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"The Squad" Rejects Expansion of Domestic Terrorism Powers Aimed at Trump Supporters

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Tags U.S. History

01/29/2021

It’s not just Trump supporters outraged by the newly proposed domestic terrorism laws targeting them. None of “the Squad,” including Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and other avowed leftists, are tagging along with many of their Democratic colleagues.

The events of January 6, or how the “attack on the Capitol” was covered in the media, stirred up a frenzy among Democrats and their supporters to deploy some retaliation against not only the so-called domestic terrorists of that fateful day but also many of their fellow Trump supporters.

President Joe Biden ordered investigations from three intelligence agencies into “domestic violent extremism,” while in Congress, there are moves to establish new offices in the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Justice to pursue ill-defined public enemies.

Despite the heightened partisan tensions in recent weeks and months, some progressive Democrats are drawing the line at expanding the police state’s powers over political dissidents.

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), one of the four prominent progressives in the House of Representatives who make up the core of “the Squad,” led that group and five other representatives in writing a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other congressional leaders of both parties.

The letter condemns the national security and surveillance powers already on the books as “too broad, undefined, and unaccountable.”

Instead, Tlaib encourages the Democratic leadership to focus on already attainable legal means to prosecute those involved in criminal activity on January 6.

Cosigners included Representatives Earl Bluemenauer, Jamaal Bowman, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Mondaire Jones, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Barbara Lee—the same congresswoman who cast the only vote against the 2001 resolution that gave the president blanket authority, to wage unwarranted wars under the War Powers Resolution and the Constitution.

The Domestic Terrorism Bogeyman

After peddling the phony accusation that the Capitol riot was a coup attempt, the legacy media compared it to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In Congress, Pelosi doubled down, calling the rioters “domestic terrorists.”

Biden has also warned Americans, “Don't dare call them protesters.”

“They were a riotous mob. Insurrectionists. Domestic terrorists. It's that basic. It's that simple,” he said on January 7.

In the Senate, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act.

Former Democratic presidential candidate and representative from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard called Durbin’s bill an attempt to undermine Americans’ civil liberties, adding that the “targeting of almost half of the country” would do nothing to unite America.

In her letter to Pelosi, Tlaib echoed Gabbard’s concerns:

To expand the government's national security powers once again at the expense of the human and civil rights of the American people would only serve to further undermine our democracy, not protect it.

Concluding, Tlaib called on Congress “to have the courage to do what is right, not what is easy and popular.”

While by that standard the Squad should drop support of most of the policies (examples 1, 2, 3) they have championed during their time in DC, it is refreshing to see that at least some Democrats are not totally willing to reignite another unwinnable war.

Author:

Alice Salles

Alice Salles was born and raised in Brazil but has lived in America for over ten years. She now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana with her husband Nick Hankoff and their three children.  

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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