Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly accused congressional Democrats of using the tactics of McCarthyism to smear the record of Brett Kavanaugh in the hearings on his Supreme Court nomination.

The allegations against Kavanaugh were not McCarthyism, which called on individuals to undergo loyalty checks and handed down citations of contempt of Congress against those who either didn’t dignify their questions with a response or invoked the Fifth Amendment to decline to answer questions about loyalty or to name names of those who were suspected of being a communist. This was eventually ruled unconstitutional.

Unfortunately, lives and careers were destroyed, and those who didn’t cooperate with Sen. Joe McCarthy or the House Un-American Activities Committee were blacklisted. McCarthy, a Republican, was eventually censured by his fellow senators.

Other Republicans also cited McCarthyism during the Kavanaugh hearings. Although the charge of McCarthyism isn’t accurate, it’s actually beneficial, in that the use of this term in this day and age is a reminder of those dark ages of America in the 1950s, helping ensure they are not lost in history.

McCarthyism was and is a scourge in our history and ought not be forgotten. We need to learn from history, and the use of this term by McConnell and others have reminded citizens that McCarthyism is a danger.

Peter Bollen