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The New McCarthyism

Ken Bone

Posted on December 1, 2017 09:48

7 users

We don't need the government to label us as "un-American" or blacklist us - we do it to each other.

Joseph McCarthy. Modern witch hunter. Central figure of the Red Scare. One of the most sinister figures in the history of our government. His efforts in the Senate led to some of our darkest moments; under his influence we had a climate where any accusation, no matter how unfounded, of unacceptable political beliefs could lead to a life-destroying spot on the black list. Once on this list of those with "un-American" beliefs you became ostracized. Employers, communities, friends, even family members would shun and disavow you because you had been forever tainted by tangential association to "the bad guys."

Anything here sound uncomfortably familiar?

We may no longer shrink away from accused Communists, but that doesn't mean we've learned anything. We like to think that we are so much more tolerant than our parents or grandparents, but in this incredibly divided political climate our enlightenment is beginning to fray at the edges. Old habits are creeping in. Check your Twitter feed. Read through a few replies to any public figure of any political affiliation. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Welcome back. How long did it take you to see a reply call someone either a racist, a socialist, a Trumptard or a cuck? Probably not long, and that's disturbing. So many times we throw about these inflammatory words with little or no basis.

"You prefer smaller government? That's because you hate poor minorities, you racist. Go back to worshiping your God King Trump, I'm never speaking to you again."

"You think we need universal healthcare? You just want to the government to decide who lives and who dies, pinko. You're not invited to Christmas dinner!"

There have been many stories since the election of people turning away from friends because they voted for Trump. "How could you? He's history's greatest monster and you're complicit in every one of his actions!" Plenty more of right wing people shutting themselves off from all dissenting opinion. This echo chamber mentality coupled with the mainstream acceptance of political hatred benefits no one.

Or does it?

It benefits those already in power. What better way to ensure that your base will never turn away from you. If the other side refuses to work with or talk to them they'll never be able to sway you. If you hate your political opponents on principle you will never grow or change. And that's the way the parties want it. More time spent giving your uncle the cold shoulder over his ideology means less time actually reading the news.

A less informed electorate that relies only on sensational headlines is easy to manipulate. When we refuse to debate based on ideas, we lose our edge. Our own positions become weak and stagnant. We will never be able to challenge the political establishment when all we do is fight each other. So next time someone tells you they voted for a thing you hate, ask them why, then actually listen to the answer. We might all learn something.

Ken Bone

Posted on December 1, 2017 09:48

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