It Did Happen Here

George C. Joseph is the sole owner of Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu, a family owned and operated business in Melbourne, Florida. Sunshine Dodge is one of 789 Chrysler dealerships being forced out of business as of June 9, 2009.

Rush Limbaugh mentioned his story on Wednesday. Mr. Joseph sent the following letter this week to the American Thinker:

My name is George C. Joseph. I am the sole owner of Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu, a family owned and operated business in Melbourne, Florida. My family bought and paid for this automobile franchise 35 years ago in 1974. I am the second generation to manage this business.

. . . On Thursday, May 14, 2009 I was notified that my Dodge franchise, that we purchased, will be taken away from my family on June 9, 2009 without compensation and given to another dealer at no cost to them. My new vehicle inventory consists of 125 vehicles with a financed balance of 3 million dollars. This inventory becomes impossible to sell with no factory incentives beyond June 9, 2009. Without the Dodge franchise we can no longer sell a new Dodge as “new,” nor will we be able to do any warranty service work. Additionally, my Dodge parts inventory, (approximately $300,000.) is virtually worthless without the ability to perform warranty service. There is no offer from Chrysler to buy back the vehicles or parts inventory.

. . . HOW IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CAN THIS HAPPEN?

THIS IS A PRIVATE BUSINESS, NOT A GOVERNMENT ENTITY.

This is beyond imagination! My business is being stolen from me through NO FAULT OF OUR OWN. We did NOTHING wrong.

This atrocity will most likely force my family into bankruptcy. This will also cause our 50+ employees to be unemployed. How will they provide for their families? This is a total economic disaster.

HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN IN A FREE MARKET ECONOMY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?

Full text here

This story reminds me of something that happened to my family a long time ago. When my mother was a little girl, her father was killed in an accident leaving behind his wife and 11 children (including 3 adopted orphans).

My mom’s older brother, who later became my Godfather, was only 14 at the time. He quit school and worked long hours to support the family. After a few years, he’d saved enough money to open a grocery store, which eventually grew into a successful business.

One day Change came and my Godfather’s business was seized by the government. A few years later, the same government took his house without compensation and gave it to somebody else.

This happened in Cuba in the early years of the Communist revolution. Whenever stories like this of life under Communism are told to a large enough group, you can almost count on two reactions. Usually at least one liberal in the group will reflexively side with the Communists: “Well your Godfather must have been exploiting the poor.” Or: “He was probably a Batista supporter.” As if that justified what the Communists did. (If my Godfather had been a Batista supporter or guilty of any “crimes against the Revolution,” he would have been summarily shot or left to rot in jail.)

The other response one invariably hears to stories like this is: “Well, it can’t happen here.” This pronouncement is often accompanied a smug self-satisfied look that suggests the speaker deserves credit for his blissful state of affairs, while the victims of tyranny deserve blame for their misfortunes. As for George C. Joseph, he’s beginning to learn the real meaning of “Hope and Change”™:

“It’s down to me, the change has come, he’s under my thumb.”

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