Cruz and West; and those emitting the 2008 Tea Partying rally cries of “Socialist!”, and “Communist!”, and “Kill him!!!”; and all of their enablers in Congress; Reince Priebus and other apologists for Ted Cruz at those recent hearings:
Fuck you!!! My dad would’ve kicked your asses!
(And my wife will kick Sarah Palin’s and Michelle Bachmann’s asses.)
Okay, I am speaking figuratively about the ass-kicking, but this is deeply personal.
My father was dragged in front of the McCarthy Commission for Un-American activity. He lost his security clearance: a Masters in Electrical Engineering, just starting out in the post-war world, intent on a career in government contracting work. He lost his security clearance, and almost his entire career.
I slightly fictionalized his life story in Aldus Shrugged, but everything in this diary is absolutely true and heartfelt.
My dad was a genius; easily the smartest person I ever knew. He was my father and my google, and I was always too lazy to look it up myself in the encyclopedia (remember encyclopedias: those stacks of paper, with the hard thing covering the papers, like a sandwich?)
Anyway, he earned a four year mayoral scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania (his immigrant parents couldn’t have even afforded the application fee, though the entirely yearly tuition to UofP in 1938 was 400 dollars!!!)
His grades earned him another year of graduate study and he became an Electrical Engineer, not the most popular profession for Jewish boys back then.
To make a long story short, my dad was a very complex man: he supported Nixon because of Nixon’s support for some missile program for Israel. My dad even wrote a couple of letters to Henry Kissinger and got a personal reply.
He had a heart of gold, and a big heart at that. I saw his kindness to strangers and acquaintances many times in my life. One time on a vacation to Atlantic City, we were pedaling the board walk headed to a sunrise visit at Captain Starn’s to feed the seals. My dad saw an old lady fall off her giant tricycle on a ramp, and he stopped and stayed with her until an ambulance came. I was about eight and ranted and screamed because we ended up missing the rest of our planned morning. I was just a bratty little kid, but he was consistently caring.
When he worked for Bell Laboratories in Baltimore, back in the late 1940s, my dad asked a guy on the job to stop using the n-word. The guy’s response to my dad was something like:
“You call ‘em what you want up north. Down here (yes, in Baltimore) we call ‘em n’s.”
But that apparently was not the end of it for that racist, for my dad was soon informed that his Jewish student associations in college were deemed Communist associations, and his security clearance was revoked by the McCarthy Commission.
My father used to tell me when he was testing the radars at Sandy Hook Naval Station in New Jersey, he would calibrate them by beaming the radar signal off of the water tower in Coney Island. My father’s early work on radiation and radar was deemed more important than military service, and he got a rare pass on the draft during WWII. Perhaps that also made him an easy target at that time.
Eventually, Joseph McCarthy was called out for the punk and piece of seditious trash that he was, in a famous retort by Joseph Welch, Head Counsel for the Army, who had the nerve to step up and proclaim that McCarthy had no decency. That must’ve taken real balls back then. Like stepping up and opposing the Iraq war; it wasn’t for everybody. But sometimes that’s all it takes.
Eventually Joseph McCarthy died of acute hepatitis, from chronic alcoholism…at the ripe old age of 48.When he worked on early microwave ovens, he saw the cooks open the door and the thing would still be running, like a regular oven!! The chef would put his hands in to take out the food, and he’d feel the hair on his arms crackling and popping! I am sure that industry policed itself just fine! Eventually, companies put a trip on the door to kill the microwave transmissions when the door was opened.
As the ugly died off, my father’s electrical engineering career eventually took off, and he ran a successful business, employing many people over the years.
That was just one of many stories he told me about early microwaves and electromagnetic transmissions. My dad warned me about the waves coming off of electrical lines and cell phones, way back in the 80s. Likewise, he warned me, way back in the 70s, about our personal information being disseminated and used without our knowledge. He would cringe at what is happening today!
His service to his country, studying the effects of radiation on rats, and working so closely with radar and microwaves, cost him dearly: over-calcification in his ear bones (he all but lost his hearing for most of his adult life) and under-calcification in his teeth (major lifelong dental problems). He died of cancer, eventually, at the ripe young age of 66.
My dad - and the hatred and lunacy out there because of our president - inspired me to write my first political novel. It will not be my last. I love you, dad. Your son is proud of you.
And fuck you to those who think like Ted Cruz, et al. Have you learned nothing?
Have you no decency???
Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 5:54 AM PT: First time on the REC List. Thank you to everyone. This is a great site and a wonderful opportunity to tell my dad's story, among other things. If I posted this to my blog only somewhere, it would be tantamount to posting a sign in an abandoned cul de sac. But here, it gets read!!
Thank you again, everybody.
Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 5:55 AM PT: I forgot to mention, my mom and dad met at an Adlai Stevenson rally. That always added to his complexity for me. He supported Stevenson, loved Nixon, liked Carter, hated Reagan. Go figure!