Listening to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s Congressional testimony last week, it seemed he had no idea what he was letting himself in for when he directed the FBI to monitor local school board meetings after vague claims surfaced of some parents allegedly going over the top in protesting the inclusion of woke agenda items like Critical Race Theory and acceptability of transgenderism in school curricula.
His curious action followed a letter of complaint sent to President Biden by officials of the National School Boards Association – itself part of the woke militia – which asked for help. Garland apparently never thought to explain how the rigorous standards for federal involvement had been met, and how it all happened so quickly.
For someone who spent many years as a senior Department of Justice official and a federal appeals court judge, and who came close to becoming a member of the United States Supreme Court, he surely should have expected the pushback he got from across the legal community and elsewhere. Even the school board association disavowed its letter that started the whole mess.
Did he not realize that he would immediately be accused of being a soldier in the culture wars mounted by his boss, the President? Did he not remember that almost all of American free speech jurisprudence involved not direct government suppression of speech but rather indirect action that might have a “chilling effect” on freewheeling discussion? Did it not occur to him that his direction to the FBI might call to mind the notorious intrusions of the KGB into the lives of ordinary Soviet citizens?
And did he forget the savaging of his predecessor William Barr for having the temerity to share his understanding of the Mueller Report. By any measure, Barr’s recitation did not even come close to Garland’s politically partisan weaponizing of the powers of his office in the service of the President.
Perhaps most importantly, he forgot that this is still America and what he tried to pull off is not the way we do business here.
Yes, our government is in the complete control of those who believe that their agenda is the revealed word – and if rules get in the way – just change the rules. If you can. Let’s hope that Garland’s comeuppance will serve as an object lesson for any of his colleagues who also think anything goes if you have the power to do it.