In 1954, a senator named Joseph McCarthy from Wisconsin waged war against communists in government and society. He saw the United States through red-colored glasses and was determined to expose those demons in order to destroy them.

His appetite for publicity was voracious, his ego enormous and he destroyed many lives.

Toward the end of the Army/McCarthy hearings, a lawyer for the Army, named Joseph Welch, asked McCarthy a simple question: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Welch then withdrew from further participation in the proceedings.

That simple question began the downfall of the demagogue, McCarthy.

I’ve thought about this incident through the last week because another demagogue has arisen among us. This one is not a senator, but the president of this country. Like McCarthy, President Trump sees our nation through his own skewed spectacles. What’s more, he insists that his view is the only correct one.

Anyone who professes a different outlook is no patriot, hates the U.S, is a communist or a socialist and should go somewhere else to live. It’s the ’60s all over again with that old, foolish slogan: “America — love it or leave it.”

Like McCarthy, Trump is a powerful man. He too loves publicity and has an enormous ego, plus many White House toadies to stroke it. But, if one man could begin a senator’s downfall, might not we, who are outraged by the president’s behavior, do the same today?

Couldn’t we begin to turn public opinion against this demagogue?

Ronald Semsel, Allegany

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