GOP: If Biden Won’t Let Violent Parents Threaten School Board Members, Is This Even America?

Right Wing Extremism
GOP: If Biden Won’t Let Violent Parents Threaten School Board Members, Is This Even America?

Republicans have lied for a few weeks now about how the Department of Justice, under the leadership of noted radical Attorney General Merrick Garland, is going to lock up parents who speak heresies at local school board meetings.

Senator Rick Scott from Florida tweeted on October 5:

Joe Biden's attorney general wants the FBI to go after parents for speaking out at school board meetings to protect kids from radical curriculum like critical race theory.

What actually happened is that the National School Boards Association asked President Joe Biden's administration for help because unhinged parents, high on Newsmax, were threatening their members. This has to do with escalating battles over both "critical race theory" (not critical race theory but rather teaching that racism in America exists) and COVID-19 prevention measures in schools, such as mask mandates. Republicans have selective amnesia about the parents who get into fist fights with teachers because of the school's mask policy or the people who surround a school board member's car, like the T. rex in Jurassic Park.

The NSBA provided the DOJ with more than "20 instances of threats, harassment, disruption, and acts of intimidation that have transpired during school board meetings and that are targeted at school officials." The DOJ was asked to "investigate, intercept, and prevent the current threats and acts of violence against public school officials" through existing laws against, you know, killing people or threatening to do so. However, Republicans leapt on this opportunity to claim Biden is siccing the thought police on innocent parents who are politely asking that teachers don't make their kids watch Roots until they cry.

Republican House Rep. Elise Stefanik, who traded her soul for Liz Cheney's former leadership role and some Frogurt,tweeted Tuesday: “Biden can't cancel parents. Pass it on." Like most Republicans, she deliberately avoids calling Biden “president," and that same grade-school mentality is why she ends her tweet with “pass it on." (She still refers to the twice-impeached thug as “President Trump," even though the one-term loser's no longer president and is also a traitor who incited an attack on Congress. Pass it on.)

This is not a difference in political opinion. Stefanik is lying, and if you subject yourself to her Twitter feed for a while you'll notice that's her core competency. Biden isn't cancelling parents. He's defending school board members, most of whom are parents. Democrats should go on the offensive and make clear that Republicans are supporting violent bullies who will inevitably end up hurting someone. This isn't a game, even if Republicans insist on playing the same one that killed people on January 6.

Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri tweeted a Daily Wire article about Scott Smith, who was arrested at a Loudoun County, Virginia, school board meeting in June that was soon declared an "unlawful assembly." He was one of many parents who were opposing the school's policy that treated transgender children like humans. Smith claimed that "a boy allegedly wearing a skirt" entered the girls bathroom at Stone Bridge High School and sexually assaulted his ninth-grade daughter.

This is awful, but it has nothing to do with transgender students. We don't even know if the person who assaulted Smith's daughter is trans, and even if they were, that doesn't mean every trans student is a potential rapist. (Conservatives notably resent when feminists imply that all cis men are potential rapists.)

And no matter how awful Smith might feel about what happened, that still doesn't give him the right to make a public scene at a school board meeting or threaten members over a policy he doesn't like. Conservatives have spent generations lecturing Black people on the correct way to protest racial injustice (“not at all" is their preference) but now they claim that white parents are entitled to public rage fests.

Hawley tweeted: "Joe Biden has directed the FBI to investigate parents like this, who was defending his daughter. This is who Biden and the left want to silence. Not criminals. Parents."

Smith was found guilty of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in August. By the same standards conservatives use to condemn victims of police violence, Smith is a criminal. There's video of Smith literally fighting cops (he's white so he survived this.)

So, Republicans should most sincerely go fuck themselves. If Smith were a Black man, no matter the circumstances, your conservative relatives would cite this video as proof that he was responsible for his own death and Black Lives Matter protesters should pull up their pants and go home.

Instead, Smith is now the latest conservative victim du jour. He was a welcome guest on Laura Ingraham's white power hour last night.

Ron Filipkowski, a lifelong Republican from Florida who left the party in disgust last year, immediately called out Hawley: "No, Josh. You lying, demagogic, reprehensible fraud. The FBI isn't investigating [Smith.] The FBI is trying to protect people like Jennifer Jenkins. This is her tonight. If you have a tiny trace of soul left in your addled brain, you will watch this. Which means you won't."

Filipkowski shared a video of Jennifer Jenkins, a school board member from Brevard County, Florida. She supports a school mask mandate, as well as treating LGBTQ+ students like people. She's become a target of threats that she has every reason to take seriously. Anti-gay bigots protested outside her home, which Republicans apparently think is only a problem if you're a hack Supreme Court justice.

JENKINS: I don't reject people coming here and speaking their voice ... I reject them following my car around. I reject them saying that they're coming for me, that I need to beg for mercy.

I reject that when they are using their First Amendment rights on public property, they're also going behind my home and brandishing their weapons to my neighbors.

Republicans are defending their supporters who are prone to violence, while demonizing Democratic efforts to keep rightwing political targets safe. Hawley and Stefanik both voted to overturn the presidential election. They are seditionists with no respect for the law, and they're feeding the same beast that Trump unleashed on the Capitol.

[NBC News]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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