During a campaign event in front of 100 people at Jensen Beach in Florida on Tuesday, West said that all of the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are communists. According to The Huffington Post, a West spokesman defended the accusation by sending over a transcript of the remarks that show they were in response to a question asked by the moderator of the event. Here’s the transcript.
Moderator: What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialist?
West: It’s a good question. I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Here’s the video:
Releasing an actual transcript is not much of a defense. It doesn’t matter whether or not West was responding to a question or not, he still falsely claimed that nearly half of the 190 Democrats in the House are communists. It’s an attack reminiscent of similar ones made by Newt Gingrich when he was a House member in the 1980s and 90s. Such attacks began a nasty brand of politics played by Republicans ever since. It’s also reminiscent of attacks made by another Republican named Joseph McCarthy, a man who divided America by accusing liberals of being communists, something even Ronald Reagan found distasteful.
Progressive Caucus co-chairs, Democratic Reps. Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison later released a joint statement condemning West’s attack.
“Calling fellow Members of Congress ‘communists’ is reminiscent of the days when Joe McCarthy divided Americans with name-calling and modern-day witch hunts that don’t advance policies to benefit people’s lives. We hope the people of Florida’s 22nd Congressional District will note that he repeatedly polarizes the American people instead of focusing on their interests.”
Even if there were communists in the House, it shouldn’t matter because this is America. And in America, people can belong to any political party they choose. But West is clearly lying about Democrats for political gain and media attention. As I said before, West’s attack is something that even Ronald Reagan would distance himself from. To Allen West, I believe Reagan would repeat an old statement that he made at the height of McCarthyism to demonstrate that Republicans have lost their way and have acted in contrast to our American values because of their hatred and fear of liberals, and ethnic groups. Not surprisingly it’s exactly what West and Republicans need to hear.
“I never as a citizen want to see our country become urged, by either fear or resentment of this group, that we ever compromise with any of our democratic principles through that fear or resentment.”
In other words, such accusations are un-American and compromise the principles of this nation. It harms the people and divides us against each other. Such attacks only make America vulnerable to hate and fear, which are unfortunately two things Republicans constantly rely on as political tools today.