Commentary of ’89 : Thomas Osborne on Soviet Stereotypes

During 1989, many Orange County residents wrote about their thoughts and feelings in commentary pieces for Orange County opinion pages. As the year comes to a close, we look back on some of those thoughts.

During my first trip to the Soviet Union last December, there were moments when I wondered whether I was being unpatriotic by being there. “These people are a bunch of Communists,” I thought to myself.

After all, I am a middle-aged, church-going family man who has spent the bulk of his adult life teaching American history and political institutions to community college students in conservative Orange County.

Then the realization struck me: I was being hit by stereotypes and prejudices I had been carrying around since childhood.


Growing up during the McCarthy era of the 1950s, I had been influenced far more than I realized by the prevailing climate of distrust and hatred of the Soviet Union.