More than 1,200 scholars who study U.S. history and related fields have signed a statement warning American citizens of frightening parallels they see between the atmosphere surrounding Donald Trump’s election and the hysteria surrounding Joe McCarthy’s anti-Communist witch hunts in the 1950s.
Per Mother Jones, the scholars believe Trump’s rhetoric and demagoguery are similar to not only that of Joe McCarthy, but of the kind of rhetoric used to justify the mass internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
“Looking back to history provides copious lessons on what is at stake when we allow hysteria and untruths to trample people’s rights,” the scholars write. “We know the consequences, and it is possible, with vigilance and a clear eye on history, to prevent tragedy before it is too late.”
Specifically, the scholars note that some Trump advocates have actually cited the internment of Japanese Americans as a precedent for creating a nationwide “Muslim registry.” They also note that one Trump supporter has created a “watchlist” for professors who allegedly hold “anti-American” views.