to Red guerrilla movements throughout Central America, with Minister of Interior Tomas Borge predicting in a Playboy interview that the revolution would eventually sweep through El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and even Mexico.

Nevertheless, in April 1985, after visiting Ortega in Managua, Kerry breathlessly returned home to inform his fellow senators that peace might be at hand, that Ortega had pledged to him he would restore civil liberties and boot out the Soviets and Cubans if the U.S. would just shut down aid to the anti-Communist Contra insurgency. The House did kill the Contra assistance package on April 23–just as Kerry had hoped and urged. Within 24 hours, Ortega announced he was planning a trip to Russia to get advice and economic assistance!

Supporters of Kerry’s plan to appease Ortega now felt betrayed. Sen. Jim Sasser (D.-Tenn.), who had been in Kerry’s corner, angrily remarked that he would have favored Contra assistance if he had been aware of Ortega’s plans. Even Kerry, embarrassed but not really contrite, insisted he was “as mad as anyone” about Ortega’s trip. (But not so mad as to reject his own policy.)

So far as Cuba is concerned, Kerry, according to political reporter Peter Wallsten of the Miami Herald, takes a tough attitude when campaigning in Florida, where the Cuban-American vote is crucial. In the spring of this year, Kerry accused Castro of running a “Stalinist” regime and said: “I voted for the Helms-Burton legislation to be tough on companies that deal with him.”

However, Wallsten in a March 14 dispatch, went on to point out the problem with Kerry’s response: “Kerry voted against it.” (And, indeed, a check with the Congressional Record of March 5, 1996, reveals that Kerry was one of just 22 senators to oppose Helms-Burton.)

Kerry is doing much to convince the public he’s not the reflexive liberal of the 1970s. But turning to Langston Hughes, Woodie Guthrie and Dalton Trumbo for inspiration is hardly reassuring. Far more disturbing has been his vigorous verbal endorsement of Jean Bertrand Aristide, the ousted leader of Haiti.

In early March, Kerry informed the New York Times that he “would have been prepared to send troops immediately” to save Aristide as president of Haiti, even though a top human rights authority in Secretary Colin Powell’s State Department informed this reporter that Aristide ruled as a “despot.” In his 1993 autobiography, published by Orbis books, Aristide says (page 126):

“Rather than searching for models, I prefer to welcome those ideas that rest on the values of beauty, dignity, respect and love. Che Guevara. . .certainly incorporated some of those values as did [Salvador] Allende.” Both, of course, were revolutionary Communists.

The certain Democratic presidential nominee seems to have a fatal attraction for both poets and political rulers who are still in love with Marxism and Red revolutionaries.