The R’s are often accused of wanting to take the country back to a decade they’re more comfortable. A time when, say, African Americans knew their place at the back of the bus, when Hispanics were invisible…and non-voters, when women stayed in the home and out of politics. When rich white men basically ran everything and no one questioned them about anything.
The Republicans love the 1950’s. They apparently love it so much they’re willing to bring back the darkest aspect of it.
For it was in the 1950’s that a Republican Senator ran amok, damaging or destroying hundreds of his fellow citizens with wild accusations with little or no basis in fact, with files he didn’t have, with names he didn’t know. There was even an era that carried his name…and a political philosophy.
Senator Ted Cruz is a little young…and a little green in the Senate…to make quite such a ruckus in the body politic. And, truth to tell, the world of the McCarthy era gave at least a bit of cover to his nefarious activities. There were, after all, real Communists, real enemies, real spies. The Russians did have the bomb. The Soviet Union was a real adversary that could destroy us…we thought…as easily as we could destroy them.
There is no such enemy now except in the fevered imagination of the Republican Party. And the R’s are indeed, greatly fevered. There is no foreign enemy to rouse their fears. Oh, there is dark talk of Benghazi and Iran…but their enemies are not foreign but domestic. Their enemies are their political opponents and those they perceive as their opponents.
In the few weeks since he took up residence in the Senate of the United States, Senator Cruz has taken to channeling the spirit of Senator McCarthy. He has raised the possibility that Chuck Hagel, the President’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, accepted money from the nation’s enemies in North Korea and Iran. What these payments might have been for or what services Senator Hagel might have performed to earn them he doesn’t say…or even suggest. Indeed, he offers no evidence whatsoever that any such payments were made. And just so we don’t forget the “C” word, Senator Cruz has suggested that at least twelve Communists were on the faculty of Harvard Law School at the time he attended there.
The R’s have become the party of rich white men and Southern rednecks. They also seem determined to be the party of ignorance, intolerance and, finally, persecution of those who might oppose them.
One might hope they’d repudiate Senator Cruz and send him back to Texas. One fears such a hope would be in vain.