Sorry, Bernie, but you’re a liar. My short trip through the Communist USSR told me all I needed to know.
Sanders reported his trip to Russia many years ago. It was filled with “wondaful” tidbits about the tranquil life of the people who lived in peace and harmony in socialist utopia.
My trip started in Austria, in a rental car. As anyone can tell, Berlin is a long way from the Austrian border to the south. Contrary to what people think, it was easy to get into East Germany. The wall was to keep people in, not out.
They unraveled everything in our suitcases. They looked in our shoes, opened my camera. All in all, it took well over an hour and my rudimentary German was worthless. Whatever language they spoke, it wasn’t the same as the Western side.
The “autobahn” that connected Austria to Berlin was a double lane stretch of asphalt that had no lines, no guardrails, to warning signs and no mileage signs.
The rest stop was revolting.
In fact, so revolting that my traveling companion wouldn’t go inside. (Keep in mind, this was a rest stop on an autobahn!) There were 4 or 5 tables with no matching chairs. The floor was broken tile, the walls, filthy and the bathroom disgusting.
There were a few people, locals, sitting at tables drinking a German soda called Africola. At that time, Germany had three drinks that were like ours, Africola, Bluna and ZIT. They were like our Coke, 7-up and Orange Crush, but in East Germany they were luxuries. This is what the Soviets called a hard currency store, where they sold products not available to anyone in the USSR. There were Toblerone chocolates, a few bags of, if I remember correctly, Lays potato chips, and couple other “hard currency” items.
The food looked like somebody regurgitated it onto plates.
The kitchen, which was in the dining room, looked like something out of the 40’s and was covered in grease.
The only way I can describe the trip itself was that it was a step back in time to the twenties.
This was especially evident coming from the ultramodern, tourist mecca of Austria. On the Austrian side we say old style stucco and beam chalets. On the USSR side, we saw the same, but they were dirty, not painted, and falling apart. East German towns, there were but a few, looked like they did when the Russians arrived in 1945.
The autobahn was lined with farms.
We drove by many farm workers. Dressed in bleak dresses, (It was January) they stood on the sides of the highway and grinned at us toothlessly. They were all middle ages women, in groups of 6 or 7 and none had a hat or gloves.
There was no sign of farm equipment, no buildings, and no bathrooms. There were only open fields of 50 acres or so, with 20-foot watch towers in the middle.
The worse things, though, were the other vehicles.
My short trip through the communist USSR was all I needed. I was driving a Volkswagen gulf. The rest of the cars and trucks looked like something from a 40’s gangster movie. They were all black, though a few of the trucks were gray.
The pollution was horrendous!
Thick, black smoke spewed out of the backs of even the small cars. They drove slowly, not more than 50 mph and, as there were no lines in the road, not that they would have paid attention if there were, so passing was near impossible.
In, fact, I tried to enter the preceding evening but wasn’t allowed in. It was easy to see why. There was no chance one could have driven that highway at night. It would have been impossible to stay on the road, with its black pavement, no lights and no reflective signs.
Bernie Sanders can kiss my capitalist ass.
One hour into the trip, I had a headache as if someone had put a trash can on my head and beat it with a bat. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a bitch. Driving into West Berlin was like going from a ghetto in Detroit into Disney’s magic kingdom.
Berlin is one of world’s most spectacular cities, with its wide promenades, gorgeous, and seemingly endless museums, spectacular zoo, churches and the Reichstag building, at that time a Museum, sitting majestically by the river. I could have easily lived there even though it was surrounded by a wall.
Then there was the wall.
Kristie and I did the tourist gig. We walked to the Brandenburg Gate and to a spot where a set of stairs led to an observation deck.
From there, you could look over the wall and see Mordor. East Berlin.
I raised my camera and zoomed in on an East German soldier guarding the wall. As I focused, I could see him raise his rifle and aim in at me. I dropped my camera, and dropped his rifle, waved lazily and laughed. I waved back and laughed with him. It was a joke, like the wall, itself .
I felt a deep unease though, and profound pity.
I was a soldier once. It sucks. You throw away your rights so you can be lapdog for some worthless narcissist who thinks your life is worth less than his opinion. He didn’t want to guard that wall any more than I wanted him to.
Like any 22-year-old, he wanted to find a girl, have a beer, live an honest life. Simple things. Things you can’t have under socialism.
So, fuck you Bernie. You’re a fucking liar. You all the leftist liars who preach socialism so they can win elections. I hope you all rot in hell.
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