"And yet, NewChapter, some of those people actually were communist sympathists - if not actual communists." It doesn't matter James. It was not illegal to be a communist. We live in a country that allows for free political thought. There is not supposed to be a penalty. But the witch hunt ruined careers and lives. I'm surprised you said that. I hope you weren't excusing this dispicable time in our history. NC
Just finished reading 'The Crucible'
I've skimmed the play but I've been to about four productions during my life. It pairs well with A Scarlet Letter. Is it creepy how many great plays, books, films are based on the same universal themes. We are only a drop in the bucket.
When I read about the Salem Witch Trials, I was surprised how much of the play was simply an accurate retelling of history. There was an added plot, but even the names and such were accurate. At least that is how I remember it. It's been a while since I've read about the real trials.
I skimmed the play once. Fortunately, it is a classic play so I've seen it in performance three or four times. I can't recall the details but it was powerful. It seemed that it was popular as an antiwar play during Viet Nam. There was probably a play in almost every culture that spoke of hypocrisy. Shakespeare comes to mind.
It is playing at my local Shakespeare festival this summer. I was going to go see it but you have convinced me.
To echo NC, there is nothing unAmerican, let alone illegal, about being a communist. Our First Amendment guarantees that right. If we spent time addressing core problems facing the United States, rather than a hunt for ratings, we would be in better shape today. Communism was never monolithic in this country. They spent more time attacking each other than attacking anyone else.
Treason, espionage, mayhem, etc. were all covered by common law or the U.S. Const'n as far back as 1789. Common law remedies date from the Middle Ages. Belief is never criminal.
HUAC was the unAmerican committee.
Listen to Donald Trump and I see a new demagogue.
McCarthyism completely depleted the State Department of any professional diplomats that had a real feel for China. Our foreign policy was deeply hurt for a long time.
I was born near the end of McCarthyism. Jehovah's Witnesses were often lumped with communists. We do not salute the flag. Witnesses do not cross themselves yet claim to be Christian. Witnesses did not serve in the military, even during WWII. This antiAmerican fervor, stirred by Father Couglin, caused ammonia bombs to be thrown into a crowd of women and children at a convention at the Garden. My mother was expelled from school at fourteen. Many Witnesses suffered b/c of the link between communists not being American (how untrue) and the Witnesses not being American enough. My father had trouble getting any job after his time at Bethel. Frankly, if I could hire a Bethelite or a vet who fought for our culture, I would choose the vet a thousand times.
I've often thought of it as I've been dealing with the JW elders over the last few months.
Saw it first when I was at school. It made a big impact.
The first rule of power : Those who have it will do anything to keep it.
Of course, I didn't read 'The Crucible' as actual history, since the introduction to the book said details were changed (like Abigail's age and all that). I'm just saying it was good drama and really spoke to me. I mean, of course something similar did actually happen in history, so I think of it as being a sort of 'historical fiction'.
Oh, and as I was thinking it over, it occurred to me that I might've sounded a little self-pitying there, in relating it to my own experiences with the judicial committee. Poor judgment on my part. It was 2 years ago, after all. It's over now, even though the fallout has reached into today and on into our future. But it's over. I mean, looking at it from her point of view, it was probably a very painful situation. She may even have hoped I would change my mind and that the elders, being presumably better equipped to teach and correct, might actually help 'readjust' me. And then to be sitting at these meetings by herself all over again which defeated the whole purpose of marrying a JW. I mean, that's got to be pretty sad to deal with. The looks, the whispers, all of that. It was entirely selfish, everything I did back then. I had good intentions but didn't know what I was doing and didn't think too hard about how much unnecessary pain I would create for us.
I don't really like to discuss all that here on JWN anymore, though, so I better stop there.
But it's amazing how many stories of this sort or with these kinds of themes are out there. I guess the problems presented in 'The Crucible' are just very real, human issues that extend through the ages. We can only hope that as a species, we are taking some significant steps towards a bit more enlightenment and freedom. Probably won't be a 'Star Trek' kind of world in our lifetime, hey, maybe it'll never happen. But there's always hope.