I’d like to mention one other awful period in American history: McCarthyism.
We still don’t have decent medical care in the US, affordable, universal care, and our existing safety nets are under attacks precisely because socialism was demonized by right wingers. Indeed the whole “better Dead than Red” meme was not only all pervasive, it was pernicious and the US has been living with the issue since the 1930’s, indeed as soon as Roosevelt managed to create the New Deal the Right began trying to dismantle it.
To this day anything to do with communitarian principles of sharing, the common good, social safety nets, are slandered as “socialist,” as though that is a bad thing. Obama is a “socialist.”
This is another lie - confusing socialism with totalitarianism, when in fact socialism easily coexists with democracy - indeed, communism itself is often represented in democratic states - and lying about this is a tool of fascists and has been since before WWII.
It’s a tool, not so incidentally, which has resulted in a terribly skewed economic and power situation. Particularly since Reagan, the American working people, the 99%, have not made any progress economically and the fortunes and power of the 1% have absolutely skyrocketed.
That is antithetical to a democratic state, to a truly free people, since it takes power out of the people’s hands and puts in those who own all the money and hence the power. Citizen’s United, attacks on unions, attacks on women, voter suppression, all this is a not too subtle attack on the power and freedom of ordinary American people as well as on our pockets.
Think about it and tell me we’re not dealing with something pernicious.