The history surrounding the history of Joseph McCarthy, the late Republican senator from Wisconsin, is enough to make a “freedom of speech” lovin’ woman like me shudder. I’m sure it is no coincidence that Senator McCarthy died right after I was born. He wouldn’t have stood a chance against me once I hit grade school.
Anyway, for my foreign readers, Senator McCarthy was a nasty, paranoid piece of work. Here’s Wikipedia’s take on him:
Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion. He was noted for making claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the United States federal government and elsewhere. Ultimately, his tactics and inability to substantiate his claims led him to be censured by the United States Senate.
The term McCarthyism, coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy’s practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist activities. Today the term is used more generally in reference to demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents.
I also learned that McCarthy was equally ruthless at “outing” gays.
When McCarthy claimed that someone was a communist, generally speaking, it ruined his/her life. There were many innocent victims of McCarthyism, whose professional and private lives changed. Folks were fired, not hired, scorned. It impacted people in government, industry and in the arts. Many of us have heard of the folks in show business in particular who were charged. And anybody who had had any dealings with the Soviets was fair game.
We all like to think that we would never cast spurious allegations against anyone or anything on our planet. We all like to think that we are good, kind souls, who would never malign anyone unjustly. That we would never spread rumors or false charges.
Friends, yesterday I learned that I had done just that. I “red-baited.” So while I can ‘splain, I must set the scene.
John’s sister sent us a link to a video:
Naturally I wrote back because I love animal videos, they make me smile.
It was only the next day, when deleting emails from my phone, that I learned of my crime. Because instead of typing “He’s So Cute!” as I had intended, instead I maligned that little guy. Accused him unjustly. Probably ruined his new life for ever:
“He’s a Soviet,” I, courtesy of spell check, responded.*
Fortunately, John’s sister does not succumb to hysterics. Or to the politics of fear. Or to spell check. In fact, she gave me the benefit of the doubt when I confessed my crime to her.
I was scratching my head. I thought, is this some old Russian film and Elyse recognized it?
For the record, please let me state that I have no inside knowledge of the political leanings of this moose, any members of the baby moose’s immediate family, or indeed, I have no information about moose politics in general. May I also state, unequivocally, that I have never actually seen a moose in the wild.
Lastly, let me state that as a reasonably well-informed individual, I also know that the Soviet Union is no longer a union, and even the folks in the former Soviet Union are not soviets.
*Clearly, there are communist infiltrators at work at spell check. We must seek them out and destroy their lives. Let’s get Ted Cruz on it.