McCarthy, Nixon, And Trump
To The Reader’s Forum:
What do McCarthy, Nixon and Trump all have in common. At first glance, they seem to be very different people, acting under very different circumstances.
Senator Joe McCarthy inflamed fear of “hidden” Communists during the early 1950s, which led to the persecution of innocent Americans, actors, teachers, diplomats and scientists. Tens of thousands of Americans lost their jobs and had their careers destroyed. President Nixon inflamed nationalism against anti-Vietnam War activists and Civil Rights activists, from 1969 to 1974. Working with J. Edgar Hoover many of them were persecuted using the F.B.I’s COINTELPRO program. Trump is now trying to imitate McCarthy and Nixon. Many people do not know that Trump was tutored in how to use fear mongering by this close friend and lawyer, Roy Cohn. Cohn happened to be the assistant of Senator Joe McCarthy, during his anti-Communist witch-hunts. As Bob Woodward reported in his book about Trump’s initial months as President, Trump believes that political power arises out of fear (Fear: Trump in the White House).
McCarthy, Nixon and Trump all preached the ideal of limited government, while at the same time expanding the power of the national government to threaten our civil liberties. All of them used nationalism to enhance their personal power.
All turned Americans against other Americans, exaggerating division and polarization. All inflated fear of crime and so-called leftist extremism to gain political advantage. All attacked the news media, when it reported truths they didn’t want published. All were habitual liars. All were Republicans and ultimately weakened the traditional Republican Party.
The past does repeat itself in strange and unexpected ways. Perhaps, the first time around, there are monsters while during the last time around there are buffoons who imitate monsters. Hopefully, the Trump nightmare will end the same way, as did McCarthy and Nixon, with rejection by a majority of Americans.