“My peers and I were the last Soviet tweens and teens raised to the murmur of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)—America’s most effective Cold War weapon and mouthpiece for the star-spangled-banner brand of freedom,” writes Komska, an assistant professor of German. “For us and many in our Eastern-bloc cohort, the United States was the ultimate brand. But high on the winds of renewal, we misheard Nautilus’ key message. ‘Your worn jeans,’ the lead singer serenaded across the pond, ‘have become too tight for me.’ ”
She continues, “What we then understood as a call to update our faded denim was really an overture in a requiem for the fading myth of America. And a quarter-century later, as a growing number of post-Soviet states clamp down on democracy, the farewell rings more prescient than ever before.”
Komska, a Dartmouth Public Voices fellow, concludes, “A quarter-century down the road from 1989, the U.S. may start to realize that its much-touted Cold War victory may well have marked one of its biggest losses—not of a political sphere of influence but of the power to inspire. Because such power is democracy’s best friend.”
Read the full opinion piece, published 2/19/14 by Al Jazeera America.