Pretty in Pravda - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Pretty in Pravda

Open-mindedness is a key value at Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and to demonstrate that value they chose “Communism” as the theme to their prom, dubbing it “Prommunism.”

The Prommunist era didn’t last long. It turns out that despite feeling like they “knew a lot about the topic,” choosing the Communist theme brought a stronger reaction than they were expecting. Much stronger. Once the story hit the web (see this particularly fine take by the Spectator‘s Dan Flynn), students said they “no longer felt safe” due to some of the reactions they received. So they switched themes.

If only those who lived under Communism could have switched so easily.

While the students claim that choosing the “Communism” theme was a way of honoring their education and showing off their open-mindedness, KRQE reported that Cottonwood’s Executive Director, Sam Obenshain, confessed when it was first selected that “he and many students aren’t even quite sure what Prommunism is supposed to look like.”

He was clear, however, that he wanted to be sure kids understood that “the idea of Communism can generate negative reaction,” which is a little like saying the idea of Nazism can generate diarrhea. After switching themes, one student leader confidently told KRQE that he’d learned “there are a lot of negative connotations to the word“ and that students “needed to choose something less sensitive.”

Read between the lines and one gets the sense that students quickly relented and changed the theme not because they understood what the nature of the ideology was, but because in “Prommunism” they committed the one mortal sin left in our secular society: they offended people.

Mass murder by class, genocidal cleanings of ethnic minorities, slave labor, and secret-police states have been the rule rather than the exception under communism. Yet the take-away lesson for these high school kids was on the need for “sensitivity” as though they’d caught themselves using “mankind” in a gender-neutral sense.

Just a quick refresh: Lenin is directly responsible for at least 5 million deaths — civilian Russian deaths. Among the first to die were Christians, the educated, successful farmers, and history (history books were burned and students were forced to study freshly minted state-sponsored propaganda).

With forced famines, show trials, genocidal pogroms, and a growing Gulag (Anne Applebaum, author of Gulag: A History, notes that former inmates could recognize other victims merely by seeing the haunted look in their eyes), add another 35 million civilian Russian people dead under Stalin, with Eastern Europe and the Baltic states providing a proportionate share of victims under Stalin and subsequent administrations.

That’s just the Soviet Union. China’s Mao Zedong killed as many as 45 million. Add Vietnam and Cambodia, Egypt, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba — the crimes against humanity defy comprehension.

Meanwhile, students on our college campuses decorate their walls or t-shirts with the Soviet Hammer and Sickle or the face of Che Guevara. Likely they think themselves “open-minded.”

With all the distractions of the modern age, the iPads, smart-phones, and streaming media providing round-the-clock entertainment, it’s tough to find a way to capture attention spans long enough to teach the important lessons of history.

But the students at Cottonwood Prep may have stumbled onto something. Instead of condemning them for choosing the theme, we should embrace them and give them, and other students, the prom they were looking for.

Here’s what should happen: The Central Prommunist Committee would set the price of the tickets and all will be required to attend. The theme would be chosen by the Committee and would reflect the glorious work of the Committee. Complaints would result in required hours of work on behalf of the Committee.

Those who had money for an elegant dinner would have that money confiscated for collective use. The Central Committee would use a good portion of that money in order to glorify the positions they hold in the name of the people. If a student rented a limousine, it would be replaced with a Yugo. Dinner would be potato soup and bread — and not everyone would get bread.

Arbitrary punishment at the Prommunist event would be widespread, with student fates ranging from mandatory clean-up work to extra detention. Rock music, with its insistence on independence and cultural liberation, would be banned. In its place would marching music — lots of it.

Dresses would all be of the same material, the same color, the same design, and of low quality. And there would be a shortage. In place of a corsage or boutonnière would be a button commemorating the glorious achievements of the last year of school. In the photographs, smiling would be frowned upon and satisfaction would be far from guaranteed.

Best of all, who one takes to the Prommunist event would also be a decision left up to the Central Committee. Prom Kings and Queens would give way to Prommunist Exalted Comrades. Everyone would vote on two Exalted Comrades, but the Central Committee would choose the winners.

On the way out, each participant would be required to convincingly explain why the Prommunist event was wildly preferable to the Prom. Failure to be convincing enough would lead to additional hours, days, or weeks within the event and mandatory school service for the offending student’s parents.

As it stands, the main lesson students seem to get regarding communism is that people in the United States were in a paranoid “Red Scare“ about them (displaying a shocking lack of open-mindedness), and that Communist leaders make great subjects for the front of stylish t-shirts. A Prommunist event would give them a tiny glimpse into the unfairness of an ideology that masquerades its true consequences in the language of equality and fairness.

KRQE news reported that after choosing the new theme, “PROM,” the head administrator was convinced students had learned a big lesson, “that it’s not just their intentions that matter.”

The kids learned this about prom themes. Imagine if they learned the same about ideologies and government policies and took it with them into adulthood.

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