Beware Witch Hunt In Sessio

6555 words - 26 pages

Beware, Witch Hunt in Session "On March 1, 1950, The New York Times reports that…John E. Peurifoy, in charge of the State Department security program, was asked by a Senate Committee how many department employees had resigned while under investigation as security risks since the beginning of 1947. "Ninety-one persons in the shady category…most of these were homosexuals." "On April 19, a Times news story is headed: Perverts Called Government Peril…Guy George Gabrielson, Republican National Chairman, asserted today that "sexual perverts who have infiltrated our Government in recent years" were "perhaps as dangerous as the actual Communists." "On May 5, the Times reports that New York State's Republican Governor Dewey accused the Democratic national administration of tolerating spies, traitors and sex offenders in the Government service.(Katz, 91-93) At work you completely avoided people. If you did make friends, you had to be sure never to bring them home, never to tell them who and what you really were. We were all terrified in those days.Lyn on new York in the 60's.When I was arrested and being thrown out of the military, the order went out: don't anybody speak to this woman, and for those three long months, almost nobody did; the dayroom, when I entered it, fell silent till I had gone; they were afraid, they knew the wind would blow them over the rail, the cops would come, the water would run into their lungs. Everything I touched was spoiled. They were my lovers, those women, but nobody had taught us to swim. I drowned. I took 3 or 4 others down when I signed the confession of what we had done together. No one will ever speak to me again.Judy Grahn on the military in the 1950's (Faderman, 130) Thus began the decade of the 1950's. A time in our history when paranoia concerning national security ran high and feelings of fear ran deep. The threat of Communism to the American way of life became top priority to certain government officials. Certain groups of people were targeted as deviants, national security risks and social outcasts. This was a time when cold war tensions dominated our political institutions and sexuality fell under public scrutiny. Homosexuality became a controversial, effective political tool used by a powerful rightwing political machine to discredit a democratic administration and emphasize to the American public that homosexuals, like Communists, were an imminent threat to moral, domestic tranquility. Homosexuality became enmeshed in the public's mind with communism. It became the top destroyer of the family structure and created weak links in an otherwise solid impenetrable government structure. Why and how did a society of free people tolerate, accept and even encourage the public and private humiliation of and discrimination against a specific group of American citizens? In order to examine these questions, we need to look at the social, economic, political, and sexual...

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