New smear, same old political game

With the fall of the former Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin came into power as a liberal but shortly began to move to the right. His new goal was to cover over the Soviet atrocities and stifle dissent. He was aided by a former KGB officer, Vladimir Putin, who contrived to imprison nearly a dozen leading dissenters, one by one, with spurious charges of child sexual abuse. Yeltsin was so grateful he made young Putin his prime minister and ultimately designated him as his chosen successor once his own term was completed. Turns out accusing one’s political opponents of pedophilia is an effective strategy. Vicious, but effective. How can one prove one is NOT secretly a pedophile? One need have no platform, no policy; just smear the opposition — you know, like Putin does.

The technique itself is not new. Since the ’50s in our country, a common practice by the extreme right was to refer to an opposing person or group as “communist.” It was the perfect smear. How does one prove one is NOT secretly a communist?

Well, that was then. Today, to our deep and abiding shame, the term “pedophile” or “groomer” is tossed about with abandon, again by the radical right. In the realm of political smears, “pedophile” has become the new “communist.”


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today