I sometimes see a similar phenomenon with my Cuban-American friends. When I was younger, I worked closely with Cuban American poet and playwright Osvaldo Pradere, who had come to value socialist ideas, and produced subversive art that his family had a very hard time accepting.

He had actually suffered personally under the Castro regime, being imprisoned for a time for including homosexual content in some of his art while he was still in Cuba.

I once asked him how he was able to dissociate the political authoritarianism and repression of the Castro regime from socialist ideas. His response was pretty simple. “With utmost difficulty, which explains why almost all my family and friends vote Republican.”

I think your article points to a very interesting problem we’re having in the United States right now. It’s not just Vietnamese and Cuban Americans who associate socialism with political repression. Americans in general have a very hard time separating the two ideas, even though many nations and societies incorporate socialism with representative democracy flavored with strong respect for civil liberties.

Finding a path to accepting the kind of democratic socialism that benefits so many societies is a critical problem we all face right now.

Written by

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com

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