Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Memo To Anita Dunn

Re: Mao

Ms. Dunn, I have listened with interest to recent interviews in which you identified Chairman Mao as one of your favorite political philosophers. While granting that he accomplished remarkable things, I cannot overlook the fact that most of his writings, at least in English translation, are unremarkable, or the fact that historians hold him responsible for the deaths of 70 million of his countrymen. Certainly that is a record I do not wish my government to emulate; I also trust it is one you do not support.

I apologize bringing the Chairman's blood soaked record to you in such a peremptory manner, but your comments suggest you are a relatively young person who merely knows Mao as the kindly face beaming from the portrait in Tianamin Square. On the other hand, I recall the Cultural Revolution, have a friend whose father was sent off to be "re-educated," and a copy of Mao's Little Red Book. By the way is it true that re-education camps are part of Mr. Obama's agenda for 2010?

But to improve your understanding of Mao, allow me to offer a sample of what passes as "penetrating thought":

"All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said, 'Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.' To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather."

So I may avoid a "light weight" death, could you perhaps advise who the Administration currently regards as the fascists, the exploiters and the oppressors? Is there perhaps a Web site where I can sign up for automatic updates? I would hate to miss a purge or a show trial; I would dislike that nearly as much as I would to be called a kulak or a wrecker myself.

But if worst comes to worst, and we are both sent for re-education, perhaps you will have the time and the inclination to explain to me how you reconcile the works of Mao with those of Mother Therese. It might help while away the time leading to our appointment with the firing squad.

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