A small example of the extent to which our political rhetoric has become completely unhinged: when my parents were flying to Virginia for my younger brother’s wedding last week, they ended up chatting with one of the flight attendants, a woman in her 50s. Somehow it came up that her own son and his wife were reluctant to have children, which in itself is nothing unusual, but their reason blew my folks’ minds: it was because they didn’t want their kids to grow up in a “communist” country.
My parents didn’t quite know what to say in response — Mom almost asked her to which communist country they were planning to move (are there really any left, with China in a full-on market frenzy and Mao no doubt shedding tears in heaven?), but basic politeness took over and they gently moved the conversation on. The scary thing was that the flight attendant seemed completely serious about the entire matter, as though the Obama era were the beginning of our inevitable slide into a world of commissars and work camps….