Or, he continues, maybe they were lacking in what Berman calls “political imagination.” He asks De Blasio how he could praise a health program when the same sponsoring group — the FSLN — denied food to its critics. How did De Blasio not know that most doctors fled the country? How did he not see the insurrection developing against the Sandinistas, an insurrection that came from the very poor he thought he was helping?
Berman ends with the real kicker, one that must have shocked him. After talking at length with a peasant woman in the market and winning her trust, Berman asked her who she thought was interested in their plight. She told him that “the Sandinistas stood for everything she opposed,” and told him that “the Sandinistas were the enemies of the workers and peasants.” He kept pressing her as to who might be their friend — the Catholic Church, the opposition press, and so forth. Finally she gave him her answer.
Writes Berman: “She gathered her courage. And she whispered: ‘Ronald Reagan.’”
To a man of the Left who despised Ronald Reagan and who opposed him, this was a bitter truth. But Paul Berman was brave enough to record it, and to recognize what it meant.
I was reminded of the same thing when after a Solidarity rally in Krakow, Poland, a year before Communism fell, a rally broken by the state security, the Polish group I was with chanted as they left, “Reagan, Reagan!” They knew he was their friend who defended freedom and worked for the end of Communist tyranny that was oppressing them.
Berman advises that De Blasio “guard against the ideological manias and arrogant cruelties that sometimes accompany a left-wing disposition.” Good luck, Paul. It ain’t gonna happen.
Mary O’Grady had her phone calls to the De Blasio campaign not returned, and it is more than clear that he will not give you any satisfaction, either. He stands by his support of the Sandinistas and he has learned nothing.
Berman ends with a warning to him. He notes that New York City has scores of residents who live there and fled from Communist dictatorships — Cubans, Vietnamese, Chinese, and even some Nicaraguans. Unlike the Upper West Side liberals and leftists, or the Park Slope, Brooklyn variety, “the university-educated American-born sophisticates,” Berman writes, “they are not going to laugh” when others ask him why he still says he was right to support the Sandinistas’ tyranny.
So good luck, my friend. You will not get the answer you want, if you get any at all. And please, do consider voting for Joe Lhota.