Laura's Blog

Today and McCarthy

February 1, 2018

Comparisons to Watergate and today seem appropriate warnings about what we are witnessing these days in Washington. But we should also take Senator McCarthy and the 1950s Red Scare as lesson. For direct parallels between Trump and Red-hunter Senator Joe McCarthy (and who is this Roy Cohn that Trump was referring to when he complained about not having lawyers protecting him adequately) see this post from the fall: http://lmelliott.com/lauras-blog/mccarthy-trump-connections/.  

Today, I’d simply like to point out that it took a straight-arrow lawyer in OPEN Senate hearings to finally check McCarthy’s relentless manipulation of fact, fear-mongering, and name-calling as he sought to rid the government and the nation itself of people who didn’t agree with him. (This is not to question there was a legitimate Communist threat from the Soviet Union.)

In his State of the Union this week, Trump said: “Tonight, I call on Congress to empower every Cabinet secretary with the authority to reward good workers and to remove federal employees who undermine the public trust or fail the American people.” That feels a not-so-subtle threat. It and the revelations that Trump constantly asks public servants if they are loyal to him and how they voted in the presidential election, plus the methodical firing of people involved with the Russia probe, and the anticipated release of Nunes’ memo aimed to discredit Robert Mueller are chilling echoes of the 1950s and McCarthyism—when thousands of people lost their jobs, sometimes simply because they had Russian friends or interests, signed a liberal “radical” petition, or protested what they felt were oppressive laws or civil rights violations. Or opposed McCarthy’s tactics. 

The 1950s brought Loyalty Oaths and review boards. “Under God” added to the pledge of allegiance. Guilt by association replacing actual evidence and due process of law. Witnesses called in front of hostile Congressional hearings, often purely on fishing expeditions to root out other citizens to question. Those refusing to name names or who used their constitutional right to not self-incriminate, labeled “5th Amendment Communists” and slapped with contempt of Congress. Smear campaigns and discrediting opponents with half-truths or innuendo the political modus operandi.

By 1954, McCarthy had become so inflated with his power, he took on the U.S. Army and a much-decorated WWII general, claiming they were “soft on Communism” and even UnAmerican. Echoes with attacking the FBI?

During that televised hearing, Joseph Welch was the lead attorney for the Army. Twice, he caught McCarthy doctoring evidence and maybe even fabricating it altogether—immortalized in the Herblock cartoon below. Welch’s outraged cry —“Have you no sense of decency, sir?” –when McCarthy tried to discredit him by smearing his young associate as a possible Communist-sympathizer, resounded through the Senate hearing room and the nation, and helped break the hypnotic,  fearful hold McCarthy had on the United States.  Ultimately, it was Americans’ sense of decency that was the judge. 

 

Picture1.png

Other Blog Posts


A Long Song for George Washington

Posted by laura on February 19, 2018


24 hours until Event at Politics and Prose!

Posted by laura on February 18, 2018


Guest Blog: 5 Fun Facts about George Washington

Posted by laura on February 16, 2018


Guest Blog: Historical Galentines!

Posted by laura on February 12, 2018


Fun for Sunday Afternoon!

Posted by laura on February 11, 2018


Countdown to Launch on Galentine’s Day!

Posted by laura on February 9, 2018


Guest Blog: Favorite Sisters in Fiction

Posted by laura on February 7, 2018


Happy Birthday to Aaron Burr, Sir

Posted by laura on February 6, 2018


Guest Blog: Discoveries in the NYPL by Mabel Hsu

Posted by laura on February 5, 2018


Guest Blog: The Creation of a Book Trailer

Posted by laura on February 2, 2018


Today and McCarthy

Posted by laura on February 1, 2018


A Schuyler Sisters Super Bowl

Posted by laura on January 31, 2018


Meet Peggy Schuyler!

Posted by laura on January 28, 2018


The Youngest Soldier of the Revolution

Posted by laura on January 26, 2018


Happy Birthday, Daveed!

Posted by laura on January 24, 2018


Guest Blog from Moxii

Posted by laura on January 21, 2018



Happy Birthday Benedict Arnold - January 14, 1741

Posted by adminC on January 10, 2018


Happy Birthday, Alexander! January 11

Posted by adminC on January 10, 2018


Happy Anniversary George and Martha!

Posted by laura on January 6, 2018


"The Hard Winter" when Peggy met Hamilton

Posted by laura on January 1, 2018


Happy New Year's!

