Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Swinging Pendulum of Russophobia

When I was born in the 1950s, our nation was in its second "Red Scare" with such people as Senator Eugene McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) looking for subversives, especially communists in government and elsewhere in our society. This second "Red Scare" had originated with a Democrat, President Harry S Truman, whose Executive Order 9835 of March 21, 1947, required that all federal civil service employees be screened for "loyalty." Of course McCarthy was a Democrat, as were the leading members of the HUAC. 

So was most of Congress during that time. In fact, except for brief lapses in 1947-49 and 1953-55, both houses were controlled by Democrats until 1981. Yet today if you question people about the eras of the Red Scares, they'll tell you it was probably conservative Republicans who were engaged in the "witch hunts" which compelled private citizens (screen writers, actors, etc.) to bear witness against everyone around them.

By the time I became an adult in the 1970s the debate over the Viet Nam War had changed the narrative of things dramatically. By that time it was Democrats who conveniently overlooked the fact that Presidents Kennedy and Johnson had started the mess; Nixon and his party were the "hawks" that were guilty of warmongering and enriching the evil "military-industrial complex" which President Eisenhower had warned us about. 

It was also about that time that people began "remembering" the history of the Civil Rights Act as being a Democratic Party cause, forgetting that it was southern Democrats who had filibustered against it and Republicans who had rallied to pass it.

When President Reagan came into office with his goals of destroying "the Evil Empire" of the Soviet Union, suddenly Republicans were being castigated as warmongers and Democrats were proclaiming that communism wasn't really that bad. Warren Beatty wrote, directed, and starred in "Reds," a movie in which an American journalist journeys to Russia to document the Bolshevik Revolution and returns a revolutionary, seeking to change America.  In 1989, many liberal Democrats seemed sickened by the demise of the Soviet Union.

In short, history was being rewritten before our eyes, and no one really noticed.

Fast forward to today: Russia, in the past few years, has gone from a country to build alliances with (anyone remember the heroics of Boris Yeltsin?) to one to "reset" relations with (Putin was too scary?), to one that's now suspected of hacking into everything and controlling our presidential election (Putin is too scary!). 

Attorney General Sessions has been forced to recuse himself because he had contact with a Russian ambassador during the campaign. General Flynn was forced to withdraw himself from consideration as the National Security Advisor because he talked to the Russian ambassador after Trump's election.

Have Democrats met with that ambassador? YES! 

Until last month only one group has stayed absolutely convinced that Communism is a good thing, that we need to all become Socialists, and that capitalism is the scourge of mankind: college professors! Yet today even they are chiming in that Russia stole the election from Hillary. 😕

Oh well, that pendulum does swing!