In the historical series “Fellow Travellers” on Showtime, Hawkins “Hawk” Fuller receives mentoring from Senator Wesley Smith. Smith chooses not to support Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and his chief counsel Roy Cohn when they get ready to launch a witch hunt. Hawk tells Smith about his “rebellious” views on communism and wants Smith in higher positions for the good of the nation. Eventually, when Hawk marries his daughter Lucy Smith, he also becomes the latter’s father-in-law. Since the show includes actual politicians like McCarthy, we now know for sure if Smith was a senator.
The Voice of Dissent
In the 1952 Senate election, Wesley Smith, a Republican, was not elected. Additionally, there is no such character in Thomas Mallon’s self-titled source work, indicating that the fictional senator was developed by series creator Ron Nyswaner and his writing team. In the midst of Joseph McCarthy’s accusations that the State Department is home to several communists, he is portrayed as a voice of disapproval among Republicans. McCarthy’s ideas are supported by certain government employees and bureaucrats, while Smith disagrees.
Smith clarifies that someone cannot be accused of having communist affiliations just because they happened to attend the same gathering as a communist leader. Despite facing isolation as a result of his political beliefs, he fearlessly expresses them without concern about the consequences. Despite being a fictional figure, he has resemblance to the Republican lawmakers of the 1950s who declined to accompany McCarthy in his pursuit of “alleged” communists. Margaret Chase Smith, a senator from Maine from 1949 to 1973, is one of these politicians.
Margaret gains significance because, in Mallon’s original novel, she is referenced a lot in addition to sharing the same last name. With her 1950 speech “Declaration of Conscience,” the late lawmaker is credited with being among the first to criticise McCarthy’s actions. Margaret stated during a gathering regarding the historic second Red Scare, according to Smithsonian Magazine, “It is high time we stopped thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking patriotically as Americans about national security based on individual freedom.”
Even though Margaret was a key member of the Republican Party at the time, she was very critical of her fellow Republicans. “As an American, I want neither a Republican witch hunt nor a Democratic Administration “white wash” or “cover-up.” In my opinion as an American, a Republican is a “fascist” in the same way that a Democrat is a “communist.” I decry Republican “communists” as much as I do Democrats who are “fascists.” “They pose an equal threat to our nation, you, and me,” her “Declaration of Conscience” states.
Margaret didn’t specifically mention McCarthy by name, but it’s obvious that her remarks were directed at his strategies. As a result, similarities might be found between her and the fictional Wesley Smith.