Calling the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation a “McCarthyite Witch Hunt” indicates a deplorable lack of historical perspective. When Senator Joseph McCarthy launched his communist witch hunt, he did so by quoting mysterious unnamed sources, flouting alleged lists of Soviet agents in the United States Government that he never actually released, and by calling into question the patriotism and legitimacy of government officials against whom he had no actual evidence. Once he made his charges, the Senate Select Committee on Foreign Relations set up a sub-committee to investigate charges of disloyalty entirely on the basis of McCarthy’s unfounded accusations.

In point of fact, however, the Army-McCarthy hearings were a side show. The main event — the event that the term “witch trial”more aptly applied was the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) which actually published lists of American citizens who were deemed to be communist sympathizers and was the actual origin of the so-called Hollywood Blacklist. That was a real witch hunt in the classic sense because witnesses called to testify were pressured into either admitting they were members of the Communist party, or escaping by naming others who they claimed were active in the Communist party before 1945.

Reputations, careers and lives were ruined simply by having one’s name added to the HUAC list. Later on, by the end of the 1960s, the whole thing became a joke as the list grew to ridiculous proportions. I myself was on the HUAC list at which point it was considered a badge of honor to be on it.

A legitimately impaneled Senate Committee requesting documentary information from a former presidential candidate in the midst of an investigation of Russian influence peddling in the 2016 election process in no way rises to the level of a witch hunt.

Personally, I think Jill Stein was a terrible candidate and was definitely at least partly responsible for putting Donald Trump in the White House in the same manner that Ralph Nader was at least party responsible for putting George Bush in the White House.

Alan is a poet, journalist, short story writer, editor, website developer, and political activist. He is the executive editor of BindleSnitch.com.

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