During the 1950's, as America was under threat of the Red Scare, one elected official rode that wave and used it to shamelessly and carelessly exploit the fears Americans had about communism. His witch-hunt on "suspected" communists destroyed careers and ruined personal lives, and targeted those who had the courage of their convictions to show that the self-appointed emperor wears no clothes.
That man's name was Joseph McCarthy, the Senator from Wisconsin.
Decades later, one Congressman is shamelessly trying to follow in his disgraceful footsteps: Peter King, the chairman of Homeland Security Committee, of New York's 3rd District. Today was the first day of King holding hearings regarding the suspected radicalization of American Muslims, and it began with another Congressman, Keith Ellison of Minnesota's 5th District, recollecting the story of a Muslim-American firefighter who died trying to rescue other people on 9/11.
Not only is this hearing a waste of time, but this piece of political grandstanding by King is an insult to Muslim-Americans everywhere and a deeply cynical ploy used by King to further solidify himself in the eyes of many bigoted and paranoid lock-step members of the far-right as someone who's taking the fight to Al-Qaeda and keeping Americans safe. If you want to know why most Americans give Congress low approval ratings, stunts like the one Peter King pulled, are a shining example why.