Imagine a president who got rid of freedom of the press, rounded up homosexuals to force them into re-education camps, had multiple women delivered to his office daily for sex (more than 35,000 total) and treated his people so horribly that over a million fled the country?
These are just a few of the scenarios segments of the left have feared might happen when President Donald Trump assumes office, but each actually did happen under former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who died late Friday at 90.
So many today say Trump must be unequivocally denounced for the existential danger he poses to American liberty before he’s even done anything.
But Castro? Too many today say Castro was a complicated figure we should try to better understand.
No, we shouldn’t. We know enough.
So many who dare to defend Castro are basically lamenting that his socialist experiment didn’t live up to their ideological expectations, while intentionally ignoring the demonstrable pain he caused.
Half of their mistake is laughable; the other half, deplorable.
World leaders should be judged by their actual actions, and not by ideologues’ hopes. Marxists and others on the left who had once hoped the Soviet Union, China, Cuba and other socialist states might become successful templates for world revolution instead saw totalitarian societies of our worst nightmares unfurl. Leftists in the West and around the world were slow to acknowledge the atrocities and suffering under Joseph Stalin’s regime, and even during the Vietnam era confused opposing an unjust war with sympathy for communists. “If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao…” John Lennon memorably sang of protesters in 1968.
With Castro’s death, we’re seeing some of the same blindness, but it’s particularly hypocritical in a post-election environment where so much of the left fears Donald Trump will literally become a brutal dictator.
“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” President-elect Trump said in a statement. “Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.”
Former President Jimmy Carter also issued a statement: “Rosalynn and I share our sympathies with the Castro family and the Cuban people on the death of Fidel Castro. We remember fondly our visits with him in Cuba and his love of his country.”
Orlando Gutiérrez, founder of the opposition Cuban Democratic Directorate in Miami, said Saturday, “This is a man who leaves a legacy of intolerance, of setting up a family-run dictatorship, which had no tolerance for anyone who thought differently, who set up a vicious totalitarian regime where people were persecuted for the most slight deviation from official ideology.”
“I regret that this criminal never faced a tribunal for all the crimes he committed against his own people,” Mr. Gutiérrez added.
Though there are justified reasons for minorities in the United States to be worried based on the President-elect’s rhetoric, Donald Trump hasn’t actually done anything yet. Fidel Castro has been an example of the worst of humanity for a half-century, inflicting unimaginable suffering on so many in the name of ideology.
There’s a reason so many Cuban exiles are dancing in the streets of Miami.
Any defense or positive portrayal of Fidel Castro today ultimately rests on his one-time alleged good intentions. You have to ignore so much to do this — too much.
Remember that 62 million Americans voted for Donald Trump because they believe he has good intentions, too.
Time will tell what Donald Trump brings. Time has told what Fidel Castro wrought. And it is indefensible.