What’s wrong with hunting witches?

The House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection subpoenaed James P. “Phil” Waldron (photo, left), a retired Army colonel “who spread misinformation about election fraud and circulated a PowerPoint document detailing ways to undermine the 2020 presidential election outcome,” CNN reported on Thursday, December 16, 2021 (read story here).

Predictably, Waldron doesn’t want to talk about that, and the people he conspired with don’t want him to talk about it, either. Whether he will, rather than risk prosecution for contempt of Congress, remains to be seen.

Witch hunt! The entire Republican Party, with few exceptions, complains the House investigation is a witch hunt, not least because they’re the witches this time.

So what? What’s wrong with Congress hunting witches, if they’re really witches, and not just scapegoats (which the plotters against the 2020 election clearly are not)?

After all, they set the precedent themselves.

Most people alive today won’t remember it, but in the 1940s and 1950s the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC; details here), and its Senate counterpart under notorious Sen. Joseph McCarthy (bio here), hunted communist witches and designated scapegoats.

Well, if they can hunt subversives, why can’t a House committee run by Democrats do the same? Most of the alleged commies that Republicans hunted in the 1940s and 1950s were harmless academics who may have fleetingly embraced communist theory during the Depression when capitalism was on the ropes (and before Stalin’s crimes were known to the world), and Hollywood directors, actors, and screenwriters (including Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles) who were just too liberal for their liking.

You can’t say the conspirators who tried to overthrow our democracy after the 2020 election were harmless. They came a lot closer to subverting our elected government than HUAC’s and McCarthy’s witches ever did.

But simply as a matter of principle, the sport of witch hunting should be open to all, not an exclusive preserve of the Republican elite. Hunting witches simply isn’t in the same class as hunting foxes. It was always meant to be a blue-collar sport.

Photo below: The January 6 committee conducts hearings outdoors to reduce Covid-19 risks; this is the witness chair

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