Summer’s End Far From the Eastern Front - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Summer’s End Far From the Eastern Front


Summer is rapidly coming to an end for us here in Sandpoint. I hate this time of year but also love it. There is a hint of Fall in the air but the sun is bright on the lake and men and women and children are sunbathing on City Beach. But I am leaving soon.

Every day, I walk along the pathway, talk to people about the election, pose for pictures, shake hands as if I were running for office. But I am not. I am leaving soon.

Then I take a long nap with my wifey. Her health is still not good. Our doctor suggested she come up here where she has zero responsibilities and just lie in bed and look at the lake. It hasn’t worked. She is still laid low with crushing fatigue.

Usually in the evening I go out to Trinity at the Edgewater Hotel to pick up dinner for her and me. It’s always magnificent. Right off the bat, I cannot think of a better restaurant: on the lake, fantastically tasty meat and chicken and vegetarian dishes. Fast, friendly service. In fact, as good service as there is on my earth.

For a perfect atmosphere, I still prefer Hills on Priest Lake. It’s the passway to the Magic Kingdom of the 1950s. But it’s a long drive and I get tired. Plus, it’s sad to go there and not see the Lady of the Lake, Lois Hills, wife and co-founder of the founder. She passed away this Spring and it’s just not the same without her. Her great kids do a superb job, but I still feel a vacuum without her.

No American should live his life without at least one visit to Hills, one last chance to see America as it’s supposed to be.

The prime rib I usually pick up for my wife and me at Trinity is so enormous we can barely finish it. That makes me feel wasteful. But I also feel wasteful about my boat, my gleaming Cobalt that my pal Tim keeps in such pristine shape. I don’t use it anywhere near enough. Waste. My whole life is about waste.

After dinner, for the last several nights I have been watching a four-hour documentary about the war between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. It’s called “Eastern Front 1941-45.” It traces the war from Stalin’s astounding butchery and Hitler’s insane racist murderousness through every major battle.

Well, no. Through a few major battles. There were almost 20,000 Russians killed every day of the war. So there were too many battles to count, let alone to show.

At one point, the Nazis would take 300 miles in a few days. By Stalingrad it took them a month to take one street. The mistakes made by The Fuhrer were so immense, so imbecilic, that we free people owe much of our happiness to his mania and idiocy. If he had been a more well trained foe, western Europe might well still be Nazi.

But mostly, we owe the Russian people, who suffered on a scale we in Idaho cannot imagine. Their bravery and strength, tortured by Stalin and the wickedness of Bolshevism on their own side and by the incomprehensible cruelty of Hitler and his mad murderers on the other, is mind boggling.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again. We should have a monument somewhere in D.C. on the Russian “Frontovik” who saved the world. And then a thousand to the U.S. fighting men and women who saved us from the Nazis and the Reds.

Just to keep you up tonight… At one point, as the Russians were pursuing the retreating Germans, they came to a village where they found a vast field thinly covered over with dirt. The dirt was moving. Under the dirt were large numbers of young boys whose blood had been sucked from their veins by the Germans to use for treating their wounded officers.

(How did they deal with problems of blood type? I guess they had been keeping files of the boys’ blood types. You know how efficient the Germans are.)

When the war was over, the Russians repatriated millions of former slave laborers of Soviet origin forced to work for the Reich. Stalin killed most of them just for the sin of being alive. That’s Socialism. That’s Marxism. That’s the government taking care of the people instead of the people taking care of the people.

How anyone, even the stupidest and most malign, like Bernie Sanders, can look at the history of Marxism, buried miles deep in blood and torment, and then recommend Marxism to this most blessed America — that’s not just stupid. It’s evil.

Well, so I watch these documentaries and then I go to my guest room and listen to the trains roaring by, making the building shake. How many, many trains of terror there have been in Europe. Infinite trains. Infinite horror. Here, in North Idaho, paradise, it’s a reassuring train sound.

After dinner tonight, while my wife ate her dessert, I had a talk with a high school Junior from a prosperous part of California’s Bay Area. I asked her if she knew who Winston Churchill was. She is a stunningly beautiful girl and smiled winsomely.

“A black activist?” she suggested tentatively.

What hope is there when we forget the past? A whole generation has been brought up knowing nothing about what is important and noble about man and about what is evil. Witness Bernie Sanders.

But, for right now, my wife is sleeping a blissful sleep. The trains are roaring by.

“Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana said that.

“Who controls the present controls the past. Who controls the past controls the future.” Orwell said something like that.

Winston Churchill. “A black activist?” Out of the mouth of the most beautiful child you can imagine. An actual angel.

“God help us.” I said that.

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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