Or: Taking on McCarthyism with Elvis and Cherry Cokes
(crossposted at Daily Kos)
With barely 24 hour to go before the start of Iraq Moratorium Day #3, I should probably be kvelling about the 100 or so Third Friday events posted on the Moratorium website. But you can check ’em out your own self.
Instead I want to highlight a great piece of political judo in written form, and in doing so, give one more plug to a great Moratorium crew, the folks in Sewanee, TN. A couple weeks ago I diaried their adventures with a heckler calling them “commies” at their Moratorium Day #2 venue in nearby Monteagle.
Later I learned that they had also faced a bit of redbaiting in the letters column of a local paper. The letter-writer caught hell from readers who weren’t even part of the protest, but regular Moratorium participant Pat Wiser took the honors with the following response which appeared in the Tullahoma News on October 28:
To the Editor:
Sometimes I miss the good ole days in 1950’s Coffee County: the Tullahoma-Manchester Coffee Pot game, cherry cokes in the drugstore on the square, Elvis on the jukebox. I don’t miss the fear and suspicion generated by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s unfounded accusations of “communism,” a tactic that re-surfaced in an Oct. 21 letter, warning of peace vigil participants’ “ties to communist groups.”
We aren’t communists. Iraq Moratorium isn’t a communist organization. Our ties? Farmers, veterans (World War II, Korea, Vietnam), ministers, teachers, home makers — small-town folk. Some donate to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and veterans’ groups; others organize drives, sending items to the troops.
While friends still enjoy the Coffee Pot game, alas, we no longer stand cheering on the football field. Now we stand on the corner of N. Jackson and Wilson (or in Sewanee, Monteagle, Winchester) in the heat or rain in vigils of support for our troops — not the “exciting and glamorous,” experience described by the writer.
We stand in sadness. The Department of Defense confirms the deaths of 3,834 American soldiers in Iraq, 200 since our first vigil in late July. The old “commies” taunt is insignificant as we honor the brave men and women fighting this senseless war.
[Pat was asked for permission to print this in its entirety, as the Tullahoma News doesn’t post letters on its limited website and, despite an impressive modesty about her effort, agreed.]