I am writing this in response to a recent letter to the editor in the Peninsula Clarion, on Nov. 8, where the writer blatantly used a tactic that is known as red-baiting.
It is an old tactic, one that was used often in the past to try to diffuse people’s movements such as the Haymarket Incident, the Children’s March and the Redneck Wars. It was prominent in the 1940s and 50s under a different name — McCarthyism. An attempt to unite public furor against Soviet influence turned into an all out witch hunt that ruined the lives of many innocent people. I am willing to bet that if you go back far enough, you would probably find that in the late 1700s colonists that were protesting the East India Company were commonly referred to as terrorists.
It is a propaganda technique that focuses more on labels, and less on their definition. It thrives on the fear. It is mostly used in the media today. There are more and more “-isms” thrown at us every day, but nobody seems to be taking the time to define exactly what capitalism, socialism, communism or any of these multiple “-isms” even mean, or how they are being applied today.
The point is the labels themselves, not the facts. They are not concerned with facts, they will just spout the “fear words” in hopes of creating more division and especially more diversion.
I believe that this is done in order to protect the corporate power structure within the government. It is a distraction from the historical manipulation of the Constitution in order to empower the corporate oligarchy that has so much influence over the American government, a practice that goes back a lot farther than the latest “Citizens United v. FEC” ruling. When a Goldman Sachs lobbyist is the chief of staff to the Secretary of Treasury, or the largest private financial contributors to the president’s election campaign were primarily Wall Street banks, I think folks have a right to be upset. When the media either chooses to ignore this, or to spend more time worrying about nonsensical issues like the President’s birth certificate, that is another way that we are distracted from the truth. That is a big part of why I think these Occupy protests originated in Wall Street: that is where the real power in this country is. You can choose to plant your head in the sand and just continue to believe what you want to believe, or you can take the time to learn, to see things for yourself, and realize that it is quite probable that these folks are on your side.
Harry Hagelund Jr.