Regarding William Shaw’s recent column about the “paranoid style” of politics, a response is needed. Paranoia is classified as a mental disorder. While Shaw refers to what’s in Sean Hannity’s mind, he is not a psychiatrist and doesn’t claim to diagnose Mr. Hannity with a mental disorder.
Sen. Joe McCarthy said in 1950, “I have in my hand the names of 205 State Department employees known to be members of the Communist Party.” William F. Buckley wondered whether the papers in Joe McCarthy’s hand were really blank. Was McCarthy paranoid?
What McCarthy did very well was to speak to the considerable fears of the U.S. public about Communist domination in the 1950s. Sean Hannity does the same about fears of government abuse today.
The parallel between McCarthyism and Trump supporters breaks down when the events of today are compared with the events of 70 years ago. Sean Hannity is not a powerful U.S. senator and has no power to subpoena citizens to grill them over their beliefs and humiliate them in the process.
There is plenty of evidence being investigated today of wrongdoing by Trump opponents in the Justice Department, the FBI and other agencies. Strip away the nonexistent medical diagnosis of paranoia and you’re left with just another political smear.
James Anderson, Pinehurst
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