Merrick Garland, clearly thinking, 'I can't believe these idiots.'

US Attorney General Merrick Garland appeared before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday, and found himself explaining over and over and over again that the Department of Justice is not in fact trying to criminalize parents who are angry about mask mandates and accurate US history lessons, however irritating those folks may be. Instead, you see, the DOJ is only interested in preventing violence or threats of violence against educators and school boards. Really, that's different from people spouting dumb Fox News claims about masks and critical race theory.

It's all kind of meta, really: First, rightwing media whipped people into a frenzy about nonexistent threats — masks are tyranny! History lesson harm white kids! — and that led some more excitable assholes on the Right to scream "we know where you live!" at public health officials, to get into actual fistfights with teachers on school grounds, and to vow they'll physically march into school board meetings and "remove" board members. Also, really actually terrible death threats against them and their families.

So when educators and the National School Boards Association requested that the Biden administration do something to keep school boards and teachers safe from such threats, wingnut media and Republican members of Congress have responded by lying about that, too, insisting falsely that an October 4 memorandum from the DOJ represents an attempt to silence all dissent by patriotic parents who merely want to protect their children from knowing real history, or from their inalienable right to spread a deadly lung infection.


Let's be very clear: The DOJ memo that Fox News and your more dishonest parts of Congress are so upset about makes clear, in its first damn paragraph, "While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views."

For your Hollow Mordant Laughter viewing pleasure, check out this thread of six video excerpts showing Garland patiently explaining that the DOJ memo only addresses threats of violence and actual violence against schools and school boards, and that the DOJ doesn't have any interest in preventing people from ranting as much as they want to about imaginary conspiracies, just as long as they aren't threatening to murder teachers. Here are just two examples; our favorite may be the second one.

Idiot Jim Jordan (R-Idiotburg) accused Garland of setting up a "snitch line" for people to turn in parents who object to school policies, which led Garland to explain, yet again, that the memo had nothing to do with school policies, or about parents objecting, just violence or threats of violence, sigh.

But for pretended dudgeon, it's hard to beat Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Breakfast) who just wanted to know why the Department of Justice thinks concerned parents are domestic terrorists and criminals. Tiffany wanted to know whether Garland would be sending FBI agents to attend school board meetings (no, they will not, you stupid fuck), and wondered aloud if concerned parents like himself will be dragged off to Gitmo and tortured or something.

Tiffany: I've attended multiple school board meetings in my district over the last year, I have a child that's in public school yet, [I'm] very concerned about some of the things that are going on, and yes, some of those school board meetings get heated. Are we, my friends, neighbors, constituents, are we domestic terrorists?

Garland's one-word answer, "NO," speaks volumes. By the fourth or fifth time he's had to explain the point, we can't say we blame him for being irritated.

Tiffany pressed on: "Are we criminals?"

Garland, clearly annoyed, explained that he's fairly sure the congressman hasn't actually done any thing criminal like making threats of violence, but he seemed to imply that if Tiffany has, he'd be open to hearing about it.

Crom knows Garland tried, stating early on that "Parents have been complaining about the education of their children and about school boards since there were such things as school boards and public education," and emphasizing that the DOJ has no interest at all in regulating constitutionally protected speech.

Not that it did the least bit of good, because after all, why is Merrick Garland calling parents terrorists, huh?

[US News / WaPo / Fox News]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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