February 28, 2007

Joe Welch on the left, Joe McCarthy on the right.

Back in the fifties there were two Joe's who came at each other while television watched. Our two Joe's were:

Joseph McCarthy: Senator from Wisconsin
Joseph Welch: Attorney for the Army

A light reappraisal of who and what:

Joe McCarthy a drinking Senator from Wisconsin happened upon a way to gain national attention. After the Korean War, a war the United States fought to a draw, communists became the national bogie-men. Red was not the color of choice at that time. His mission was to find communists working in the government and expunge them. But Joe, not a Mensa member, took it too far and became a bully. Worse, a bully with no conscience. He would subpoena people whose names were turned in by zealous 'patriots', people with grudges, or people who actually thought they were doing good. They would also brow beat witnesses to turn in anyone that might have heard some scuttlebutt about. They would agree to do this out of fear for themselves. He was running an inquisition more than an investigation. Joe from Wisconsin obviously loved the media attention as the proceedings were telecast to one and all. Truth was not a prerequisite, innuendo would do, and lives were ruined. He was not content with communists in the government, he also went after movie actors, directors, producers, primarily and I am guessing here because it brought in more viewers when the stars showed up. He was a fifties hustler for television ratings.

Eventually events, and a feisty, crafty lawyer named Joseph Welch caught up with Joe from Wisconsin. Also and this is probably the fatal blow to him, the people of the United States elected Dwight Eisenhower as president, and DDE did not like Joe from Wisconsin, even though they were both from the same party. But without sympathy or patronage from the White House, Joe from Wisconsin days were numbered. Joe Welch plunged the dagger into his heart with these words: HAVE YOU NO DECENCY SENATOR. His witch hunt ended and he became a shadowy, drunken figure in the senate, censured by his colleagues and died three years after the hearings at 48 years old.

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