Elian's liberty is being murdered by an evil idea: that his life belongs to the state
Early on a November morning, some five months ago, Elizabet Broton took her son Elian on a rickety 17-foot boat to escape the slave pen of Castro's Cuba. A short way into their journey, the engine died, the boat flooded with seawater--and capsized.
Elian and his mother floated on rubber inner tubes, clinging to a dream: freedom in America. After hours of punishment by the rough seas, Elian's mother was dehydrated and exhausted. Her last action on earth was to save her son. She wrapped him in her coat, fed him her final drops of water--and slipped away to drown in the ocean.
Elizabet didn't live to see her dream fulfilled. But as she died, she saw her son still alive--clinging precariously to that rubber inner tube. On that tube was her dream: liberty for Elian.
The Communists in Cuba could not kill her dream--nor could the tumultuous, shark-infested waters. But her dream, and along with it Elian's liberty, is being killed--murdered by an evil idea in the hands of President Clinton and the INS storm troopers who abducted Elian. The idea is that Elian's life belongs to the state.
Do not be fooled by the stunted intellects in Washington or at the New York Times who tell you that this is merely a case of Cuban expatriates versus "family values" or that this is only an issue of relatives squabbling over the custody of a child.
This is the most important issue in the world today: does an individual's mind and body--his very life--belong to the state? Or does Elian, and every man, have an inalienable right to pursue his own dreams, happiness, life?
The issue here is Cuba's dictatorial "Code of the Child" and the Communist Manifesto versus the Declaration of Independence. It is "Elian is a possession of the State" versus Elian's individual right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The issue is: "render unto Caesar (or Castro or Clinton) that which is Caesar's" versus "give me liberty or give me death."
People have the misguided notion that Elian's mother traveled from a place like Kansas to visit relatives in Florida and then died during her trip. Now the father wants to return with his son to Kansas--so what's the big deal? But let's get some facts straight. Communist Cuba is not like Kansas. It's an oppressive hellhole.
Cubans have suffered 40 years of communism. During that time, there have been some 20,000 executions for so-called "political crimes." Over 100,000 Cubans--including many children--have been sent to Castro's gulags--where they are beaten, starved, raped, tortured. Thousands each year try to escape Communist Cuba, many dying in the process. And notice, there is no exodus from Florida to Cuba. Why is that? Because under Cuba's dictatorship, young teens and entire families are forced to work on Castro's farms. Many Cubans are conscripted into Castro's military until their late 20s. There are forced abortions, chronic shortages of food, shelter, clothing, medicine. Jobs in Cuba are controlled by Castro and his henchmen, with the best jobs given to those who support Communism.
The government smothers Cubans from cradle to grave with communist propaganda. There is no free speech, no freedom of religion, of association, of immigration. There is no private property or independent judiciary. There are no individual rights in Cuba--let alone, as the DOJ keeps calling for, parental rights. Every book, lectern, airwave--every school, job, piece of property--every dream, goal, relationship--every life belongs to Castro.
Now I ask you, if communism was bad for East Germans or for Russians, why isn't it bad for a six-year-old boy, and for all Cubans? If it was evil to enslave Jews or blacks, why isn't it evil to enslave an entire country?
It is obscene to argue, as the INS and Reno do, that in the name of a "father's rights," Elian should be shipped back to Cuba. There are no rights under Communism--there is only a slow, spirit-destroying death. The fact is that once back in Cuba, Elian will be forcibly taken from his father and sent to a Communist "re-education camp"--i.e., to a prison for political indoctrination. If that is to be Elian's fate, then it would have been less tragic if he had drowned with his mother.
For those of you who are still confused about what is the best for Elian, consider this: a 1978 Cuban law mandates that parents and teachers raise children with a "Communist personality," and it forbids "influences contrary to communist development." Castro's infamous "Code of the Child"--a government mandated handbook for raising and educating children--includes totalitarian passages such as this from Article 3: the purpose of education is to "foster in youth the ideological values of communism." And this, from Article 8: "Society and the state work for the efficient protection of youth against all influences contrary to their communist formation." Any adult who violates the "Code of the Child" can be imprisoned.
Hordes of Hollywood actors and social activists protest daily that trees and whales should be free. Why are they silent when the issue is a child's freedom? If a child in America is killed by a handgun, a "Million Moms" March on Washington D.C. If a child has inadequate medical care or is exposed to cigarette ads or goes hungry--we are deluged with calls for donations, government handouts, and regulations. Why is not a finger lifted when the U.S. government sends an innocent child to slave labor?
Many people do not grasp the life-and-death moral issues at stake. To them, living under communism or in America--i.e., living under slavery or freedom--is just a "lifestyle" choice. You know, I wear blue jeans and drive a jalopy, you wear slacks and drive a Lexus; she listens to Country Western music, he likes classical.
These same people claim that those fighting for Elian to stay in America are "close-minded"--to which I say: wear your close-mindedness as a badge of honor. To be "open-minded" on the issue of slavery versus freedom is to be an accessory to a crime. If a parent were caught suffocating his child, no one would argue that we should remain "open-minded" about suffocation. Why, then, are we told to remain open-minded about communism--a form of government that suffocates a child's entire life?
Many people believe that the Elian affair is "just a matter of opinion" because they are infected by an evil idea--one taught to them by America's universities. That idea is relativism, i.e., the disgusting notion that there are no moral absolutes; there are only individual, group, or social conventions. On this view, freedom and living for your own happiness are neither better nor worse than is totalitarianism. It is relativism that short-circuits a person's ability to decide which is the right type of life for Elian.
But the fact is that it is morally superior for Elian--and for any man--to live in a country that respects individual rights. It is morally superior to live in a country that defends an individual's right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. And yes, it is morally superior for a child to live in America--a country where he can enjoy ice cream, Pokeman, a day at Disneyland--and where he can grow up to choose his own career, buy his own house, marry the woman of his dreams.
And yes, it is morally superior for Elian to be raised in America--a country where on some future Mother's Day, he can lay flowers on the grave of the mother who lost her life bringing him to freedom.
The case of Elian Gonzalez is the morality of freedom versus the immorality of dictatorship. It is the individual versus the all-powerful state.
When you return home, convince your friends and colleagues; write letters to the editor; call and write your congressmen. Do so in the name of that which you cherish--your own children, your own property and freedom, your own happiness. And do so in the name of America's founding principle: the individual's inalienable right to life.
For five months, Elian enjoyed that right. Please join me in repeating five times--one for each month he was free: Liberty for Elian.