A Vital Message From Roland Straten

Hi, Montclair Republicans, and Happy New Year!


Roland Straten, Montclair’s Republican Town Committee Chairman

My head has been working overtime trying to make sense of all the political stuff going on. The election, confirmation of Kavanaugh, trade wars, fake news, the Mueller investigation, the Left’s hatred of the administration, and political correctness that has run amok are all things I could write about.

Here are some ideas and links on the political correctness that has run amok:

“Long time no see” is forbidden — it is micro aggression to either Asians or native Americans – the Left is not sure yet.

“I’m dreaming of a white Dorchester” put out by a Dorchester Historical Society is also a forbidden phrase, which puts the song “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” at risk.

While these topics are all symptoms of the Left gone wild, I have decided to write about the scariest moment of my life.

Here goes:

In a dark, gloomy room, I was standing in front of a blackened one-way window. I was told to slide my U.S. passport into a slot at the bottom of the window. Out came a slip of paper with my name and a few numbers written on it. I proceeded through gates and guards armed with Kalashnikovs. I emerged into a nearly dark, dingy street with old dirty houses lining it.

For the first time in my life I was in a Communist country, as I entered East Berlin at Checkpoint Charlie.

After graduating from Dartmouth with an MBA in 1968, I decided to delay my entrance into the workforce and took a summer job with the Experiment in International Living leading a group of high school students to Germany. After living with German families in the town of Herford, Germany and taking a bus tour of Germany, we went to Berlin, a trip which included a day in East Berlin.

Our group boarded a Boeing 727 in Frankfurt bound for West Berlin. When we reached the East

German border, the pilot revved up the engines to full power for the roughly 10-minute, 120-mile trip over East German airspace to West Berlin. I have never flown faster in my life.

We had a great time seeing the vibrant city, shops, beer gardens, and museums of West Berlin before heading for East Berlin.

Even after 50 years, the dichotomy between east and west was so great that it has left a lasting impression on me. It totally changed my world view.

Before visiting East Berlin, I had heard that life under Communism was drab, unfree and not pleasant. But we had also heard that offsetting the lack of freedom was that the government took care of the needy, provided low-rent housing, free educations, and free health care.

potsdamer platz cold war

Potsdamer Platz During the Cold War (1945 – 1990)

It immediately became clear that free stuff did not offset the lack of freedom. The utter feeling of despair that enveloped us convinced us that we were in an evil place, that no amount of free stuff could make life bearable. Looking at Potsdamer Platz filled with tank traps was unsettling. The scariest moment of my life was to stand on the wrong side of the Brandenburg Gate looking toward the west, 100 yards away, knowing that the only thing allowing me to leave was the slip of paper in my pocket from Checkpoint Charlie.

If you have read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, it was as if the dark cloud of ravens came over the country, removing all color and hope, creating a world of despair. Houses were gray and dirty. The people were like zombies looking straight ahead with a glum look on their faces. People were dressed in drab, ill-fitting clothes. A feeling of gloom came over our entire group. After 50 years, this sense of evil and despair is still with me.

I wish I had the communication skills to transfer this experience to our young socialists of today who demand free stuff. We need to get the message out to these youngsters who have not seen Hitler’s National Socialist Workers Party, Franco’s FET Party in Spain, Castro’s Communist Party of Cuba, and Mao’s Chinese Communist Party in action. We still have Venezuela and North Korea to remind us of the evils of socialism and communism, but Hollywood, the press and our educational establishment do not adequately show the evil of these systems. Even the story of thousands of people coming to the USA to escape despotic regimes is portrayed as our fault rather than the fault of repressive, corrupt, socialist regimes.

The message we need to get out is that the socialistic philosophy to give free stuff based on need, not ability, is flawed. The people who produce the free stuff are asked to produce for free or low wages. Even the most altruistic person will decide that working very hard to produce free stuff for other people while not getting any of the benefits may be a bit unfair. As the producers get the message, few and fewer people will produce the free stuff. The government steps in to make people produce. The government then has to resort to coercion to force the producers to make the free stuff.

It should not be hard for our young people to understand this logic, but many do not.

The resurgence of socialistic thought demonstrated by the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a clear and present danger.

It is a shame that we do not learn from history. Each generation makes the same mistakes again and again.

Our only hope is that we can get the message of the evils of socialism out to members of the next generation.

Please do your part to educate them!!


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 


Join the Montclair Republicans on Thursday, January 31, 7 pm at Greek Taverna for a sociable dinner and presentation by Douglas Steinhardt, Chairman of the New Jersey State Republican Committee. Reservations are required. Purchase your tickets using PayPal or credit card here:

Single ticket ($35)

Two tickets ($70)

Youth ticket (age 11 – 18, accompanied by paying adult, $15)

Montclair Republican Club and Republican Town Committee members may email the club with their reservation and pay at the door by check or cash: montclairrepublicans@gmail.com.

Registered Montclair Republicans may join the Montclair Republican Club by using these links (annual membership):

SINGLE ($25)

COUPLE ($40)

Become a Registered Republican by clicking HERE

mrc 1880



One response

  1. Robert e Burrows | Reply

    This is a stark revisit to our history we should never allow to happen again. I saw much of what you are saying as a member of the US Army Security Agency 65-69. We tend to protect the general public from the horrors we see. Maybe this has been a disservice to them. Seeing the horror, torture or the tight government control on people’s basic human rights has been kept from them. The generations today have little real knowledge of the truth due to a dumbing down of our educational system. We must change to survive as a free country.

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