For more than a year and a half before the election, I tried to contact Republican Party officials throughout the state of Florida and across the country to make use of my book ‘The Left is Seldom Right’ in public events, designed primarily to attract young college students and independents or conservative Democrats.
I tried to explain that without education and confronting the many distortions and outright lies about the past, it would be impossible to prevent an avalanche of support for Obama in 2012 from a public that has been subject to decades of intellectual intimidation from the Left in academia, the media, among our writers and film producers through the media of literature and Hollywood films.
It would be no exaggeration to say that I struck out with a total lack of interest. Those who ran the campaign that I managed to speak to were only able to react with appeals for money, robot calls, attending a “rally” and putting up yard signs. I literally received dozens of phone calls and hundreds of pieces of mail as the only way for me to take part in the campaign and to express my support but no response to my suggestions.
When I was able to speak to someone on the phone – a Republican Party “advisor” to the UCF Student Republican club, he informed me that there was no budget for such an event to publicize my book and I was told that my proposal had no interest because I was not a “famous name”.
Students in the club informed me that negotiations were underway for a “famous name” like Ann Coulter or other “star” to speak at UCF at a “reduced fee” of $10,000 but alas, she didn’t have time to fit that into her busy schedule.
Education was not and is not on the agenda. Nevertheless, I know it is the key to reversing our fortunes – this is the response I received from a student at the University of South Florida in Tampa;
“As a student studying politics at the university level, I greatly enjoyed Dr. Berdichevsky’s poignant thesis and ideas in his most recent book, “The Left is Seldom Right.” I ordered a copy and read through it in only a matter of days. Thanks to its level of research and thought provoking material, this book has been incredibly helpful in cementing many of my own convictions and has given me an ability to counter the far-left lean of my classmates and professors. A former follower of Chomsky and Tariq Ali, this book was one of several that put my Marxist leanings to rest. Perhaps the books greatest feature is its scholarly approach to controversial issues. The author makes his points without drifting into a polemic tone.”
In discussions with many students on the UCF campus, it is crystal clear to me how easy it is to reveal the entire fabric of wrong assumptions that students accept as Gospel and how crucial it is for our future prospects. Among the astounding demographics of the breakdown of the 2012 election results is that Cuban-Americans voted 49-47 FOR Obama! How could such a travesty occur? – clearly the younger generation born in the U.S. with no personal memories of the Castro regime is willing to accept what their professors in class say rather than their own parents!
I immediately refer them to the chapter in my book on Cuba and ask “What was the relationship of the Cuban Communist Party to “Rightwing” dictator Fulgencio Batista.The immediate response is always – even from Cuban-American students is “it must have been total opposition” defying the real facts that the Communist Party was his most loyal ally from 1934 to 1958 and chastised Fidel Castro’s “attempted coup” in 1954 as a typical example of a “Bourgeois Putsch”.
The facts that so called Rightwing dictators such as Juan Peron (Argentina) , Francisco Franco (Spain) , Alfredo Stroessner (Paraguay), Francois Duvalier (Haiti) all used populist nationalism for some time to drum up hatred of the United States conflicts with the accepted views on campus that it is only Left-wing leaders like Castro or Chavez who have opposed American policies.
When I ask who was the only important member of the FDR administration to object to the forced incarceration of Japanese-Americans in “relocation camps”, admittedly the worst violation of civil rights in American history, not one student can believe it was J. Edgar Hoover, Chief of the FBI, for them the very incarnation of the “Far Right”.
Similarly, every chapter violates their sense of what is “correct” until they are forced to “look it up” in unimpeachable sources and admit their error.
The chapters in my book on European “RIGHTWING” conservative leaders in Britain, France, Greece, Poland, Denmark, Austria, Bulgaria who led the fight AGAINST the Nazis in World War II or resolutely opposed anti-semitism while their liberal-Left opposition pleaded for appeasement comes as a shock – once again until they discover it is the truth.
Even such a basic fact in American history that the One Party South under a Democrat Party monopoly was the base of support for policies of slavery and secession, and then following the conclusion of Reconstruction, of segregation and states’ rights (1876-1964) also comes as a surprise for many.
Only when confrontation with such real life facts occurs, is their total confidence in the Left-Liberal Professorship shaken to the core. Without a serious plan to reach students and challenge them through an educational campaign instead of robot calls by robots and yard signs and rallies with the same stump speeches repeated a hundred times, we cannot hope to make progress by 2016.
Norman Berdichevsky is a native New Yorker who lives in Orlando, Florida. He holds a Ph.D. in human geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1974) and is the author of The Danish-German Border Dispute (Academica Press, 2002), Nations, Language and Citizenship (McFarland & Co., Inc., 2004), Spanish Vignettes; An Offbeat Look into Spain’s Culture, Society & History (Santana Books, Malaga, Spain. 2004), An Introduction to Danish Culture (MacFarland, 2011) and The Left is Seldom Right (New English Review Press, 2011). He is the author of more than 200 articles and book reviews that have appeared in a variety of American, British, Danish, Israeli and Spanish periodicals such as World Affairs, Journal of Cultural Geography, Ecumene, Ariel, Ethnicity, The World & I, Contemporary Review, German Life, Israel Affairs, and Midstream. He is also a professional translator from Hebrew and Danish to English and his website is here.
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