REMEMBER THE HOUSE UN-AMERICAN ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE?
August 12, 2009
Joseph McCarthy, you may remember from your H.S. History class, was the Senator from Wisconsin who claimed there were Communists in every nook and cranny of the U.S. Government (which there might well have been) and kept secret lists of who they were. He was so good at this that the term "McCarthyism" is named after him - not after Edgar Bergen's dummy, Charlie, as you might have thought.
When the Soviet Union was threatening to bury the United States that was big stuff. The U.S. House of Representatives even had a whole committee devoted to nothing but sniffing out the spies for the Soviets and those who were somewhat sympathetic toward Communism. They formed the House Un-American Activities Committee: HUAC.
In 1947, this was the committee which held hearings into the influence of communists in Hollywood. Called before the committee to testify about who else might be a Communist was the end of a career in acting, directing or writing because the studios simply refused to hire someone who was connected to the Red Scare.
There seems to be a pattern forming today in Washington that harkens back to these dark days. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer have single-handedly returned us to, as the opening to the Lone Ranger used go, "to the days of yesteryear" by saying in an op-ed piece in USA Today that:
"These townhall disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views - but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades."
Joe McCarthy would have been so proud of them.
So it seems that Nancy and Steny have resurrected those glory days of demonizing dissent by calling those who are attending town halls and announcing their opposition to the nationalization of our health care system (whether that's what is in the bills or not) "un-American."
Let's go to the rule book. The Constitution of the United States. Says here in the very first Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Note the construct of this Amendment. Each of the freedoms is separated by the word "or:" Religion, speech, press …
Then look at the last clause:
… or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The petitioning the government for a redress of grievances is part of the right of the people to peaceably assemble.
Ok, you say, but is shouting at a town hall "peaceably" assembling? Who is going to make that call? How loud is too loud? When does too loud become no longer "peaceable" and thus un-American?
Do union hires pounding on the bottoms of large plastic tubs for hours on end to protest a non-union construction project in downtown DC count as "peaceably" assembling? Or are they un-American?
And the "facts themselves?" The facts themselves are Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer sent their caucus home without a clue as to what they were supposed to be selling.
So, what Pelosi and Hoyer really want is to have Americans accept anything the Federal government chooses to impose upon us with no dissent, no discussion, no pesky First Amendment.
That, my friends, sounds un-American. Maybe we do need to bring back the House Un-American Activities Committee.
We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.