Attorney General Merrick Garland made a stunning announcement about having the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices coordinate with federal, state, and local law enforcement to deal with “threats” of violence against school boards and people working in schools.
This immediately prompted cries from critics that Garland was trying to suppress people objecting to pandemic restrictions and CRT — two of the hot button issues that have caused many people to come out and object at school board meetings.
While Garland spoke about “threats,” he didn’t identify any threats or concerns which would qualify as federal criminal action requiring such interference in the parents’ rights to express themselves. Indeed, the announcement seemed like an effort to basically chill their rights to speak. Normally, if there was any actual “threat,” it would come within the purview of local law enforcement. There’s no requirement to make what would already be illegal more illegal. So what actually are they saying here? What’s actually happening with this edict from the Biden Administration?
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has championed the rights of parents to speak on behalf of their own children — something that should be self-evident and unquestionable — threw down the gauntlet, speaking out against this troubling announcement from Garland.
“Attorney General Garland is weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation,” DeSantis tweeted. “Florida will defend the free speech rights of its citizens and will not allow federal agents to squelch dissent.”
DeSantis has stood up for parents’ rights in the battle over pandemic restrictions, with DeSantis fighting for the parents’ rights to speak on whether to have their children masked.
In July, the governor ushered in Florida’s Parents Bill of Rights, which says the government “may not infringe upon the fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of a minor child.”
DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw told Fox News in a statement that it was too early to tell what steps the governor would take in response to the DOJ’s order but that he was closely monitoring the situation “to protect the rights of Floridians from government overreach and the inappropriate politicization of federal law enforcement….Florida law enforcement is perfectly capable of responding to crimes in Florida, and we have never heard the FBI suggest otherwise.”
“However, disagreement is not harassment. Protest is not terrorism, unless it involves rioting, looting, and assault, like some of the left-wing protests of summer 2020. Again, all of those actions are crimes in Florida and will be prosecuted, regardless of political context,” the statement continued. “Governor DeSantis condemns any attempt by the federal government to silence free speech. It is despicable and anti-American.”
Apparently, protest is unacceptable if it’s from the right. It’s cool if it’s from the left and is burning down cities.
But Biden and his officials don’t even acknowledge that the parents are the “primary stakeholders” in their children’s education — they think the state has a right to dictate.
Biden's Education Secretary Cardona says parents should not be the "primary stakeholder" in their kids' education. pic.twitter.com/kZo2pr7Bds
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 30, 2021
If they can’t even acknowledge that, they’re already in dangerous territory. That explains why they think they can dictate to parents what to do with their children and why they can suddenly marshal the FBI to interfere with parents acting on behalf of their children.