McCarthy Returns in two nationalistic, yet unique ways: “Establishment” McCarthyism (with Russia as the enemy) and “Populist” McCarthyism (with Hispanics as the enemy).
Today’s Establishment McCarthyism stems from a fear of the outsider, just like the fear of the Hispanic immigrant, yet it is specifically the fear of autocratic Russian control over functions of US democracy. This fear, based on Russian hacking of DNC emails, has been conflated by the establishment elites to convince the populace into believing that President Trump is a stooge and puppet of Putin’s Russian government. Brewing throughout the Mueller investigation, this sentiment is not only growing at an alarming rate, but is reaching radical new extremes.
We now have Democratic leadership and some Republican leadership accusing the American President of treason. These nationalistic conspiratorial sentiments are spreading throughout the population like wildfire by CNN, MSNBC, and social media, mostly affecting the anti-Trump left. Indeed, many so called progressives of the United States are calling for a destruction to our relations with Russia, for repudiation and aggression towards Putin’s administration. Aren't there reasonable and principled ways to take down this president?
Mob rule, often via Twitter, is becoming more and more the favoured technique of justice in the United States, being born again out of fury over political rudeness, sexism, harassment, and abuse of power. Often it seems that bad people are taken down, which is a good thing, but now there is a precedent that because mob rule ruins the lives and careers of many bad people (where courts are failing to move quickly and/or effectively enough), that this is a legitimate form of justice. It is not!
The Mueller investigation has not concluded, has not yielded an indictment of the President, and has not declared that there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, yet so many on the left now declare Trump an actual traitor. They speak as if the investigation is complete. They jump the gun in the name of a short term political dream: take down Donald Trump.
But can we not defeat Trump with reasoned, principled debate? Are his critics so impatient and foolish that they turn to blind, paranoid nationalism? There is plenty of legitimate critique of this President, but that’s not happening. Instead, we have a dangerous radicalisation of so called progressives as well as establishment media and Republicans.
The United States never fully confronted its past demons born in the early days of the Cold War. From the Red Scare to the McCarthy age, where countless innocents were accused of collusion with Russian officials. Eventually, McCarthyism was stopped in its rapid ascension to power, but the crux of what happened was never fully appreciated, or perhaps it has been forgotten. The use of fear of the outsider as a means to attain political power, at the cost of our relationship with Russia and the persecution of innocent people is an American tradition. And this tradition is back with more fury than ever.
On top of this nightmare, the populist McCarthy sentiment is equally furious towards Hispanic immigrants. While the left, and the “old guard” Republicans stoke a war with Russia in order to take down their chief political enemy, that same political enemy stirs a McCarthyist battle against Hispanics. Trump’s use of fear to inspire white people to protect their majority status by casting Hispanics as criminal has helped to bring him into office. The reiteration of terms like “MS-13 gang murderers” and “Mexican rapists” would lead the casual listener to believe that south of the border has nothing to offer other than utter horror. These are the cheap, offensive, and dangerous tools that bring demagogues to power. And it is working.
Which leads me to my worry: As one block of the country encourages a war with Russia, and another block encourages the deportation and imprisonment of our immigrants, what about the rest of us? What about the climate? What happens if the anti-Trump movement succeeds to take him and his allies down, but replaces them with staunchly anti-Russian Democrats? Is this a good thing? In the current climate, I don’t see a Russia-positive leader coming to power after Trump.
Instead, if demagogue Trump fails, I predict the collapse of our relationship with Russia, being led by the Democratic Party.
We must take a step back. Understand that Russia is essentially a failed state that has a lot of nuclear weapons. We ought to encourage the Putin visit to the White House, not demonize it.
It is a worrying time, much like the lead up to the Iraq War when the majorities of the nation were swept away with misinformation and emotion. I see it happening again on all sides, and though I don’t know the answer to the problems, I know that I will not join one mob or the other.
It is becoming an increasingly lonely place, though.