Wednesday, March 4, 2009

And now, a message from history?

NOW THAT "SOCIALISM" has become the hottest buzzword of the masters on the political right,  it  seems we're not more than a step or two away from setting up a politburo on Pennsylvania Ave.  Granted the USSR was our post-war enemy as a tightly-controlled Communist enterprise while Nazi Germany was our enemy as the National Socialist party - powerful rivals in WWII - little distinction is mentioned today between the ideologies.  Indeed, right-wing Fox hosts like Glenn Beck are trying to engage a wider viewing audience with blurring  references to "comrade" and talk  of "revolution"- on the horizon.  He sees no difference between Democrats and Communists.  Or did he mean socialists?  Or whatever.

We are regressing to the nutty mean-spirited days of the  ,'5os,  '60s and early '7os  when Joe McCarthy, a dangerous Republican senator from Wisconsin, and the John Birch Society, among others, took wide liberties in destroying the reputations of individuals.  Fearful university professors defensively made references to Karl Marx in their philosophy classes.    Ohio State University barred suspected Communist speakers from the campus with a ridiculous Speakers Rule.   Americans were challenged on whether it would be better to be dead than red.  President Eisenhower was commonly called a "comsymp."  Books were stripped from libraries.  

A particularly glaring  example of how the Radical Right schemes worked drove  an all-American guy from his job at Miami Trace High School in Ohio.  A few details:  Dan O'Brien was an ex-Marine, Korean War veteran and football coach who sinned by defending the United Nations.  Anonymous hate-mail campaigns and various other pressures on the family prompted O'Brien to finally quit his job and spare his wife and children  of further despair. It is one of the ugliest stories in Buckeye history.

All the while, Sen. Frank Lausche was trying to salvage his primary campaign against John Gilligan in speeches to small-town audiences warning that unnamed Communists were freely  operating in the federal government.  (When I asked him to name one, he flared with nasty shouts and left the room, my question still unanswered.)  History will show that he lost the election anyway. 

That is the upside of today's Radical Right attempts to scare us with  rants about socialism and the ogre of a totalitarian Barack Obama, a mere couple of months into a four-year term.  The Rush Limbaughs and  Glenn Becks  of an earlier generation lost decisively.  Is there anything to be learned from history for the current crop of air-wave comedians?     


chien lunatique said...

This is an open challenge to all of the wingnuts who read this blog. Can you identify for me the origins of socialism? I'm curious to know if you can do anything beyond mouthing talking points.

PJJinOregon said...

The man of Steele has met his match. After showing enough steely determination to criticize the actual chairman of the GOP, Steele (the nominal chairman) beat a hasty retreat with a rapid apology to Rushbo. Somehow I yearn for the Palin days.

Mencken said...

The Man of Steele brought to his knees by Rushbo's kryptonite.

Mark said...

I don't think I am a wingnut - I am definitely not one who bows at the throne of Obama. He is trying to get a socialist agenda across - spread the weatlth, big government, trying to get the goverment into every aspect of America - i.e. banking, the car industry, and his spending plans are going to bankrupt this country - and you guys thought Bush was bad?!

Mencken said...

Mark, the government was pulled into the banking and auto industry by CEO's giving ultimatums of 'give us billions or we'll perish". If anyone is pressing for a redistribution off the wealth, its GM and AIG.

chien lunatique said...

Mark, can you enlighten us as to why socialism is bad? I'd like to hear something beyond the standard wingnut drivel.