Reported By Jonathan S. Tobin | NOVEMBER 1, 2021
For Democrats, Groundhog Day came nearly a month early this year. For them, like the character in the classic Bill Murray comedy, every day is Jan. 6. For them, every challenge to leftist orthodoxy, whether in the form of Biden administration policy or local school boards attempting to impose critical race theory, unreasonable COVID precautions, or transgender policies, is another day of insurrection.
They see insurrectionists everywhere. They see them in the media, where they demand that Fox News be canceled or demonetized because of its Trumpist heresies and refusal to treat a Capitol riot — in which the only person killed was an unarmed protester gunned down in cold blood by a police officer — as a new Civil War. They see them in Congress, where anyone who challenged the 2020 results or resists the Democrats’ bills to ban voter ID laws and make permanent pandemic-based election changes that removed guardrails against cheating are seeking to steal not just the 2020 election but the ones yet to be held in 2022 and 2024. They also see insurrectionists in state capitals, where legislatures that have passed voter integrity bills that seek to prevent future fraud without taking away anyone’s right to vote as not merely advocates of a new “Jim Crow” but the moral equivalent of the Confederates who fired on Fort Sumter to save slavery.
When Everyone Is an Insurrectionist
It also explains why U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland isn’t backing down on his outrageous effort to treat school board protests as an insurrectionist terrorist conspiracy. Despite heated questioning from furious Republican senators last Wednesday, he wouldn’t concede that his directive to the FBI and the rest of the Department of Justice to investigate school board critics around the country was based on a lie. He denied that he was targeting the free speech of parents who have protested decisions by school boards on curricula and other policies. That Garland would stand by the rash directive was all the more curious because the hearing came after the National School Boards Association (NSBA) had apologized for the letter that began this shocking episode.
Garland’s doubling down at the hearing about the need for the government to crack down on opponents does make sense. Or at least it does when placed in the context of his party’s current political obsession.
For nine months the Biden administration, its congressional allies, and its media cheerleaders have treated the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as not merely a disgraceful episode but an “insurrection” and “attempted coup” that represented an ongoing threat to the government rather than just a mob that ran amuck. At this point, it’s clear the Biden team has come to view any dissent from leftist dictums — be they national or local — as not merely unwelcome criticism but the work of Trumpist insurrectionists who must be put down rather than tolerated.
Democrats are determined to go on running against former President Donald Trump and his “deplorable” band of insurrectionists indefinitely. But they have been dismayed by the turn of events in Virginia, where resistance against the radical takeover of the schools by angry parents has transformed the gubernatorial race in what the left assumed was a securely blue state. So it was hardly surprising that the administration would seek to brand those citizens outraged by what was being done to their children as just another outbreak of the same insurrection they have been inveighing against all year.
Cornered by Republican senators, Garland asserted that his memo had not ordered investigations of angry parents as “domestic terrorists.” Yet his memo characterized criticisms of officials at public meetings as “harassment, intimidation and threats of violence.” In it, he stated plainly that Department of Justice would use its authority to “identify,” “discourage” and “prosecute” these alleged threats while maintaining “coordination and partnership with local enforcement.”
Even more disingenuously, he denied that the letter from the NSBA, which had been coordinated with the White House had prompted his directive. It labeled people like a Loudoun County parent whose daughter was allegedly raped by a boy in a girl’s bathroom then covered up by the school district as “domestic terrorists.”
‘Terrorists’ Have No Rights
Garland’s willingness to jump into that mess was predictable. Tellingly, earlier this month even after the truth had come out about the alleged rape and its coverup, Loudoun County Democratic Party Chair Lissa Savaglio called the parents “Republican insurrectionists.”
Republicans asked Garland about why the attempt to intimidate Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema into going along Biden’s spending spree when she was followed, harangued, and filmed in a bathroom wasn’t as worthy of investigation as incidents in which school board members were yelled at. Similarly, the invasion of the Department of the Interior earlier this month by a leftist mob demanding Biden adopt even more radical environmental policies didn’t make it onto his radar screen.
Nor is Garland or the mainstream media willing to admit that the hundreds of Black Lives Matter “mostly peaceful” riots in cities around the nation in the summer of 2020 were far more of a threat to public order and government authority than the misguided people who illegally entered the Capitol on Jan.6. But if we have learned anything in the last year, it should be this: Democrats will never stop talking about the insurrection.
In part, that’s because they actually believe their political foes don’t deserve constitutional rights. As we saw with their reaction to the fatal police shooting of Capitol protester Ashli Babbit and the treatment of those facing prosecution over their illegal behavior on Jan. 6, they believe insurrectionists have no rights, including those that guarantee due process.
Democrats also understand that labeling conservatives as domestic terrorists is key to their political survival as Biden’s presidency unravels in the face of domestic problems like the southern border crisis, the supply chain disaster, and feckless conduct abroad. Running on Biden’s record or defending efforts to impose woke ideology on children isn’t likely to bring them success. That means they will go on labeling anyone who questions their ideological hobby horses as Trumpist “traitors” so long as they think it will help them rally their voters to turn out and preserve their power.