SURRATT: OK, accusers, show us what you’ve got

Published 4:00 am Friday, April 1, 2022

In February 1950, while speaking to the Women’s Republican Club of Wheeling, West Virginia, Sen. Joseph McCarthy claimed that homegrown spies were causing America to lose the Cold War and there were members of the Communist Party in the State Department, saying, “I have here in my hand a list of 205.”

No one ever asked to see the list, and those in government and the media who questioned or criticized McCarthy for his tactics and his use of rumor and innuendo to badger witnesses were themselves cast as “communists” by the senator for opposing him.

In the years since McCarthy’s downfall, “McCarthyism” has remained in various forms — people calling others names because someone failed to agree with the thoughts or policies of another group accusing others of alleged crimes. Politicians like children calling other children names toss about words like “liberal or “elitist.”

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Rumor and gossip have always been with us since Adam and Eve had neighbors. People love to spread rumors about people, especially those they don’t like. Especially politicians and critics of the government.

I remember when I worked on the Coast, a former sheriff made it a habit of spreading rumors about those who defeated him. I know, because all the rumors came straight to me. I checked everyone out and found all of them to be wrong.

The best example was the former sheriff’s favorite messenger, an elderly lady who called me monthly with the latest tall tale. The lady one time told me that the county’s Civil Service Commission had ordered a recently fired deputy restored to duty with back pay. For confirmation, she told me to call the commission’s chairman, who told me the meeting never happened and was quite upset that both parties canceled it at the last minute.

That was in the pre-social media days when people sent you nasty letters or called on the phone. Social media is much worse and from what I’ve seen locally and nationally, it’s become an outlet for the outlandish, the unfounded and the crazy as people either write or go to video to voice their objections and make their accusations.

I find it upsetting that people would accept the mindless meanderings and accusations of abecedarian politicians and commentators without asking a few questions to determine if what they’re reading or hearing is correct. Most of the time, a few keystrokes on the computer can provide the answer.

In other cases, like the apparent baseless claims of My Pillow guy Mike Lindell, it may take a court hearing to clear up the problem.

Lindell, like many other people firing accusations across the bows of either companies or individuals, claims to have proof of his claims of voter fraud but refuses to show it. It’s like watching a burlesque stripper, waiting for the exciting finish and being disappointed.

So OK, Mike Lindell, and all those claiming irregularities and crimes, whether it’s against a voting machine company, mayor or superintendents of schools or senator, let’s see it. If you’ve got the proof show it to the world. If you don’t, quit playing games and tell the truth — “Sorry folks; I’ve got nothing.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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