I recently watched our DVD copy of “Good Night and Good Luck” which tells the story of the famed CBS Radio/TV reporter Edward R. Morrow and his battle with McCarthyism.
McCarthyism, was the “witch hunt,” that masqueraded as Senate hearings, led by Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s that ruined many people’s lives by simply accusing them of being Communists. All a person had to do was have read a left-leaning book, magazine, newspaper, or been friends of someone who J. Edgar Hoover suspected of being a Communist and then you’d be brought before McCarthy‘s Senate Committee for an interrogation, many black listed not allowed to work. Hoover fed McCarthy info on whom to target.
Interestingly, many of those folks targeted had, as youth, explored and studied Communism during the 1930s, but had not accepted its precepts, Murrow had been one such person. This reminds me of young folks who were hippies in the 1960s who later grew up into responsible adults in the 1980s. Can you imagine someone being investigated in the 80’s for being a Hippie subversive in the 1960s as the youth of the 1930s were in the 50’s? Freedom should allow folks to explore different ideas and thoughts without the fear of the government coming after them, TEA Party folks take note, this is a First Amendment right.
Here’s another interesting twist to the Red Scare of the late 1940s and 50‘s. The FBI thought “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a Commie movie. “The declassified FBI files were unearthed by writer John Sbardellati in his 2012 book “J. Edgar Hoover Goes to the Movies: The FBI and the Origins of Hollywood’s Cold War.”
The Christmas classic was viewed by J. Edgar Hoover’s Los Angeles FBI field office to be dangerous propaganda. In 1946, when the movie came out, the FBI labeled it as subversive - a vessel for communist propaganda. During the Red Scare after World War II, FBI informants claimed the film’s portrayal of wealthy banker Mr. Potter as a greedy villain was a sure sign of communist influence.”
My question is this: Which group of people pushed our nation into the Great Depression of the 1930s? Big Bankers making poor banking decisions.
Which group did the same thing again that pushed our nation into the Great Recession in 2007? Again, Big Bankers making poor banking decisions.
So it seems to me that the movie has been proven to be correct. The Mr. Potter’s of the world are still out there. They may look different from Lionel Barrymore, but that same greed and loathing of the little guy is very present in our world today.
Too many in the TEA party seem to have no patience with those who do not see the world as they, just as Senator McCarthy did in his time. They, like Mr. Potter, seem to loathe the little guy who’s struggling to get by. We’ve already experienced the TEA folks wanting to cut back programs that help the working poor and elderly, while giving more corporate welfare to the Bankers and CEO’s of corporations.
Just as we should never forget slavery or the Holocaust, we should also never forget McCarthyism nor the Mr. Potters of the banking world. There’s a balance. Too much regulation strangles economic growth; too little regulation allows the Mr. Potters to run amuck. You and I end up suffering when this happens.
Mike Cannatelli lives in suburban Wilmington with his wife. He repairs electronic instrumentation the food industry uses to detect bacteria in food. He plays supper club music on the piano and is a voracious reader who is a registered Independent voter.