McCarthyism: Past or Present?
Hooray for Katha Pollitt [“It’s Not McCarthyism,” May 8/15]! After reading articles in which Nation writers I have historically admired accused critics of Trump’s potential ties to Putin of “McCarthyism,” I was starting to think that The Nation had become totally irrelevant.
The Putin regime has nothing in common with the adherents of democracy in Russia, like Mikhail Gorbachev, let alone progressives in Russia or elsewhere. All of Trump’s links to this murdering autocrat are fair game, and it is the role of the left to push for complete, thorough investigations into them, whatever it takes, not just to echo the Republican protectors of Trump like Devin Nunes, who says, in effect, “There is nothing there. What does it matter?”
What is happening here, Nation? Keep it up, Katha!
Thank you, Katha Pollitt! You have restored my faith in The Nation. Having been a victim of McCarthyism in a much smaller way than the many who lost their livelihoods, I’m as concerned as anyone about baseless charges. (We were denied security clearance based on our membership or association with the ACLU, The Nation, and a progressive radio station, according to a friend who was interviewed by a government agency—all of which were probably considered “commie symps.”) But we should await the results of these current investigations and not resort to undermining the seriousness of the charges that a foreign government interfered in our elections by labeling them another form of McCarthyism.
Theresa H. McGowan
santa monica, calif.
It was a relief to read Katha Pollitt’s column, in which she criticizes her fellow Nation contributors for their defense of Vladimir Putin and their disparagement of those who think Russian interference in the US election is important. I, too, have found it puzzling that The Nation seems to think we have returned to the McCarthy era.
It is true that there were other reasons Trump won the election besides Russian meddling, not least that his opponent was so roundly and rightly disliked. But the Russians were up to something, and it wasn’t good. We on the democratic left have every reason to dislike Putin and his regime, which, behind the flimsiest facade of democracy, allegedly murders its critics, bans “undesirable organizations,” has been accused of setting fire to bookstores, and has slaughtered Chechens. We need to know about these things, and compiling evidence for impeachment is not the only reason we need to.