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In response to Attorney General Merrick Garland declaring war on dissenting parents, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared war on him, proving once again that there’s a reason conservatives refer to him as the “best governor in America.”
In a tweet posted Tuesday morning, the governor said bluntly that he won’t allow the Biden administration to “squelch” the rights of Florida parents.
“Attorney General Garland is weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation. Florida will defend the free speech rights of its citizens and will not allow federal agents to squelch dissent,” he wrote.
Attorney General Garland is weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation.
Florida will defend the free speech rights of its citizens and will not allow federal agents to squelch dissent.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 5, 2021
As of Wednesday morning, the tweet boasted over 40,000 likes and 12,000 retweets but only a meager 4,500 comments, meaning it was anything but ratioed.
The public clearly stands behind DeSantis, likely because of the grave concerns that Garland’s actions have elicited.
— Monica Crowley (@MonicaCrowley) October 5, 2021
In a stunning memo issued Monday, the AG revealed that he’s deploying federal authorities to investigate outspoken parents over “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” that’s allegedly been faced by school board members.
“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. Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values,” Garland wrote in the memo.
“Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety,” he added.
While this may sound good on the face of it, conservatives — including fairly mainstream ones like Rod Dreher, who’s in good enough standing with the left that he’s previously published columns at The New York Times — suspect something more sinister may be at play.
In his latest column — this one certainly not published in the Times — Dreher asked why Garland appears to believe “local law enforcement [isn’t] capable of handling these cases.”
Violence and threats of violence at school board meetings is intolerable, of course. But why federalize the law enforcement response? What’s the real game here? @ConceptualJames @realchrisrufo https://t.co/4OkDL84XSN
— Rod Dreher (@roddreher) October 5, 2021
“Why involve the Justice Department? One wonders if the Left is not trying to deploy the same strategy the FBI used against the KKK during the Civil Rights era against parents today who dissent from CRT and/or gender ideology taught to their kids, and vaccine policies,” he wrote.
“How many parents will be willing to show up at all at school board meetings to object if they fear that in so doing, they will become ensnared with the FBI?” he added.
While dissenting parents are, objectively speaking, in no way, shape or form equivalent to KKK members, this extremely far-left administration may think otherwise.
After all, this is the same administration that’s demonized its own Border Patrol agents and accused the unvaccinated of killing the vaccinated. It’s also the same administration that refers to mothers as “pregnant people.”
The strong suspicion among conservatives, therefore, is that the Biden administration’s true goal is to silence dissent. Note that this is also the same administration that has repeatedly openly called for more social media censorship and suppression.
“Attorney General Garland is attempting to silence constitutionally protected complaints about school policy by raising the specter of government retaliation,” former New York prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy, a legal powerhouse who successfully convicted the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, asserted in his own column.
This belief that it’s all part of an intimidation play is widespread:
Shame on Merrick Garland. His intimidation tactics against parents who speak up at School Board mtgs is unconstitutional & un American.
As Governor I will defend all South Dakotans who exercise 1st Amend. rights-especially parents who care what their kids are learning in school.
— Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) October 5, 2021
AG Garland’s desire for the FBI to investigate threats against school board members is an overreach of executive authority & politically motivated.
If local school boards are threatened with violence, they should report such instances to their local law enforcement.
— Jason Church (@JasonChurchWI) October 5, 2021
To his credit, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley tried to press Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco about this matter when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
Monaco claimed in response to his line of inquiry that Merrick’s order pertains only to clear threats of violence, not “spirited public debate.”
“The attorney general’s memo made quite clear that violence is not appropriate. Spirited, public debate on a whole range of issues is absolutely what this country is all about,” she said.
This prompted Hawley to ask, “Then why is it being investigated by the FBI?”
“It is not. When and if any situation turns to violence, then that is the appropriate role of law enforcement to address it,” she replied.
The appropriate role of local law enforcement … not federal law enforcement.
Josh Hawley RIPS the FBI over new efforts to target parents:
“I’m not aware of anything like this in American history… You’re using the FBI to intervene in school board meetings.” pic.twitter.com/JjoFMKtZUq
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) October 5, 2021
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