When I was young, the most common slur used to brand those one disdained was to call them a communist. (You dirty commie!) Now it seems we are again using Russia as a pejorative.
The most overt such case occurred last month when the Washington Post gave a glowing front-page shout out to an anonymous online blacklist of hundreds of American websites, from marginal conspiracy sites to flagship libertarian and progressive publications. That anonymous website argued that all of them should be investigated by the federal government and potentially prosecuted under the Espionage Act as Russian spies, for wittingly or unwittingly spreading Russian propaganda.
Once again, the Russians/Commies are the bad guys.
Interestingly, as I learn more of history, our tendency to use Russia as a whipping boy has a long history. Take, for example, the aftermath of World War II. Without heroic efforts on the part of communist Russia, half the world would be speaking German now. Russia suffered horrifically from the German invasion. Tens of millions of Russians died from combat-related events and tens of millions more died from deprivation. President Roosevelt and Josef Stalin had an agreement that the U.S. would help Russia recover after the war. But then Roosevelt up and dies and then Truman is President. (Truman replaced Wallace as VP because Wallace was too progressive for the likes of the conservative wing of the Democratic Party. Remember the Dixiecrats and all them other conservative Dems?) Truman blew off Roosevelt’s promise and told Russia to go fend for itself even though we ponied up big time to rebuild Europe. The reason? Russia was spying on us because we had the atomic bomb. They felt that if the U.S. were the only country to have “the Bomb” then it would become a de facto global dictator (as we had “the Big Stick”). Plus our refusal to honor our promise of post-war help proved our untrustworthiness. But, guess what? The Russians weren’t the only country spying on us for atomic secrets. They were just one of many. (Also remember that communism and socialism were considered “threats to democracy” and were anathema to all conservatives then (as now). And, I have to wonder if any of that would have played out had Wallace succeeded Roosevelt.)
By and large the post-war “red Scare” was trumped up from real and imagined material and turned Russia from an ally into an enemy.
And now we are doing it again. Most of the anti-Russian propaganda currently being stated is just that, propaganda. And, it turns out that the website WaPo heralded, as mentioned above, apparently has links to the CIA and Ukrainian fascists. Plus the website author admits he just made up the list of “treasonous, fake news” websites. Sheesh!
Don’t we ever learn?
Fear is now the most common tool used to sway electorates. Real fears, such as the fear of the effects of Climate Change are pooh-poohed because the plutocrats do not want that particular fear motivating folks. And when no real source of useful fear can be had, made-up fears are entirely adequate. (The Mexican rapists are coming, the rapists are coming! The Russians are trying to fix our elections!) So, Republican attempts to fix our elections are swept under the rug, but the Russians, the Russians … !
I just realized that this blog is probably going to be added to the list of treasonous websites! Oh well, in for a penny….