A new call to McCarthyism?

In the not so distant past of America, 1950-54, there was a sweeping fear in America. The fear of Communism lead the nation to wrongfully imprison hundreds, while persecuting tens of thousands. All of this often just on the hearsay evidence of a ‘secret’ tip to authorities. This was McCarthyism.

The term is directly taken from Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. He was responsible for the creation of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, and the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. All were a means of accusing, without tangible proof, citizens of being anything but patriots. Objection was seen as complicity in a web of plots against the nation that had neither beginning nor end. Mere acquaintense with a person of suspect background was enough to justify persecution.

Over time, the nation came to see what McCarthyism was – a vile act of persecution based solely in political propoganda and an attempt to usurp the Constitution. But history repeats itself, especially when people forget past lessons.

Thus, after 9/11, America as a whole became fixated upon Islam. A religion that the majority of Americans had never heard of prior to that day. Muslim extremists became the national boogeyman; in the weeks after that tragic day hundreds of Americans were persecuted – whether they were Pakastani, Indians, Hindus, Christians, of Middle Eastern decent, or just because they had dark skin and/or an unusual name.

Once again the nation calmed and regained its composure. But the seeds were sown. As history has proven, fear needs no rationality just time and forgetfulness to take hold upon the masses.

So in December 2006, Rep. Virgil Goode of Virginia wrote a letter to constituents. The letter described

“I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.”

What prompted the letter? The election of Rep. Keith Ellison, Representative Keith Ellison of MNthe first Muslim Representative in the House in the history of the nation. More directly, it was the fact that Rep. Ellison was going to use a Quran to be sworn in upon (as his religion would require) instead of a Bible.

We noted at the time

“I would like to know how a person’s religion has anything to do with immigration, legal or otherwise…

If this letter were aimed at those who are Jewish the outcry would be huge. If it were against Lutherans, or Protestants, or born-again Christians Rep. Goode would have calls to be removed. Why should it be any different when this is directed against Muslims?…

The actual statement from Rep. Goode seems to be that Black or Arab or non-White Muslims are a bad thing for America. If that is correct it is blatant racism. That kind of thinking once justified slavery, and genocide. Actually it still does, which is a shame…”

In the end, Rep. Ellison was sworn in, with a Koran, and continues to serve as the elected representative of his district at this time. But the seed of fear grew.

On June 13, 2012 Rep. Michelle Bachmann took the next step. In a letter to Ambassador Howard Geissel of the Department of State, Rep. Bachmann accused Huma Abedin – a Deputy Chief of Staff for the Department of State under Secretary Hillary Clinton – of essentially being a spy/traitor against the United States. The exact wording was

“Her [Huma Abedin] position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy-making.”

The proof, stated in the same letter, was that the late father, mother and brother of Mrs Abedin were connected to operatives and/or organizations connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.The Muslim Brotherhood being an organziation in the Middle East that has secured a political position in Egypt’s government and is considered by some as a radical extremist group.

Once again the fear that fed McCarthy has risen. This time against a religion and government ideology foriegn to America, but once again mere association – at least once removed from the person in question – is sufficient to induce persecution.

Senator John McCain of AZ
This is not what America is about. Senator John McCain, among other politicians, took a stand against this today. Rightly Senator McCain stated

“Ultimately, what is at stake in this matter is larger even than the reputation of one person. This is about who we are as a nation, and who we still aspire to be. What makes America exceptional among the countries of the world is that we are bound together as citizens not by blood or class, not by sect or ethnicity, but by a set of enduring, universal, and equal rights that are the foundation of our constitution, our laws, our citizenry, and our identity. When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.”

We agree with Senator McCain, Rep. Ellison (who has also made remarks about this), and many others that America is a nation not bound and led blindly by fear. We recall the scope of McCarthyism and the negative impact on the nation because of it. We stand by Huma Abedin, and any other American that has their patriotism questioned on the feeble thread of an association to anything that a particular elected official does not understand or like.

Yes, a real threat to the stability of America should always be exposed. With proof and credibility it should be presented openly to the public. But there is no shortcut to protecting this diverse nation. Having a specific religion, or having an association to individuals that don’t live up to the subjective standards of any one individual or organization, is not a proof of anything least of all actions against the nation.

In America the sins of the father do not pass to the child, and nothing should alter that longstanding tenet.

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