New GOP Reps Creating Super-Cool Anti-Squad For Cool Kids Called ‘Freedom Force,' Isn't That So Cool?
Conservatives aren't cool. That's just a fact. They closest they came was Alex P. Keaton in the '80s, but that was fiction. In reality, your short, conservative Reagan lover is Ben Shapiro.
For the past two years, it has frustrated Republicans (and admittedly many moderate Democrats) that the so-called Squad has received so much attention. Elise Stefanik or Abigail Spanberger aren't featured on the cover of Vanity Fair, but they also don't receive death threats nor are they called a “fucking bitch" on the Capitol steps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn't even get to keep the clothes from her Vanity Fair shoot.
Nonetheless, some Republicans have declared their intentions to Pat Boone the Squad and launch their own less-talented Monkees version. This is reportedly the “idea" of Florida Republican Congresswoman-elect Maria Elvira Salazar.
"I want to create a force within my freshman class that will have to be reckoned with. A force of reason, a force for freedom, a force for democracy."
Next year, a whopping eight members of the Republican House Caucus are people of color, and they will band together against the perceived existential threat the “socialist" Squad poses. This is not a “diverse" opinion. It's fairly uniform within the GOP. They're not introducing free jazz to the party.
I was born in Miami — a community built by survivors my parents fled Castro's socialist nightmare. we can't just… https://t.co/ids3HsRGsC— María Elvira Salazar 🇺🇸 (@María Elvira Salazar 🇺🇸)1605912471.0
New York Republican Congresswoman-elect Nicole Malliotakis has also answered Salazar's call.
"We need to form our own 'squad.' We have a group of new Republicans who love America. We value freedom, liberty and opportunity," Malliotakis told The New York Post last week.
Is Malliotakis implying that the current, tired old Republican House members don't already value "freedom, liberty, and opportunity?" I mean, they don't, not really, but they say they do all the time.
Congresswoman-elect Victoria Spartz of Indiana thinks the Squad represents everything she saw go wrong in her native Ukraine.
"I grew up in a socialistic country, the Socialist Republic of Ukraine. I saw what happens when it runs out of money and it is not pretty," Spartz told Fox News. "And now we're building socialism. I'm kind of going full circles. I can tell you what is going to be next. It's very sad for me to see that."
Most American liberals are inclined to associate “Democratic socialism" with the economic systems of Germany, Denmark, and Sweden — you know, our allies — and not brutal communist regimes. I can appreciate that if your family fled Castro's Cuba, you might view any hint of socialism suspiciously. However, Donald Trump's tendencies to attack the press, assault protesters, and reject the results of a democratic election are bigger despot warning signs than AOC's Green New Deal.
"When I hear this Democratic socialism that is being presented within the Democratic Party, I can only tell you that only brings misery, oppression and exile. And how do I know? Because I have lived it and I have covered it," Salazar said.
I'm hardly an expert, but I don't think anyone left Castro's Cuba because of the universal health care. It was probably all the murders. Meanwhile, Trump's “Department of Justice" is trying to bring back firing squads.
The Freedom Force — yes, that's their name. That name again is “Freedom Force" — also includes Michelle Steel of California, Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma, Burgess Owens of Utah, and Florida men Carlos Giménez and Byron Donalds. With their combined powers of evil, they've pledged to counter the “socialist Squad," which is not and has never been Democratic leadership. The Freedom Force should probably confront the rising tide of QAnon lunacy within its own ranks, but its members won't because they're all full of crap.
The Squad formed organically after the 2018 midterms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib had shared interests and were genuine outsiders in the party. As Pressley explained in an interview last year, the #SquadGoals hashtag that provided the group's nickname represents their desire to build "a more equitable and just world." You're free to disagree with them, but they're not the enemy.
During an appearance on “The Ingraham Angle," Owens boasted that "We have a 'Freedom Force' versus 'Squad.' “ It seems like conservatives don't have shared interests so much as shared enemies. That's what motivates them. It's also why conservatives collectively couldn't unite with liberals when facing a global pandemic. It's destructive, pathetic, and childish.
Omar bluntly noted on "Meet the Press" that the Freedom Force sounds “ridiculous."
I think they think they're in high school. We're in Congress.
Oh, if only Congress was like high school. They'd have expelled Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan by now.
The Freedom Force won't appreciate this, but they won't have to worry about President Biden regularly raising lynch mobs against them or claiming that they aren't “real" Americans. Some of them might even rate a magazine cover. It's all upside for the Fake Squad.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."