Discussion Question 1

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Week 1 DQ 1
Joseph McCarthy held congressional hearings in which he often used affiliation and hearsay to accuse people of being communists and a threat to the United States. What was unknown at the time was that while his methods were often distasteful and abusive—and possibly illegal—he did successfully identify some dangerous communists. Do you think he should be considered a patriot or not? Why?

When looking at this question, the first thing we need to know is what a patriot is. The dictionary defines a patriot as a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion and a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government. Having a clear understanding of what a patriot is presumed to be, one could consider Joseph McCarthy a patriot. Though his views may have been misguided or extreme and his actions were certainly extreme, he does seem to be a person who loved, supported and was trying to defend his country; he also definitely regarded himself as a defender of rights. He was against communism and because of the Red Scare, the majority of the country was as well. People agreed with and supported his way of being sure that there were not communists within the federal government. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize how extreme his measures would be to figure out and end the careers of the people he felt were communists. A dictionary definition is not the only way to look at this, however. There are also moral definitions and morally, I do not think that this man was a patriot. His tactics, while working towards a good cause, were not American at all. In fact, they went against the very foundation of what this country still stands for today by causing Americans to live in fear because of how extreme his methods were. There was punishment even for those who were not found to be guilty because the accusations and treatment alone...
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