Over the last few months, in the heat of this presidential campaign, we have begun to hear labels being attributed to the person and policies of Barack Obama by the Right, the McCain/Palin campaign, and their surrogates, which are meant to inject fear and doubt into the minds of the American people. They are attempting to diminish or destroy the character and motives of Senator Obama, resulting in an open door to hatred and racism. The labels are simply false character attacks meant to diminish and demean him.
What these people whisper, hint, and now just come right out and say in recent days, misrepresent and distort Barack Obama’s words and vision for the future of this country on the heels of eight disastrous years of Bush and Cheney.
These labels: “appeaser,” “Muslim,” “terrorist,” “Socialist,” “Marxist,” and “Communist” are shouted at political rallies and allowed to hang in the air to create a terrifying emotional response in Americans. Our country needs real leadership to guide us through these frightening times of deep financial crisis and war.
There are people in the news and in the blogosphere who now have have begun to see parallels to another time in our history — a time when Senator Joseph McCarthy used his power to create a climate of fear and distrust in the hearts of all Americans, and to divide us as a nation. McCarthy made claims that there were large numbers of Communists, Soviet spies, and their sympathizers in the federal government and elsewhere. In fear, people turned against their friends, neighbors, co-workers and employees. People looked at each other differently, terrified of being accused of being, knowing or associating with a “Communist.” McCarthy was responsible for destroying the lives and careers of many, and turning this country upside down.
One man stood up and was the voice of reason in unreasoned times. That man was Edward R. Murrow. His words were strong reminders of who we are as a nation, and who we must continue to be, and that we must not let fear overcome and control us. He put everything on the line — his reputation and his career — in order to do what was right for the country and stand up to McCarthy.
Below are clips from “Good Night and Good Luck,” a film which portrays the tumultuous events of the 1950s, and some very wise words by Edward R. Murrow (played brilliantly by David Strathairn).