Growing up in East Germany after the war, I saw socialism and communism in action for all that it was — not what it was supposed to do. My mom told my dad many times, “Be careful what you say — they are watching.” Well, dad didn’t listen. One day, he was picked up and taken to a house where he was beaten up and worked over real good. Coming back, he said he never wanted to go back thee again. My dad wasn’t a coward, but the secret police knew how to break people down and shut them up.

Now, here, in America, I am confronted with very upsetting matters. Very few people realize how serious matters are.

Nobody here picks us up and works us over. The media has done a job on us to shut us up. Speaking up would make us racists and politically incorrect. Are we afraid, or plain don’t care? My dad stood up tall! I will never forget that. He will always be my hero to guide me in my life and has done so many years.

America is at a crossroad. We must take the right direction. I love you, America, and always will.

Gisela M. Stearns, Idyllwild