Monday, January 03, 2005


McCarthyism and Bush

I just finished rereading "The Nightmare Decade" by Fred Cook and the parallels between McCarthyism in the 1950's and the current tactics of the Bush administration are indeed remarkable. Of course, Senator Joe McCarthy led a crusade to rid the government of Communists in the early to mid 1950's, a crusade that destroyed the lives of many innocent people in this nation. Even though many Republicans in McCarthy's own party, including President Eisenhower, disapproved of his tactics, they went along with his agenda because of the damage it inflicted on the Democratic Party and the State Dept. remnants of FDR's New Deal. Key people with effective insight into the world's problems were basically blacklisted, depriving this nation of important input into our government's foreign policies.

One theme throughout Cook's book was the tactic McCarthy and his band of red-hunters constantly used to inflict damage on the "enemy". This was the tactic of continually spinning new lies, practically everyday, through the mainstream media. Just about all of McCarthy's charges proved without foundation over those nightmare years, but his continual accusations actually caught on to a public that was basically uninformed to the finer details of each case. The terrified public came to hang on to every word McCarthy uttered, whether it was proven or not. The main scare theme was that there was a gigantic worldwide communist plot to subvert the world and Moscow's hidden agents were everywhere, subverting the American system.

Sound familiar? Today the main scare characters are not communists, but terrorists. And similar to the McCarthy days, there is a "you are for us or you are against us" type of simplistic mind set to the "problem". The Bush propaganda machine would have us believe that anyone who reveres human rights and our Constitution is a possible enemy in the war on terror. And similar to McCarthyism, a person only needs to be accused of something to be smeared with the taint of public guilt. Joe McCarthy made most of his accusations in the Senate chambers, where he was protected by legal immunity. He never specifically mentioned names of "subversives" outside the chambers for fear of lawsuit. This administration has demonstrated a similar disregard for people's lives.

When Republicans respond to criticism by accusing their critics of taking advantage of administration problems for political gain, I can't help but cringe inside because I see just the opposite happening. Just because it is an election year doesn't mean our Senators and Representatives should stop doing their jobs in the balance of power setup. Critics are being treated just like McCarthy used to treat his- by accusing them of injecting politics into serious government business and basically threatening to undermine the administration. I am sure that political gain can come from exposing the Bush Administration for what it really is, but the Bush Administration and its supporters have no one to blame but themselves, not the critics who are well entitled to their voices in our supposed democracy.

This administration has borrowed a page from the book of McCarthyism, and like McCarthyism, it must be censured and rebuked if this nation is to ever climb back to its once prestigious standing in the world. Accusing critics of treason, politics or what-have-you is 180 degrees from the truth. The truth is that Bush and Co. would gladly wage genocide and abuse Americans rights if it will keep them in power! This is what they have done for the last three years and it doesn't take a political opportunist to see it!

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