A Communist behind every tree

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Back in the bad old days between the Korean War and the Vietnam War a person could land himself in a peck of trouble for saying he was a Communist.  My granddad was a man crosswise with the world, and one day in a cafe in Dora, New Mexico, a bunch of farmers were talking about the Communists, and Papa announced he was one.  Proceeded to debate the matter with the entire cafe.

Point-by-point.  He didn’t have any friends around there anyway, but doing that didn’t win him any.

Wasn’t long before he had himself a visit from two FBI agents.  Said they’d had a report he was an atheistic Communist.  Which thoroughly pissed him off.

So Papa began studying Communism, began building all manner of reasons Communism was better than representative democracy.  Which he was happy to pass on to my young crosswise-with-the-Universe mind.

Sophomore, or Junior year of high school I entered a class on government being taught by Ira Bogard.  Me being the smartass trouble maker I was, and being generally an outcast, a few days into the semester I answered a question by saying I was a Communist.  Mister Bogard paused and glared at me, then went on with what he’d been saying.

But at the end of class he was assigning the class an essay.  Except me.  He pointed to me and told me to give him five pages explaining why I was a Communist.

I turned it in on time, and a few days later he handed it back to me with questions in the margins:  “How do you explain the Siberian camps?”  “How do you explain Stalin?”  “Why do you say Roosevelt’s New Deal was Communism in disguise?”  5 pages.

This went on the whole semester.  The only essays I wrote were answers to his questions about Communism.  Naturally I consulted my granddad every chance I got, but I also spent a lot of time in the library, even had to visit the ENMU library to get answers to some of his questions.

Hell of a good teacher.  I still smile thinking about him.

Old Jules

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17 responses to “A Communist behind every tree

  1. A good teacher teaches facts. A great teacher teaches thinking. I was blessed to have one great teacher in my life.

  2. Jack, I love this post. Like you, I was a smart ass and very lucky to have a great government teacher who indulged my contrariness and inspired me to think. A few years back I wrote to him to let him know the positive impact he’d had on me and to apologize for being such a smart ass. He responded very graciously and said my kind words brought tears to his eyes- such a humble man.
    This is my favorite line- “Hell of a good teacher. I still smile thinking about him.”

    • Thanks elroyjones. Those were tough years and I didn’t know I had a lot to smile about. I count myself tickled pea green to have lived long enough to know I should have been. Gracias, J

  3. A terrific story about good teaching. I always said that what university taught me was not facts, but how to think and reason, how to present arguments and back them up with data and reason. It sounds like you had a teacher to prod you in this manner. I didn’t but lucked out by immersing myself in the library stacks, studying and challenging every teacher I had when they quoted facts without proof. I, too, was considered a pain in the ass but graduated at the top of my class. Today I write about science and technology. Back then my degree was in Islamic Studies and Medieval History.

  4. Big brother is watching you!!

  5. Sounds like you were the teacher…

  6. Oh, Yes. Ira Bogard. I had him for NM history and government, US history and government. I didn’t make good grades yet, I learned a lot. The best class I had with him was “Comparative Government.” No text book existed for this class. The first 9 weeks was Marks and Engels writings. Then Russian Communism the second 9 weeks. The third 9 weeks was China and the other communist countries. The final 9 weeks was the governments of the major players, England, France and about half a dozen others. I still remember what he taught us about the workings of Communism and it’s plans for taking over the USA. I can tell you everything individuals in our government and the whole does that takes us the next step into communism. After all a free people won’t easily opt for giving up their freedom. Sadly few people know or are willing to see the truth that he taught us in that class. That was the first time it was offered. I don’t know if it was ever taught again. Blessings. M

  7. Dusty Bogard Neergaard

    Hi Jack, (oops, did I say that?) Daddy loves it & thanks you for writing it, Thanks from me, also. Dusty

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