Monday, March 22, 1999
Elia Kazan was boycotted by some at the Oscars because he assisted the McCarthy hearings in the 50s. What we need to remember is that people knew of the atrocities under Stalin (well over 50 million people murdered) and yet many of the same people that were appalled at the McCarthy hearings would not say that the murder of millions in labor camps was wrong.
Even now too many of them say that while, of course, they didn't approve of it they knew that people would look down on communism if they knew. Damn right! There were a lot of things wrong with the McCarthy hearings and innocent people were harmed, but they were not sent to Siberia to die. We do need to keep that in perspective.
Frankly, I really dislike people like Senator McCarthy as they seem totally unable to accept the fact that a lot of people like to check out new ideas and think about new things, many of which they then decide are wrong, as many people decided that communism was wrong. Gracious me, when I think of all the petitions that I signed in the 60s, I often wonder if someone has a file on me. Even now I will sign a petition for just about anything if it is to get the issue on the ballot, but I would be glad to tell anyone why I signed anything and whether or not I still agree with the reasons I had when I signed it.
This whole issue is part of the " not tattling " issue that irritates me so much. Ok, so don't tell your boss that a coworker made fun of him, or don't tell your friend that another friend made some tacky remarks about her, but would you tell your boss if your coworker was stealing? Would you tell your friend if your other friend was having an affair with her boyfriend?
If you knew someone approved of, maybe even helped, a regime that butchered anyone that disagreed with them, would you say that they shouldn't be asked why? I think that it was right that people who supported Stalin be asked why. I think that it is right that people who support the Klu Klux Klan be asked why they approve of brutality and torture. I think that it is right that we question what role the US and their School of the Americas had in training Latin American secret police and torturers. I think it is right that we question our own law enforcement groups and ask about cases of brutality and cases of criminal behavior by those who are suppose to protect us.
What we need is a little (oh, that often used phrase) more bipartisanship, even multipartisanship, in not approving of any regime or group that used terror and brutality and fear to get what they want and to shut up those who disagree with them.