If You Listened to Trump’s Speech, You Heard the Voice of Joe McCarthy

Sean Hannity last night said of Trump’s ISIS speech, “He laid out the failures, he laid out the danger, the assessment of the real nature of evil in our time, and he offered a different path.”

However, Trump himself represents the real nature of evil in our time. He has shown himself to be the enemy of everything America was founded to be. A man who has not read the Constitution cannot defend the Constitution, including the articles he thinks exist but don’t.


America is for all people. Not just the people Trump likes. For Joe McCarthy at the height of the Cold War, the bogeymen were communists. For Trump, they’re Muslims.

And what Trump outlined instead of a “different” path is an old path, a return to McCarthyism, that blighted period when the cry was “better dead than red,” where everybody was assumed to be a “commie” disguised as your next door neighbor. A world of paranoia and suspicion, where to be guilty it was enough to be accused.


Let’s look at what Trump really said Monday night:

“To defeat Islamic terrorism, we must also speak out forcefully against a hateful ideology that provides the breeding ground for violence and terrorism to grow.”

Trump’s plan to defeat a group of radicalized Muslims is to make Muslims hate America even more than they already do by proving to them that we are everything they claim we are, and more. He plans to defeat “radicalized Muslims” by further radicalizing them by opposing their “hateful ideology” with an equally hateful ideology of our own.

And here we get back to his plan to ban Muslim immigration. Look at these two claims:

“A new immigration policy is needed as well,”


“Clearly, new screening procedures are needed.”

The major change here is that Trump’s Muslim immigration ban now has a “rationale” beyond simple “Islamophobia”:

“A Trump Administration will establish a clear principle that will govern all decisions pertaining to immigration: we should only admit into this country those who share our values and respect our people.

“In the Cold War, we had an ideological screening test. The time is overdue to develop a new screening test for the threats we face today.”

Because, you know, Trump only wants the right sorts of people in his casinos and resorts. Er, um…country. And Trump cannot disguise his attack on the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion:

“In addition to screening out all members or sympathizers of terrorist groups, we must also screen out any who have hostile attitudes towards our country or its principles – or who believe that Sharia law should supplant American law.”

The problem here is that there are plenty of Republicans who say the Law of Moses (essentially the same thing as Sharia law) should supplant American law, by which we should probably assume Trump means the Constitution his very small hands have never read).

Are we going to ban Christians who hold the Law of Moses in higher regard than the Constitution? Probably not. They’re more than likely the right skin color, you see. This all lines up with the Religious Right’s (and now the Republican Party’s claim that the Constitution they haven’t read is basically indistinguishable from the Ten Commandments they haven’t read).

Things get even worse when Trump inadvertently bans his own supporters from the country:

“Those who do not believe in our Constitution, or who support bigotry and hatred, will not be admitted for immigration into the country.”

Oh dear. So we can say goodbye to all those Confederate flag-waving, Swastika-tattooed, white-cone-headed thugs at his rallies?

Well, not exactly. They’re white, remember. What Trump is aiming at is “dangerous and volatile” regions of the world, and he’s not talking about the Bundy ranch, even though it’s also an exporter of terrorism:

“To put these new procedures in place, we will have to temporarily suspend immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world that have a history of exporting terrorism.”

That would include people fleeing from terrorists. You know, like the Muslim victims of ISIS, and most victims of ISIS ARE Muslims, not Christians.

And then there is the contradiction of the promise that “one of my first acts as President will be to establish a Commission on Radical Islam” thus singling out Islam for special attention, yet “which will include reformist voices in the Muslim community who will hopefully work with us.” Singling Islam out as the enemy is somehow supposed to “build bridges and erase divisions.”

Um, you just created a division.

Trump called for a return to McCarthyism, which no doubt makes Ann Coulter very happy. He even made an argument that the Borg, not the Federation, were the good guys in Star Trek. You remember the Borg, who ran around the galaxy “assimilating” everybody.

This from Trump:

“Assimilation is not an act of hostility, but an expression of compassion. Our system of government, and our American culture, is the best in the world and will produce the best outcomes for all who adopt it.”

We call that cultural genocide. The Christian missionaries who forced indigenous peoples to adopt Christianity in place of their own time-honored traditions, also called this form of violence “compassion” but it was anything but. It was not compassion then, and it is not compassion now.

Trump promised, in a complete contradiction of everything he had just said,

“I will fight to ensure that every American is treated equally, protected equally, and honored equally. We will reject bigotry and oppression in all its forms, and seek a new future built on our common culture and values as one American people.”

Forming comissions on Islam is not treating Islam equally. Singling Muslims out for special attention is not protecting them equally. And far from opposing bigotry and oppression, without bigotry and oppression, Trump would have no followers at all. That isn’t the country any of us want, and it certainly isn’t a new path, but an old one we’ve done our best to cast aside.