THOSE OF us who have been yearning for the good old days of the late '40s and early '50s, got a shot in the arm the other day when it was announced by Sen. Strom Thurmond, the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that he was reviving the Subcommittee on Internal Security.
The committee, which had seen its best days under Sen. James Eastland of Mississippi, had been abolished four years ago because the country seemed to have run out of Communists.
But, as a member of the ultra-right, I never believed it. And when I heard that Thurmond had assigned Sen. Jeremiah Denton of Alabama, one of the Moral Majority's favorite sons, to head up the committee, I knew the country was back in safe hands.
I wanted to see the expression on the faces of some of my liberal friends when they heard the news, so I went to a meeting of the Georgetown Tri-Lateral Club to chortle.
"Well," I said, "you left-wingers have had it. The Internal Security Subcommittee is back in business, and they're going to be watching every move you make."
"We have nothing to worry about," said Mortimer. "We're not Communists."
"Boy," I said, "do you have a short memory. You don't have to be a Communist to be investigated by the Internal Security Subcommittee. You just have to think like one, or attend a meeting with people who might be fellow travelers."
"That's old hat," Mortimer said. "The reason the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee went out of business was that they couldn't find any Communists. Every time they thought they had a biggie, he turned out to be an informer for the FBI. The only way the Communist Party survived as long as it did in this country was that J. Edgar Hoover paid all the membership dues."
"That's a lie and you know it," I said angrily. "There were millions of pinkos in this country when Hoover and Joe McCarthy were alive. Hollywood was loaded with them. How do you think we lost China? Well, I want to tell you something. The liberals had the country believing that the red menace had abated. But there were manyof us who thought differently, and we also knew that if Strom Thurmond ever got the Judiciary chairmanship, Commie-hunting would come back."
"What are they going to do? Most of the people on the old committee's list of subversive organizations are either dead or on Social Security."
"We'll make up a new list," I retorted. "We can start with the Moral Majority's hit list and go from there. If you don't think the pro-abortion, pro-ERA, anti-school prayer groups are being financed by the Kremlin, then you're a bigger dupe than I thought you were. I have a good mind to turn in your name."
"We know all about you, Mortimer. You're pro-consumer, anti-nuke, for gun control, and a closet environmentalist."
"That doesn't make me a Communist."
"Where there's smoke, there's fire."
"What the hell does that mean?" Mortimer yelled.
"All we want you to do is tell who is behind the 'Save the California Redwoods' campaign."
"You're crazy," Mortimer said. "This country went through its witch-hunting period once. The people are not going to buy it again."
"Don't you believe it. Americans will buy a red menance any time you offer them one. It makes life a lot simplier for everybody. Mortimer, if you just give me the names of the people on the Tri-Lateral Commission, I'll see that the subcommittee goes easy on you."