My old friend Wladek just paid me a visit. It’s shocking to see a big man cry. He is terrified. As a holocaust survivor, he has a unique way of looking at life. He came to report some interesting news.
Wladek was born in a concentration camp just days before the end of the war. His mom was a Nazi sex slave. I guess they don’t tattoo newborn infants, and I guess they didn’t kill him because they knew the Allied Forces were on their way. He was raised as a Catholic because his mom married a Catholic man. They left Poland for California when he was about 5 years old. Somehow, while in California, his parents were divorced and Wladek was raised by his dad. He hasn’t seen his mom since he was 13 years old.
By and by, Wladek became a high school teacher and worked a regular job until retirement. Meanwhile, he got a son of his own named Alex. Tonight was the first I ever heard tell of Alex’s mom, who was apparently of Polish descent also.
Wladek has always been an arch Republican and voted George Bush into office in year 2000. I never could understand his politics although we discussed it enough. Many times, we even agreed on the corruption within the government, but he always had his own reasons to support the Republicans. His son, Alex, was a rough, tough, military kind of guy. Alex joined the National Guard and was deployed in Iraq. He trained for Special Operations, and had an extreme love of guns. In fact, Alex became a gun dealer. Pretty soon, Wladek and Alex bought themselves a nice little house with some acres in Oregon and kissed California goodbye.
Recently Wladek came to me with this tale. About ten months ago, some plain clothes gunmen assaulted Alex at a freeway rest stop and tried to kill him. The gunmen turned out to be federal agents. The rest stop was too crowded with pedestrians to shoot Alex although they tried to force his arm to pull his own gun. Providence had it that Alex lived through that experience and is now sitting in a federal prison on some vague gun charge awaiting the pre-trial. Alex is coming to understand the kind of violence that is perpetrated on federal inmates by the guards and warden. As Alex was being assaulted at the rest stop, federal agents came to Wladek’s house and put him in handcuffs without any charges while they searched the house for 8 hours. While ransacking his house, they made some anti-Semitic remarks about him. Shades of surviving the holocaust returned to him and he began to understand what his grandmother used to say while he was still back in Poland. The agents also simultaneously went to his father’s house in Illinois.
Wladek now understands that our federal government is following the same course as Hitler did in the late 30’s. Our federal government is rounding up and eliminating any trained military who may have a chance to mount an armed resistance to the fascist steamroller that is currently destroying our Democracy. Hitler did the same in Czechoslovakia just before Nazi’s invaded. Wladek himself is now a “known dissident.” Although he was a supporter of the traditional Republican platform of eliminating taxes, shrinking the federal government, fiscal conservatism, eliminating the social safety net, and pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps philosophy, the government he formerly supported has now marked him as a dissident. He is in fear of his life.
He suspects that Alex will be incarcerated indefinitely without a trial, charged as an "enemy combatant" and tortured under the new Military Commissions Act of 2006. Sensing the danger to his own life, Wladek is in a hurry to write a will and trust. He doesn’t want the federal government to kill him and confiscate all his hard-earned property. He wants it preserved for his son Alex just in case he ever gets out of prison alive. Wladek, himself is planning to expatriate himself. He thinks he will encounter less anti-Semitism and less fascism abroad. Although, it may be just a case of grass greener on the other side of the fence, I wish him lots of luck.