McCarthyism is Back!

So are racism, bigotry, and other shameless prejudices. Compound this with an increasingly ignorant and poorly informed public that relies increasingly on very limited sources of news and political/social commentary. The iPhone society and Twitter language replacing good English limit people’s ability to think for themselves and have a adequate grasp of important issues and events. Newspapers that reflect dedication to the truth and intellectual honesty are disappearing. Hype and sensationalism dominate the “news.” I began with McCarthyism because every day major conservative outlets suggest that all Democrats are socialists – or worse, communists. Lindsey Graham was the most recent public official to articulate this silly, but pernicious idea.

Putting it mildly, the concepts of Democracy and respect for fellow citizens and the truth are on the wane. Emotional, irrational behavior and proclamations have gained the upper hand. Regrettably, well educated and affluent Americans take pride in their ignorance, often saying it keeps them free of  “outside influences” that would lead them to bias. Donald Trump personifies this mentality. He is as ignorant and uniformed as any president has ever been. He wastes endless amounts of time being his own propaganda chief with the mantra “any publicity is good publicity.” He is intellectually lazy and unfit to represent this country and the values that we cherish.

These are not minor deficiencies. Whatever his flaws, Barack Obama was just the opposite kind of person – the reason Trump still attacks him constantly as if he were a current political adversary. Attacking Hillary Clinton is equally inappropriate, but Trump’s “base” loves it. Creating a false threat to instill fear is an age old tactic used by dictators and other imposters. Our real threats are Russia and China, especially Russia. Yet Trump loves Putin and regularly praises other tyrants like Kim Jong-un.

Fortunately, Trump’s threat to our country’s basic values would be far worse if he to be craftier, like Hitler and other tyrants present and past. Yes, many have or had smart advisers, but Trump relies primarily on himself. The advisers he has chosen have largely failed to gain traction with him or the public. Moreover, behaving like a pompous fool doesn’t seem to hurt him – a sad commentary on the state of the union that doesn’t bode well for our future. Please, prove me wrong by delivering a guilty verdict next November.

By Rolf Henel

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