Mccarthy's Dilemmas

Decent Essays
senator would seek out new targets by going through files. Over the years, his targets ranged from state employees to foreign libraries with books linked to communism to“Voice of America, the official broadcasting service of the United States government”, (Senator Joe McCarthy and the Red Scare). He would then begin the relentless investigation into these individuals and organizations. While examining suspects, McCarthy always displayed extreme determination and stubbornness, and very rarely admitted he was wrong about his suspicions. For example, while questioning ex-communist editor James A. Wechsler, McCarthy asked blunt, contentious questions, and refused to give up ground. Since Wechsler was an ex-communist, and and he didn’t approve…show more content…
His accusations ended up posing a real danger to American values. One important value McCarthy degraded was the right to remain silent, because, as he once stated, “a witness’s refusal to answer whether or not he is a Communist on the ground that his answer would tend to incriminate him is the most positive proof obtainable that the witness is a Communist” (Schrecker 69). The rights of LGBT members were also threatened, since some of the people on McCarthy’s lists got there just for being “sexual deviants” (Cunningham 90). And of course, McCarthy’s techniques threatened free speech, as anyone who expressed radical liberal views in public could be a target. Even with all these problems, McCarthy remained in power for years, by capitalizing on the tense, frenzic atmosphere among the American people. As Charles Potter described it, the debate over what McCarthy was “emotional nonsense”, where “sanity seemed to go into hiding, opinions whirled around the outer edges of human thought” (Cunningham 27). Eventually, it came to a point when “each citizen found he must declare himself… either ‘for’ McCarthy or ‘against’ him” (Cunningham 28). The problem was, at this point, McCarthy was seen as an American hero and protector. As McCarthy said himself stated, “McCarthyism is Americanism with its sleeves rolled" (McCarthy). Therefore, while those in support of him could claim to be “red-blooded patriots”, and anyone who dared to oppose McCarthy ran the risk of being called a “commie lover” (Cunningham 28). As a result of the way McCarthyism was equated with patriotism McCarthy was able to get away with some blatant violations of civil
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