To mark the occasion, I wanted to write something really snarky like “Twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall came down. No reason, just kinda happened. Just one of those things”–but I think the sarcasm would be lost on too many people.
It still blows my mind that that stupid, ugly, evil wall was built in the same country that historically had produced so many great philosophers, artists, musicians, and inventors;
…that the people of East Germany and East Berlin suffered so long under the utter stupidity and violence of communism while their free brothers to the West blew right past them culturally and economically;
…and that so many useful idiots throughout the Cold War painted communism as a moral equivalent of capitalism, as a choice that the East Germans made, rather than something that was forced on them.
It should remind us that our past doesn’t inoculate us from everything that could go wrong in the future. It should remind us that free people must guard their freedom jealously and tirelessly.
I would love to know why President Obama thought it was important to make a campaign speech at the Brandenburg Gate, site of Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” speech, but not to attend festivities commemorating, say, the 20th anniversary of the tearing-down of said wall. I don’t think that’s a cheap shot, either; I think the occasion warranted a live appearance, not a video recording from the Oval Office.