Salem, Massachusetts, 1692: Superstition-fueled hysteria spawned the New World's first "witch-hunt." Tribunals were convened where accusations equaled guilt, and hearsay about heresy could get you the noose. Nineteen "witches" were hanged that summer.
Washington D.C., 1952: A cold, nuclear stalemate exists between the U.S. and China/USSR. Simultaneously, a hot proxy war's raging in Korea, with Marines fighting Chinese infantry and Air Force pilots dog-fighting Russians in "MiG Alley."
Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy begins a crusade to purge communism from American society.
Was the "Red threat" real? Probably. The Rosenbergs and others did steal/sell military secrets, but McCarthy's reasonable concern morphed into paranoia. Nobody was safe from his kangaroo-court-style hearings. Innuendo alone could get you "blacklisted" (cancelled?).
Many innocent lives/careers were destroyed before Joseph Welch's "Have you ...no ...decency" quote ended McCarthy's reign-of-terror and "McCarthyism" became a slur.
Washington, D.C., 2021: The president, attorney general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs discover a new boogie-man: The white supremacist. According to them, there's a hood in every Caucasian's underwear drawer, a white robe in every closet.
On a recent trip to the store, I decided to view the world through "woke" eyes, looking for subtle, circumstantial signs of supremacy.
What tell-tale triggers did I see? A retiree's well-manicured lawn; Old Glory on a flagpole; a clerk requiring photo ID before cashing a MoneyGram; someone buying bananas; slave-owners on U.S. currency; tailgates with thin-blue-line decals. Most egregious of all? This letter, spelling, grammar and punctuation (mostly) correct.
I guess the administration's right ...they're (we're) everywhere.
Eugene Mattecheck Jr.