In David Oshinsky’s fine biography of Senator Joseph McCarthy ( A Conspiracy so Immense) we learn of the political climate in the early 1950s concerning the ( supposed ) threat of Communism. What many do not understand about Sen. McCarthy was that he was not the first or the only force in this movement to uncover this ‘ Red Menace’. In 1950, state and local governments actually competed to see who would ‘ crack down hardest’ on this Communist threat. What I am about to repeat from Oshinsky’s book is not satire or any sort of humor… though it can be construed as such. Here goes: Indiana forced professional wrestlers to sign a Loyalty Oath. Ohio declared Communists ineligible for unemployment benefits. Pennsylvania barred them from all state programs with but one exception- blind Communists would be cared for. In good ole Nebraska each school district was directed to inspect textbooks for ‘ Foreign ideas’, and to set aside a few hours each week for the singing of patriotic songs. Birmingham, Alabama, ordered all Communists to leave town. Jacksonville, Florida, ( the state where ‘ off the radar of reason’ Governor DeSantis now rules ) made it a crime to communicate with a former or present Red. When the city council of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, discussed a similar proposal, two Communists appeared to lobby against the passage of this order. One of them was jailed for ‘ Disorderly conduct’. The other was run out of town. In the Spring of that year, 1950, the anti Communist rhetoric paid big dividends in the primary elections. In California, Richard Nixon won the GOP Senatorial primary by red baiting President Truman. Nixon said ” The Commies don’t like it when I smash into him, but the more the Communists yell, the surer that I am in bringing the Red danger to the attention of the voters.”
With this pandemic still strangling us with its Delta Variant tentacles, the ( what I call them ) Neo Fascists and the party they belong to, are in full force. The right wing media and internet sites are filled with rhetoric labeling anyone who wants to improve our general welfare as being ‘ Socialists and Communists’. President Joe Biden, who this writer has lambasted for decades for being a Neo Con empire loving tool, is now called a Red, as are most of his party. This is the guy who still refuses ( as did his buddy Obama and Ms Hillary) support for Medicare for All, cutting this obscene military spending, closing many of our 1000+ foreign military bases, and really taxing the Super Rich instead of through candy schemes. Yet, the pendulum and moral compass have become so out of whack that many Americans are confused… except of course the MAGA crowd. Imagine a governor of a state actually creating a law through his minions in the statehouse which gives license for a driver to run over protestors if they get in the way. No consequences at all, just plow into them, even if they are peaceful First Amendment citizens, as once again ‘ Right wing might makes right’. However, this governor, DeSantis, will overlook it when it is those patriotic Anti Communist Cubans in Miami who may be out there doing the rioting.
You see, the way this Neo Fascist mindset operates, if the pandemic began in China, and China is ( technically ) Communist, then it was a Communist attack on us. If the federal government wants us to all be vaccinated and wear face masks during this variant surge, that is another signal that we are under a Communist or Socialist agenda. As the fool in Tallahassee continues to keep Florida open for business and schooling, with NO mandates or restrictions…. our state now accounts for 25% of the new cases of Covid, though Florida only has but less than 15% or our nation’s population. Yet, instead of having a real ‘ War on the Pandemic’ both the Republicans and Democrats still wish to create a new and better Cold War! Leading the charge, sadly, are many of the evangelicals and Zionists who find time to run to church each Sunday ( and synagogue on Saturday) praying for their God to deliver them from this Red Menace. If only the Jesus that I study and admire could make that visit to our crazy world and start running the lot of them out of their Churches and Temples.
Philip A Farruggio is regular columnist on It’s the Empire… stupid website. He is also frequently posted on Nation of Change, and Countercurrents.org,. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 400 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the ‘ It’s the Empire… Stupid ‘ radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.