I was born in 1981; this means I was bred to love video games (Mario Brothers), fear Russians (Die Hard) and hate communism (every news network). I still love video games and I do feel like I have been taken hostage every time I hear someone speak Russian. As for communism…I kind of forgot about it. Then I went to Vietnam.

Before (and during) my Vietnam trip I didn’t think about communism. Until the end, when my friend said, “Communism…It’s ok by me.” My reply while laughing, “what do you mean?”

He thought Vietnam would have been different.

We had a great time. We did everything you could possibly do in Hanoi in 48 hours. Water puppet show, Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum/house, the pagoda’s, the clubs, the museums’… you get the idea. We even spent an evening drinking on the roof of Center Point bar near the lake watching life go by. Awesome trip.

But when my friend said the communism comment it stuck. He couldn’t explain what he meant by different but he definitely didn’t think it would be so…so…normal; so regular. I guess I didn’t think so either. So why were we bred as Americans to hate communism? I grew up in a republic/democracy/capitalist society and it was ok…until I started asking questions and reading books. Then I realized it sucked big time (unless you’re rich).

Communism is about sharing the wealth, right? Everybody gets food, housing and shelter. Everyone can go to the doctor and stuff; not just the wealthy. Or is everyone a slave to the nation? No one matters because the only important thing is the country? Neither one of these ideologies seems to be true in Vietnam. So what the hell is Communism? After reading way too much about it here’s a definition I found:

1.

A theoretical economic system characterized by the collective ownership of property and by the organization of labor for the common advantage of all members.

2.

a. A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people.

b. The Marxist-Leninist version of Communist doctrine that advocates the overthrow of capitalism by the revolution of the proletariat.

 Ok, so let’s analyze this. Part 1 kind of sounds like George Orwell’s classic 1984 (we all know how that ends). Section 2a describes basically what the definition of “family” is. And section 2b describes the Occupy Wall Street movement.  It sounds really bad and really good at the same time. Like the idea of having sex with a prostitute.

I’ll tell you one thing. Communism isn’t as bad as people make you think it is, and neither is democracy; or Socialism or a Republic. It just depends on who you talk to. You know why Vietnam feels so normal? Because it’s filled with people. People just like you and me. Regular everyday people doing regular everyday people things.

Communism hasn’t changed the humanity in Vietnamese people, something I’m sad that I can’t say about Capitalism in America.