McCarthyism and anti-communism remains in the US government


When Saule Omarova was questioned during her hearing, she wasn’t asked about policy or anything relevant to the position. She was asked if she was a communist sympathizer.

Saule Omarova’s nomination process for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency reflects the bankruptcy of our current political landscape. Despite being tremendously qualified, Omarova lost this opportunity because of red scare propaganda.

Omarova, an immigrant from Kazakhstan, is an attorney and Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. She previously served in the Department of Treasury as a special advisor. She studied in the former Soviet Union at Moscow State University and graduated cum laude from the Northwest University School of Law in Chicago.

Omarova had garnered support among progressives for OCC leadership and showed interest in eliminating the gender-income gap, investing in green technologies, increasing regulations on financial industries and using the Federal Reserve to provide every U.S. citizen with a bank account. However, when Omarova was questioned during her hearing, she wasn’t asked about policy or anything relevant to the position. She was asked if she was a communist sympathizer.

Omarova was born in the Soviet Union. She received a scholarship named after communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin and wrote a paper on the economics of Karl Marx while she lived in the Soviet Union. It should come as no shock at all that a student in the Soviet Union would have learned about Marxism.

Graphic by Unsplash.

During Omarova’s hearing, the crowd audibly gasped as Sen. John Kennedy said, “I don’t know whether to call you professor or ‘comrade.’”

It felt like I was transported back to the McCarthyist Red Scare, in which U.S. citizens had to pledge loyalty to the U.S. in numerous forms while officially rebuking socialist ideals and sympathies. I cannot describe how genuinely stupid it is to imply a former Bush administration advisor is some type of Marxist revolutionary colluding to nationalize our precious private banks and end U.S. capitalism.

Ironically, Kennedy preceded his ignorant statement with “you have the right to believe every one of these things. You do. This is America.”

Clearly not. Kennedy’s line of questioning implied that socialist influences have no place regulating financial sectors. Those of you who wish to empower working interests over private capital need not apply.

Kennedy and the Republicans know Omarova isn’t a communist. During the nomination process, Omarova offered to meet with Republican senators to correct the record on her views, but only one took her up on it. Omarova’s sabotage was a political show to push across certain messages.

Republicans used Red Scare tactics to remind U.S. citizens that communists are “bad,” prohibit communist influences in the U.S. government and keep Omarova away from the financial sector because of perceived socialist influences. The U.S. would not tolerate any type of radical regulating their financial sector.

The real losers in Omarova withdrawing her nomination are regular, working people. We get nothing out of this loss other than a propagandistic political charade.

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Caleb Sprous
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