- The Washington Times
Thursday, October 14, 2021

OPINION:

Parents attending school board meetings in America are not terrorists.

Obviously, any sane, rational American would agree. Yet, here we are watching shocking footage of a father concerned about the rape of his daughter in a high school bathroom beaten to the ground by officers for speaking up at a school board meeting in Loudoun County, Virginia.


The brutal attack is part of the Biden’s administration’s latest push to use anti-terrorism laws enacted in the wake of 9/11 to target law-abiding American citizens. 

This is the condition of citizens today. In America.

It is all so hard to believe. In fact, any sane, rational person would not believe it was happening if not for the actual video footage. And the letter from Attorney General Merrick Garland directing the U.S. Department of Justice to use provisions of the Patriot Act to intimidate and attack innocent, law-abiding parents for attending school board meetings and voicing concerns about the education of their own children.

Things have become so absurd that this is what we find ourselves debating.

It is so bad that the author of the Patriot Act has to explain that no, in fact, the Patriot Act was not designed to throttle free speech or attack American parents who want to participate in the education of their children.

“As principal author of the Patriot Act and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee during its consideration, I find it necessary to remind the Biden administration that the Patriot Act doesn’t apply to parents’ behavior at school board meetings,” writes former Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin Republican.

Specifically, Mr. Sensenbrenner expressed alarm over the marginalization and criminalization of parents in Virginia.

“Rather than embracing a renaissance of spirited and nonviolent civic engagement, Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe recently said: ‘I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.’ Democrats’ hostility toward parents seeking a voice in their children’s education is not new,” he wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

“Of greater concern is the recent attempt to weaponize our criminal laws to eliminate those voices.”

The author of the Patriot Act says the Biden administration has twisted the anti-terrorism law in an “unparalleled effort to transform federal laws and agencies into instruments of domestic political repression.”

While there was great debate over the Patriot Act when it was passed — and there still is today — nobody in that debate ever envisioned an American president trying to use the law to intimidate and attack American citizens for attending their local school board meetings.

Mr. Garland’s memo directing the FBI to develop strategies for going after parents at school board meetings “will live in infamy,” Mr. Sensenbrenner said.

President Biden and his slavishly obedient Democrats control all political power in Washington today. They hold every statewide elected office in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The unthinkable perversion of the Patriot Act for political purposes to persecute ordinary, law-abiding citizens is entirely the fault of Democrats. And only Democrats can stop it.

“Members of Congress have an obligation to ensure laws they write are faithfully applied, not intentionally subverted,” Mr. Sensenbrenner said. “Respect for our laws, Constitution, and citizens demands no less.”

Indeed. The citizens of Virginia should bear this in mind as they cast their ballots in next month’s elections.    

• Charles Hurt is the opinion editor at the Washington Times.

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