Sunday April 12, 2020
'I Understood Their Bigotry But Not Their Power'
“The Hollywood Ten were summoned before the House committee, but the [HUAC] committee members seemed only stupid; I understood their bigotry but not their power. Who, really, could be on their side? I also knew the Communist Party was no menace. After all, I belonged to it. The charge that we wanted to overthrow the government by force and violence was ludicrous. Nothing I had ever done or intended or even thought was designed for that. No one I knew in the Party even dreamed of it. Our meetings might have been less boring if they had. I took for granted that I could be both radical and accepted, since that had always been the case.”
— Walter Berstein, “Inside Out: A Memoir of the Blacklist.” It's a great read because Bernstein is a great writer: straightforward, with a dry wit, and a slight shrug about the way of the world. The above reminds me of current Democratic complacency: “I understood their bigotry but not their power” and “Who could be on their side?” I'm also reminded of assumptions about the pre- and post-Covid worlds: “I took for granted [X], since that had always been the case.” One wonders what we took for granted on Jan. 1 that will no longer be the case on Dec. 31.
Bernstein went on to write “The Front,” starring Woody Allen. The memoir is available in hardover, paperback, and on Kindle for only $4.99.