Posted by laura on December 31, 2017


Duck and Cover Mindset

Posted by laura on October 9, 2017


Happy Birthday Fahrenheit 451!

Posted by laura on October 4, 2017


Banned Books & President Eisenhower

Posted by laura on September 28, 2017


Knocked Over By a Feather: McCarthy and Book Burning

Posted by laura on September 24, 2017


Librarians in the Battle of “Fake News”

Posted by laura on September 21, 2017


McCarthy to Trump Connections

Posted by laura on September 19, 2017


Fourth of July....And Peggy!

Posted by laura on July 4, 2017


Coming September 2017: SUSPECT RED

Posted by laura on April 17, 2017


Thoughts on Veteran's Day

Posted by laura on November 11, 2016



Leonardo the Writer

Posted by laura on April 19, 2016


A Live Look at Verrocchio

Posted by laura on April 18, 2016


The Teacher Behind Leonardo

Posted by laura on April 16, 2016


Happy Birthday, Leonardo da Vinci!

Posted by laura on April 15, 2016



The Town of Vinci

Posted by laura on April 12, 2016


Leonardo’s Top 5 Most Imaginative Inventions

Posted by laura on April 11, 2016


Valentine's Day During the Renaissance

Posted by laura on February 14, 2016


Valentine's Day Activities!

Posted by laura on February 8, 2016


Historical #WCW: Artemisia Gentileschi

Posted by laura on February 3, 2016


Anniversary of the Joust

Posted by laura on January 29, 2016


Great Falls Friends & Neighbors Event

Posted by laura on January 14, 2016


My New Literary Friends to the North

Posted by laura on January 4, 2016


Ti Amo, Piombino

Posted by laura on December 28, 2015


The Holidays in Renaissance Florence

Posted by laura on December 23, 2015


Florentine Decorations

Posted by laura on December 15, 2015


Just in Time for Holiday Shopping!

Posted by laura on December 4, 2015


A Very Renaissance Thanksgiving

Posted by laura on November 26, 2015


NCTE Thanks

Posted by laura on November 23, 2015


#TBT: Another guest blog!

Posted by laura on November 19, 2015


Guest Blog: Researching DA VINCI'S TIGER

Posted by laura on November 17, 2015


NCTE 2015

Posted by laura on November 17, 2015


Exciting News!

Posted by laura on November 13, 2015


So What Did Leonardo Really Look Like and Act Like?

Posted by laura on November 9, 2015


Get Your Plato On!

Posted by laura on November 7, 2015


The Ambassador

Posted by laura on November 2, 2015


#TBT: My love of horses

Posted by laura on October 29, 2015


The Lady Behind the Portrait

Posted by laura on October 28, 2015


LORENZO, Il Magnifico: The defacto ruler of Florence

Posted by laura on October 26, 2015


Throwback Thursday: My first trip to Florence

Posted by laura on October 22, 2015


The Kick-Butt Abbess

Posted by laura on October 21, 2015


Santa Croce: The Site of the Joust!

Posted by laura on October 20, 2015


Meet Florence’s “Prince of Youth”

Posted by laura on October 19, 2015


Some Loves Start Early!

Posted by laura on October 15, 2015


The Duomo Bells

Posted by laura on October 14, 2015


Leonardo's Other Female Portraits

Posted by laura on October 14, 2015


6 Things You May Not Know About Leonardo Da Vinci

Posted by laura on October 12, 2015


Epic Reads Discussion Guide

Posted by laura on October 8, 2015


Talk at the National Gallery of Art!

Posted by laura on October 7, 2015


First Reviews for Da Vinci's Tiger!

Posted by laura on September 27, 2015


NEW COVER for DA VINCI'S TIGER

Posted by laura on August 13, 2015


YA Sync Free Download of Under a War Torn Sky LIVE!

Posted by laura on August 6, 2015


Mark Your Calendars

Posted by laura on July 6, 2015


The Beauty of Synchronicity

Posted by laura on May 18, 2015


70th Anniversary of VE Day

Posted by laura on May 8, 2015


Why Write A Trilogy?

Posted by laura on April 14, 2015


Valentine's Day

Posted by laura on February 8, 2015


Listening to the Audiobook of Under a War Torn Sky

Posted by laura on February 3, 2015


A Wonderful Fall

Posted by adminC on October 29, 2014


close