My mind continues to circle back to how many lives have been sacrificed, modern day lynching, before the advent of video and smart phones.
There are 18,000 law enforcement agencies in this country, racism, systemic. How will this be changed?
Our country is rudderless, void of moral leadership. We are a mess.
Words from modern history, the voice of Senator Margaret Chase Smith, (R) Maine.
As Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine boarded the Senate subway, she encountered the junior senator from Wisconsin, Joe McCarthy. “Margaret, you look very serious,” he said. “Are you going to make a speech?” Without hesitation, Smith replied: “Yes, and you will not like it.” -Senate Historian Office
‘This speech, delivered almost a year and a half after she came to the Senate, was Smith’s first speech on the Senate floor. She was no neophyte as a legislator; she had served in the House for nearly a decade before her election to the Senate in 1948—which made her, incidentally, the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress. But by tradition, new senators did not speak on the floor until, after many months of waiting, they gave their “maiden speeches.”
McCarthy, of course, is today remembered as a Senate bully who abused his power in his efforts to investigate Communists—real and alleged—and drag them before the world’s greatest deliberative body to answer for their sins. He was still just getting started by this point in 1950; he gave his first famous speech, the one in which he waved a list of 205 supposed Communists in the State Department, earlier that year. Over the next four years, he would be one of the dominant figures in the Red Scare before his eventual disgrace.’
-Jim Swift is a senior editor at The Bulwark.
Margaret Chase Smith became the first woman ever to serve in both the House of Representatives and the Senate—and the first senator to stand up against Joseph McCarthy’s Red Scare. (Library of Congress)
Sen. Smith’s speech, June 1st, 1950.
Declaration of Conscience
Mr. President, I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition. It is a national feeling of fear and frustration that could result in national suicide and the end of everything that we Americans hold dear. It is a condition that comes from the lack of effective leadership either in the legislative branch or the executive branch of our government.
Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism.
The right to criticize.
The right to hold unpopular beliefs.
The right to protest.
The right of independent thought.
The exercise of these rights should not cost one single American citizen his reputation or his right to a livelihood nor should he be in danger of losing his reputation or livelihood merely because he happens to know someone who holds unpopular beliefs.
Today our country is being psychologically divided by the confusion and the suspicions that are bred in the United States Senate to spread like cancerous tentacles of “know nothing, suspect everything” attitudes.
1. We are Republicans. But we are Americans first. It is as Americans that we express our concern with the growing confusion that threatens the security and stability of our country. Democrats and Republicans alike have contributed to that confusion.
2. The Democratic administration has initially created the confusion by its lack of effective leadership, by its contradictory grave warnings and optimistic assurances, by its complacency to the threat of communism here at home, by its oversensitiveness to rightful criticism, by its petty bitterness against its critics.
3. Certain elements of the Republican party have materially added to this confusion in the hopes of riding the Republican party to victory through the selfish political exploitation of fear, bigotry, ignorance, and intolerance. There are enough mistakes of the Democrats for Republicans to criticize constructively without resorting to political smears.
4. To this extent, Democrats and Republicans alike have unwittingly, but undeniably, played directly into the Communist design of “confuse, divide, and conquer.”
5. It is high time that we stopped thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking patriotically as Americans about national security based on individual freedom. It is high time that we all stopped being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques—techniques that, if continued here unchecked, will surely end what we have come to cherish as the American way of life.
Juxtapose Sen. Smith’s words with Anne Applebaum’s The Atlantic piece.
Early release from The July/August issue of The Atlantic.
ANNE APPLEBAUM is a staff writer at The Atlantic and a senior fellow of the Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine and Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism.
History Will Judge the Complicit
Why have Republican leaders abandoned their principles in support of an immoral and dangerous president?
Both men could see the gap between propaganda and reality. Yet one remained an enthusiastic collaborator while the other could not bear the betrayal of his ideals. Why?
in english, the word collaborator has a double meaning. A colleague can be described as a collaborator in a neutral or positive sense. But the other definition of collaborator, relevant here, is different: someone who works with the enemy, with the occupying power, with the dictatorial regime. In this negative sense, collaborator is closely related to another set of words: collusion, complicity, connivance. This negative meaning gained currency during the Second World War, when it was widely used to describe Europeans who cooperated with Nazi occupiers. At base, the ugly meaning of collaborator carries an implication of treason: betrayal of one’s nation, of one’s ideology, of one’s morality, of one’s values.
Since the Second World War, historians and political scientists have tried to explain why some people in extreme circumstances become collaborators and others do not. The late Harvard scholar Stanley Hoffmann had firsthand knowledge of the subject—as a child, he and his mother hid from the Nazis in Lamalou-les-Bains, a village in the south of France. But he was modest about his own conclusions, noting that “a careful historian would have—almost—to write a huge series of case histories; for there seem to have been almost as many collaborationisms as there were proponents or practitioners of collaboration.” Still, Hoffmann made a stab at classification, beginning with a division of collaborators into “voluntary” and “involuntary.” Many people in the latter group had no choice. Forced into a “reluctant recognition of necessity,” they could not avoid dealing with the Nazi occupiers who were running their country.
We all feel the urge to conform; it is the most normal of human desires. I was reminded of this recently when I visited Marianne Birthler in her light-filled apartment in Berlin. During the 1980s, Birthler was one of a very small number of active dissidents in East Germany; later, in reunified Germany, she spent more than a decade running the Stasi archive, the collection of former East German secret-police files. I asked her whether she could identify among her cohort a set of circumstances that had inclined some people to collaborate with the Stasi.
She was put off by the question. Collaboration wasn’t interesting, Birthler told me. Almost everyone was a collaborator; 99 percent of East Germans collaborated. If they weren’t working with the Stasi, then they were working with the party, or with the system more generally. Much more interesting—and far harder to explain—was the genuinely mysterious question of “why people went against the regime.” The puzzle is not why Markus Wolf remained in East Germany, in other words, but why Wolfgang Leonhard did not.
here is another pair of stories, one that will be more familiar to American readers. Let’s begin this one in the 1980s, when a young Lindsey Graham first served with the Judge Advocate General’s Corps—the military legal service—in the U.S. Air Force…
It takes time to persuade people to abandon their existing value systems. The process usually begins slowly, with small changes.
Republican leaders don’t seem to know that similar waves of fear have helped transform other democracies into dictatorships.