History shows that revolutionaries like to use “useful idiots”

People took to the streets of Pembroke on June 26 to demonstrate against police brutality and social injustice, and the effects of the protest are still being felt.

On July 1, the city government declared a state of emergency which remains in effect.

Area residents, students and staff at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke who took part in the march are still angry at the racial slurs shouted by those lining the road in protest.

A troubling situation at a time when people are already tense over a pandemic and images of American cities showing violence, looting and fires resulting from protests defending the same causes that sparked the Pembroke march.

But the declaration of emergency will eventually be canceled. And the pain will subside, if no one continues to put verbal salt in the wounds.

What will remain until the revolutionary zeal fueling protests here and across the country wears off or political and law enforcement leaders end the marches and riots is the danger. potential for the youth of Robeson County and our nation caught up in the rush for change. They are our children. They could be injured, or worse, in riots that could break out during what should have been a peaceful protest.

Historians and political and financial figures of the early to mid-twentieth century referred to these young intellectual soldiers fighting for one cause or another as “useful fools.”

History lesson: the origin of the expression is unclear, but some say it was first coined by Vladimir Lenin, the father of the Bolshevik revolution that led to the bloody overthrow of the monarchy Russian Federation in 1917 and the creation of a Communist government. Others attribute the expression to Joseph Stalin, who after Lenin’s death in 1924 won a power struggle for control of the Communist Party. He was dictator of the Soviet Union in the late 1920s. Historians also attribute the deaths of around 20 million people to Stalin, victims of labor camps, forced collectivization, famine and executions. And that was before the start of WWII.

Enough history! It’s not like he’s teaching the mistakes of the past and bringing in knowledge that can form the basis of a better future.

The point is, revolutionaries like useful idiots because they tend to be innocent and naïve. They can easily be manipulated into action by brilliant symbolism and brilliant promises. Unlike their parents, they are not inhibited by pesky responsibilities, like feeding and sheltering a family.

That being said, to all true believers; God bless you and keep walking!

To you who are unsure, or who are walking because it’s exciting and the cool thing to do; don’t be silly! Don’t be a tool that can be used and then thrown aside when its usefulness ends.

The best way to avoid this is to arm yourself with knowledge before you gird yourself up in protest. Conduct extensive research into the cause behind the marches and the people who run them. It means stepping out of your echo chamber – that personal space filled only with material that reflects or echoes your beliefs.

If after doing your research you still have doubts, protect yourself. Go away. Don’t be a useful idiot.


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Thelma J. Longworth

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