At yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Attorney General Merrick Garland, it became clear that for the Republican Party, threats of death and violence against elected officials at every level of government are not only acceptable, but that to speak out in even the mildest way deserves hysterical over-reaction calculated to cause officials to receive even more threats of death and violence. It’s the cynical cycle of democratic (and Democratic) doom, and GOP senators were more than willing to aid and abet all the violent motherfuckers using intimidation to chase public servants out of office.
The basis for this is a relatively milquetoast memorandum from Garland titled, “Partnership Among Federal, State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Law Enforcement to Address Threats against School Administrators, Board Members, Teachers, and Staff.” After expressing concern about real violence and threats of violence happening at school board meetings and at schools, Garland says, “I am directing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working with each United States Attorney, to convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum. These meetings will facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff, and will open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.”
Now, you, being a rational, at least semi-compassionate human being, might think that that sounds just fine. After all, it’s pretty fucking hard to argue against the fact that school board meetings have become shit shows of MAGA freaks bellowing about “critical race theory” and antivaxx fucknuts yowling about masks and vaccines. I honestly don’t know how some school board members haven’t just started screaming, “Shut the fuck up!” repeatedly at the freak parade they have to deal with. But mixed in with bellows and yowls are often threats of knowing where people live or more direct threats about murdering or beating people. It’s using fear and intimidation to force government to act in their favor. Generally, we call that shit “terrorism,” as in “I’ll fucking kill your whole family if you make my child wear a mask in class.” Again, you and I would think that law enforcement might want to be involved here, and that local authorities might wanna get some tips from the agency that deals with, you know, terrorists.
But not the modern GOP. Oh, no. That’s akin to rounding up parents and sending them to reeducation camps. As Chuck Grassley, the Senate’s crabbiest piss elf, put it, Garland created “a task force that includes the department’s criminal division and national security division to potentially weaponize against parents.” Except “parents” aren’t mentioned in the memo at all. That didn’t stop the next few hours of performative fuckery by Republicans in making this memo seem like it was an attack on the very foundations of Uhmerkan freedom. Think that’s an overstatement? Grassley cranked on, “This kind of looks like something that would come out of some communist country expansive definition of national security.” Yeah, that level of shitting themselves hysteria.
On it went. John Cornyn, who always looks like he’s wondering if anyone will find out where he buried that Mexican boy, sputtered, “Can you imagine the sort of intimidation, the sort of bullying impact, that a memorandum from the Department of Justice would have and how that would chill the willingness of parents to exercise their rights under threat of federal prosecution?” Because the rule of law is something that the MAGA right really seems to give a shit about when they’re threatening to overthrow the government. And, by the way, Cornyn repeatedly asked Garland that question and got all red-faced that Garland wouldn’t play on the field Cornyn wanted him to play on.
And still on it fucking went.
Mike Lee said, “In hindsight, would you agree that a natural consequence of your memo could be chilling free speech, protected speech, by parents protesting local school board policies?” Lee also offered that there has been no uptick of violent threats in his state, but his fucking state is Utah, which is founded on mass murder.
The biggest self-fellater was Tom Cotton, who harangued Garland endlessly about the memo, and said, “Why do you continue to dissemble in front of this committee that you are only talking about violence and threats of violence when your memo says harassment and intimidation?” Now, again, you and I may think, “Um, intimidation is generally a threat of violence,” but you and I are not mighty senators from the mighty state of Arkansas, where, “Shut up or I’ll rape your ass” is a statement of endearment. Cotton then went all Tuckerfied, raging, “So are you going to sic your US attorneys and the FBI on a parents’ group if they post on Facebook something that annoys a school board member, Judge?” before concluding like the dickhole he is with “Thank God you are not on the Supreme Court. You should resign in disgrace, Judge.”
And still on it fucking went. You can read the transcript to get more of the same shit, repeated in different ways, from John Kennedy’s corny shit to Ben Sasse’s runny shit to Marsha Blackburn’s fart mouth to dried turds Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. All of them decided to use this precious time to accuse Garland and the evil Biden administration of using the federal government to silence brave MAGA parents who just want the best for their precious children who hate them.
But, at the end of it all, what you come away with is that the GOP is trying to protect its base, the violent assholes trying to silence or run out of office officials they disagree with. It’s of a piece with the reduction of January 6 to a mere protest than a riot of savage fucks bent on keeping Donald Trump in office. It’s of a piece of screaming that mask and vaccine mandates are brutal government control of bodies rather than a public health measure. They want the assholes to keep threatening elections officials and school board members, driving them away, allowing the assholes to install their asshole leaders in positions of power.
And the senators and House members in a previous hearing who engage in this kind of unfounded attack on the mildest of reproaches, the recognition that fucked up shit is fucked up, ensure that those who might want to make more threats feel empowered to do so. This isn’t a fucking political party. It’s Al-Qaeda on the Potomac.
(Not to give any credit to any of the GOP’s dried jizz stains, but Lindsey Graham actually didn’t ask Garland about the memo, sticking to issues of the border and international terrorism. It was still prickish, but it’s the kind of prickish we’re all used to.)
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on October 28, 2021 on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.
Image Credit: New Yorker