The New McCarthy


Resident Mike Arata makes a passionate case.

Joseph McCarthy is back from the dead. Like a phoenix, a new demagogue has risen from the ashes of Goldwater and Reagan, manifesting himself as a larger, louder, and more powerful force. Times have changed since the Old McCarthy was around. The Soviet threat has been neutralized, the Berlin Wall has fallen, and the New McCarthy is quite pleased with the New Russia and how she has reformed. However, the anti-national subversives and their massive threat to the security of the nation persist, as strongly as ever. They have merely morphed into new faces that would appear alien to the Old McCarthy. They have taken the form of critical race theorists, revisionist historians, and LGBTQ activists (“cultural Marxists,” as the great sage Dr. Jordan Peterson refers to them) who are hell-bent on destroying the American values that we hold so dear. 

The power vested in the hands of the New McCarthy cannot be understated (the Old McCarthy would be red with envy). He controls an entire wing of American politics and various news outlets. He is one of the largest voices in Washington, and has been able to push forth his agenda with unbridled force and with great success. In the Sunshine State, new rays of light have been exposed on the subversive attempt to overthrow Western civilization. They have banned critical race theory and AP African-American studies for teaching kids to hate their country, and each other. (The New McCarthy, with his historical revisionism, media control, suppression of dissent, and social conservatism shares much more in common with a Soviet regime than what he accuses his opponents of.) One of the New McCarthy’s many minions said on one of the New McCarthy’s many media outlets of the African-American studies course, “Three quarters of this is very high level stuff, and then you get to about 1960 in here, and it’s all activism and all ideology, and no history.” (What this activism that began in 1960 was about, the McCarthy minion does not mention. The history of minorities and those who have been oppressed and subjugated in this country cease to matter once they begin to interfere with the history of the majority, and the rose-colored image of the past that they have built for themselves.) In the Sunshine State, the New McCarthy has successfully foiled cultural Marxist efforts to “sexualize” and “indoctrinate” children (the New McCarthy and many of his minions have been accused of sex crimes, including an incumbent congressman; many of these crimes involve minors, but that is irrelevant), banning the discussions and instructions of sexuality and gender identity from kindergarten to the third grade, deeming them as pornographic. 

Now the New McCarthy has expanded even further, moving up from the South to our very doorstep (armed with the moral authority of John Winthrop). On February 21, a San Ramon Valley District board meeting dedicated much of its time to debate over a recent local controversy. A small group of concerned residents expressed disgust at a handful of books in the SRV district libraries, deeming them pornographic. (These books revolve around specific sexualties and gender identities—I am sure you can guess which ones.) They have called upon the District Board to remove these books from circulation. These proposals are appalling, and threatening to what I had believed to be a loving, diverse community where all its inhabitants, regardless of differences, can be loved and accepted. 

Throughout the evening many voices were heard regarding the matter. Some were in favor of banning these books, some against. Some of those in favor were respectful and sensible in their reasoning—many were not. The most dramatic and inflammatory speakers were a group of New McCarthyists that included local residents Larry Jones, Terry Thompson, Mike Arata (as his name might suggest, a quite erratic man), and a woman who wished to be referred to as “Taiwan’s a Country.” Their arguments ranged from bizarre non-sequiturs to personal attacks and insults. Mr. Thompson lampooned a board policy that advocated using literature as a way to encourage empathy amongst students, comparing the school board encouraging its students to have empathy and compassion for members of the LGBTQ community to students who enjoy torturing and killing animals. Mr. Jones came up to speak with no notes prepared, opting instead to articulate from the depths of his heart. He expressed his belief in traditional societal roles and hierarchies, saying that true “character in a man” is to “take care of a woman” and that the inclusion of the disputed books in the library would lead to the “destruction of family.” He then urged Dr. John Malloy, the district superintendent, to “look into his soul.” (Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote of thy brother’s eye.) Mr. Arata, armed with placards displaying the books in question, decried them as “depraved pornography.” He also called the School Library Journal an “echo chamber for twisted librarians” who are drawn to pornography like “flies to dog poop.” “Taiwan’s a Country” compared the schools using taxpayer money to buy books to how President Bill Clinton “had oral sex in the white house, paid for by the taxpayer.” Her microphone was muted, and she stormed off, accusing the board of anti-Asian discrimination.

The most revolting rhetoric peddled by the New McCarthyists was their baseless slandering and vilification of Bob Allen, a math teacher at California High School who is openly gay. (The attacks were so baseless and so vilifying that the Old McCarthy would look up from the abyss of Hell with great pride at how his successors have so gracefully taken up his mantle.) Mr. Allen, who is opposed to banning the books, has been accused of indoctrinating and grooming his students and inserting lessons about gay sex into his agenda. (The idea that one can be indoctrinated into the queer community is ludicrous. Sexual orientation and gender identity are natural qualities every person is born with, not something that can be altered or developed. They can, however, be discovered over time by overcoming societal pressures and stigmas that lead many to struggle with coming to terms with their sexuality or gender. But, at the end of the day, you’re either part of the queer community, or you aren’t.) These accusations are heinous, vile, and homophobic. Those who have peddled lies like these should be ashamed of themselves. In his speech responding to these criticisms, Mr. Allen brought up the sexual innuendos in Shakespeare plays as an example of the many books found in school libraries that could be deemed offensive, but are not subject to the same outrage that the queer books are. The example is a fair one, as Shakespeare’s work contains sexual references far more crude and far more abundant than a book like Gender Queer. What Mr. Allen may have failed to realize is that to be able to identify the many allusions and innuendos in Shakespeare plays require a trained literary eye, eager and open. To expect this of our dear McCarthyists might be asking too much. 

Thankfully, not all of those who spoke at the meeting were as incendiary as some. Multiple students spoke, all eloquently, and all in favor of keeping the books. Daniel, a junior at Monte Vista High, lamented the threats to the “pursuit of knowledge” and “safety and inclusion” in the district. He then said, very aptly, that the puritans and the New McCarthyists were fighting a “non-existent problem” and “trying to put an end to something that is not happening.” Billy, a sophomore at California High, expressed his fear at the possibility of queer authors being censored. Beth, another student, expressed her respect for the various perspectives brought about, but conveyed disappointment at how angry and hurtful many of the speeches were. This sentiment was shared by board member Laura Bratt, who criticized how marginalizing some of the speakers were to the LGBTQ community.

When opening the floor to conversation, board member Jesse Vanzee acknowledged the point of view that the calls to censor these books specifically targeted the queer community, saying that he is “100% against a double standard” but is also “for a standard.” There is a very clear standard here, a fair way to go about banning books: ban them all. If the school board is to succumb to these requests, succumb to the moral outrage of a small minority, they must account for all possible outrage. That is the only just, unbiased way to go about it. 

Those opposed to these books are more than entitled to raise their child in any way they see fit. If there is a book in the library that they are worried about their child reading, they can simply instruct them to not read it. To thrust this upon all children, however, to subject everyone to their morals and biases, is wrong. If the school board is to go along with this, they will be committing a discriminatory and exclusionary act against the queer community. To take a page out of the Old McCarthy’s book, it would be an un-American act.