Republicans often accuse President Obama and Democrats of being too "liberal", going as far as calling them "socialists" and even "communists". Earlier this year, Florida congressman, Republican Allen West, was asked how many members of congress were members of the Communist Party and West replied that nearly 80 members were "card carrying members."
Question: What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialist?
Allen West: It's a good question. I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It's called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Allen West has been known to shoot off his mouth with outrageous misinformation that is gobbled up by voters on the far right of the political spectrum who take what West says as truth instead of trying to looking for factual information themselves. In January, speaking at the Republican Party Lincoln Day dinner in Palm Bay, Florida, West had a strong message to anyone who wasn't radical conservative.
Allen West: "Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America,"
Allen West is the perfect example of the new Republican, the Tea Party Republican, the type of conservative that puts rhetoric and fear ahead of facts. With the insurgence of new Republicans into federal and state governments in 2010, the agenda of fear and false rhetoric is at a high that we haven't seen in the United States in over 50 years. Not since Republican senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy, subjected the American people with accusations of Communists working for the United States has Americans had to deal with such an agenda of fear.
McCarthy's agenda, or McCarthyism, was the senator's attempt to instill fear into the American people with no logical evidence to back up his claims. Webster's dictionary shows an accurate definition of the term.
Definition of MCCARTHYISM
: a mid-20th century political attitude characterized chiefly by opposition to elements held to be subversive and by the use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges; broadly : defamation of character or reputation through such tactics
Like McCarthy, Allen West and the new wave of Tea Party Republicans use fear to distort factual information to win elections. Playing on the deep seated fear and prejudice of many Americans, Republicans use that to their advantage and work their way into office. The Tea Party prides itself on being champions of limited government and their love of the constitution and many hold religion close to their hearts. What is sadly ironic is that many in the Tea Party movement often vote against their best interest, both economically and socially.
Many in the Tea Party vote for politicians who want to cut programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and unemployment benefits. They support cuts to public education and infrastructure that can directly impact their lives as well as their families and friends. Channeling their inner McCarthyism, Republican lawmakers use fear to trump all other issues.
In Florida, the Tea Party has a large hold on the electorate and it showed when they voted in Republican Rick Scott to become Governor. Since Scott has become elected, he has proposed budgets that would gut public education, health care and infrastructure in addition to attempting to privatize prisons, letting a private company benefit from keeping prisoners behind bars. Like Rick Scott, governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin and John Kasich in Ohio have shown a similar attack on the working class and working unions, deciding to balance the budget on the backs of middle and lower income families instead of asking the most wealthy to pay their fair share.
Whether it's economic or social issues, Republicans throughout the country are taking notes from Joseph McCarthy and bringing McCarthyism back to the forefront. As the religious wing of the Republican party becomes stronger, the fear agenda involving other religions, "secular" Americans and members of the LGBT community has become a major talking point. So as Americans vote against their best interest and vote for officials that push a prejudice agenda across the board, the United States of America is witnessing a 21st century wave of McCarthyism that will not slow down unless "We the People" do something about it.