AFTER President Reagan came home from his communist-disturbed visit to Europe, everybody down at the town tennis courts began discussing communism. No one actually came out in favor of it. It is just a more interesting subject than possible cuts in social security. Various conclusions were reached. Communism, we decided, is popular only where the people came out of something worse, horrible as that thought might be. It stays popular because otherwise one gets his head bashed in.
The main argument among the tennis set against communism was that no good tennis players ever came out of the Soviet Union. The reason for this, some thought, was because any Russian smart enough to make it to Wimbledon or Forest Hills would certainly be smart enough never to go back to Moscow. So training Soviet tennis players would be a risky investment.
But the big question remained. If communism isn't very good, why is it so successful in frustrating a big democracy like the United States? No one could answer this question, so President Reagan got the blame.
You see, Mr. Reagan and his friends have been making a fuss over Nicaragua for such a long time, the whole world watches the activity like a soap opera. Somehow, the US, the strongest and most dependable nation in the world, always finds itself beating some tiny country over the head, trying to make it see the errors of communism.
Sizewise, this isn't a very good advertisement for democracy, because the world will side with the little guy -- and thus, communism gets a lot of credit. Gorbachev and Ortega giggle and hug each other.
Does Nicaragua, not any bigger than the state of Iowa, really constitute an ``extraordinary threat to the national security'' of the US? Other nations in the world can't believe it. So Nicaragua's power in communism must be in just saying the word. When somebody says the word, Washington goes into a screaming panic.
The final decision down at the tennis court was that communism would die out faster if President Reagan had never heard of it.