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Alternate History

Second Red Scare (President Welles)

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Second red scare ad

A "Second Red Scare" propaganda ad from the 1990s.

The "Second Red Scare" was the common name given to the heavy anti-Communist and anti-Soviet atmosphere in the United States during the 1990s and early-2000s, under the presidency of George H.W. Bush. During this era, tensions became heated between the two major powers, and an atmosphere of fear and panic was common in the US.

One of the major aspects of the "Second Red Scare" was the intense development of homeland security, which led to strict immigration and transportation control, and government intentions to access private information, and internet contents.

Also, the "Red Scare" affected the mass media and arts, where several leftist artists were investigated by the FBI, and were employed less because of the fear by the film studios, networks and producers. These included filmmakers such as Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, Steven Soderbergh, and bands like Rage Against the Machine.

Because of these, many people felt that the government is restricting civil rights, and the right to free speech. Critizism of this stragety began as early as 1995, but it gained more and more following in the next years.

Nation-wide protests against such measures were held in the late-1990s. No such protests were seen in the US since the days of the McCarthist "witch hunts" in the 1950s. The largest protest was held in Washington D.C. in 1998, attended by many media personalities, including the aforementioned Stone and Moore, actors Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Roy Scheider, Harry Belafonte, Robert De Niro, musicians Tom Morello, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and John Lennon, and writers Kurt Vonnegut and Gore Vidal.

As a counter-force, right-wing anti-communist artists and intellectuals formed the Stand Up For American Ideals And Values Organization. It's founders included actors Ernest Borgnine, Robert Duvall, Robert Davi, Chuck Norris, musician Pat Boone, and writer William F. Buckley, Jr.

Tensions also rose when a group of activists were arrested and carried away by the police, before they could make a protest near the Republican convention of 1999. The activists were defended by Chicago-based lawyer Barack Obama, who then came to prominence as a supporter of the anti-red scare cause, and was often biased by the conservatives.

Also, the anti-communist atmosphere ignited a rise in war spendings, including the heavy armanent of both nuclear and conventional weapons. Many critics of the government had seen this as a favor to the Washington weapons lobby.

The heated "Red Scare" somewhat came to an end when Lamar Alexander was elected President in 2000. The Hollywood anti-communist lobby also loosened up, thanks to the Democrat Governor of California, Herbert F. Solow, who openly supported the struggle against the discrimination.

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