McCarthyism in the New Millennium
Candidate A supposedly warns Candidate B of alleged leftists and communists who again allegedly have infiltrated among supporters in Candidate B’s campaign rallies. Okay; that seems to be from the best of intentions. Of course, this nation is governed on democracy and not on communism. We would love to stay on democracy and not veer towards Marxism.
I grew up through the 80’s, a time when popular media played on and kicked the guts the premise of the Cold War for all sorts of scenarios, expanding on the heroics of the free American and the supposedly tyrannical, abusive and evil communist Russian, and sometimes eastern European. In movies, TV shows, cartoons, comics, toys and other merchandise, the superhero would be the white Yankee fighting for freedom, justice and the socially accepted way; and the villain would be the stern and gloomy Russkie who oppose all that is fun, and would throw any opponent to the cold gulags of Siberia. So many people in the world (not only Filipinos) wanted to go to America, be friends with Americans, or be Americans. No one wanted to sit on the lunch table with the Soviets; except the East Germans, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cubans, North Koreans and some Africans who could not get support from the West. (Oh wait, now that I’ve thought about it, there was some sizable population of the world which sided with communism.) Hollywood’s favorite villains were the communist Russian with their hard, harsh accent which contrasts the smiling colors of the beaches of California. The counterparts on the other side of the Iron Curtain were convenient pawns for objects of hate from the audience. They wouldn’t complain; and the writers and directors could do anything with them in the stories without hurting cultural sensitivities; not like having Asians, Africans or Jews as antagonists, which would be shunned as racial discrimination. (Now that I’ve thought about it, weren’t hose movies with Russians as villains, racially prejudiced against them? And no one cried “foul” because everyone just loves to hate communists. It seems society decides to be culturally insensitive towards those they perceive as repressive) I enjoyed those movies. Before the end credits roll, democracy wins and communism is proven wrong and humiliated. Then, I’ll flash my shirt with stars and stripes. No one wants to wear with a hammer and sickle.
But wait, I scratch my head (not because of dandruff). That got me thinking. Are communists, socialists and citizens with leftist ideologies not accepted in expression of support of preferred candidates? Does ideology disqualify (or qualify) a person from participation in political exercises? Should candidates screen their supporters and measure their political stands according to a spectrum of left ranging to right? Yes, there are leftists and communists among Filipinos. In the same way that there are vegetarians and atheists among us. We have our differences. But that leftist, that communist is as much as a Filipino as any rightist military officer. That communist or leftist has the same right to vote and engage in political exercise as any other Filipino. If we espouse this principle, then why should anyone bar any group or any ideology from any campaign rally or from wearing any color?
What right does one have to question one person’s or a group of person’s inclusion in any assembly, especially in one which constitutional among Filipino citizens? Does our legal system especially exclude a specific ideology from political participation? Should peasants question urban folk if they join in pounding rice? Should the construction laborers complain if the engineers join them in their drinks after a day’s labor?
Maybe that’s the problem. People with different beliefs or ideologies are assigned behind the supposedly noble democratic curtain, that they are disenfranchised and seek to establish a society in which they would be respected and valued as members. That’s what happens when a group of people are labeled and excluded. African-Americans were segregated and they fought for their rights. Lesbians and gays were discriminated and they expanded to bisexuals, transgenders and others to fight for their rights.
Maybe that’s the solution. All ideologies, orientations and affiliations should be included in one community to have the opportunity to exercise their rights and advance their advocacies. When we come together, respecting vegetarians and carnivores, jetsetters and homebodies, to build a community in unity, we start to promote pure peace and progress in its purest form. Is this not what any nation needs?
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” -Galatians 3:28