Am I an Enemy of the State?

 

Katie Benner has gained a certain level of notoriety in these parts. She’s the New York Times reporter who informed the nation through her tweets that Trump supporters were a threat to national security; eight hours later she must have had second thoughts and deleted the tweets. But I couldn’t help thinking about all the people who genuinely believed that her perceptions were legitimate; that she was telling a truth that others agreed with, just because she was a “journalist with the New York Times.” Then I began to wonder what it would be like if I were considered to be a threat to this country. At first blush, that accusation seems ludicrous; for one, I’m only a marginal supporter of Donald Trump. But given the direction this country is headed, should I contemplate the reasons a person might contrive a persona for me that makes me an enemy of the state?

I decided to work my way through this exercise and to see where it might lead me. At the end of the process, I have to admit that I felt just a bit uneasy.

Now keep in mind that there could be a vast difference between the data that the government gathers that it determines makes me a national threat and data that only relates to my exercise of free speech without my intending to do anything insidious in this country. But the differences are just a matter of perspective, right? The list below identifies their potential conclusions about me, and I follow up that information with my own assessment. Here is what I identified:

She’s a Trump supporter—I’ve never liked Trump much, but I did vote for him. I also favored his policies. I expect their conclusion would be correct, although to make the leap to my being a white supremacist? But that’s ridiculous, right?

She’s a Conservative and a Republican—I’m a registered Republican, but my allegiance to Republican politicians is in jeopardy. But of course, any affiliation I acknowledge to either group makes me evil, degenerate, deplorable, and, well, stupid. That should just about cover most insults. And of course, I deny all those attributes. Then again, I’ll let you be the judge of “stupid.”

She attacks the Biden administration and Joe Biden—I don’t do that in writing very much, because I’m not interested in writing about the obvious. Biden’s dementia is disturbing to me, and the lack of policies or the number of stupid policies that are dangerous to this country are alarming. I also write a great deal about the alarming transgender trend; the absurdity of the climate change claims; the distortions and misperceptions about the coronavirus; the foolish steps the government is taking to try to revitalize the Iran agreement; the disaster of the no border policy; the drive toward socialism; the lies being told about teaching Critical Race Theory—well, that should cover at least some of my writing rants. So, yes, guilty as charged, I guess.

She’s Jewish—I have spoken out about the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic words and actions of those in Congress, and the unwillingness of members to condemn them and hold them to account. And the mealy-mouthed efforts of people like Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats to defend these anti-Semites is pathetic. There I go again, one more rant.

She’s patriotic—that means I speak about America’s roots, our founding, our history, with passion and commitment; therefore, I can hardly be counted on to support their globalist agenda in all its many forms.

She reads books by Conservative authors—these readings show that I am aligned with those who are critical of the government and in their own way are determined to overthrow the government. One only needs to study the work of Mollie Hemingway, Jason Riley, Ben Domenech, Victor Davis Hansen, Byron York, and Thomas Sowell to know that a cadre has formed to take down our democratic government. I do read their books. I rarely think of their creating a game plan, but I wouldn’t be surprised that others see them that way—even though the critics probably haven’t read their works.

She is anti-union—I have attacked unions, particularly the teachers’ unions on multiple fronts, and challenged their authority to act on their own behalf. That’s all true. Somehow allowing the inmates to run the asylum (which would be one way to describe unions dictating to school administrators and parents the decisions that should be made) is bizarre. But then I’ve never belonged to a union. What do I know?

She doesn’t believe that some speech should be banned— Those people who publish misinformation are endangering our country; misinformation is that data that doesn’t comply with experts’ opinions; that would apply to me. But I’ve given up on trusting almost all the experts and will decry their comments at almost every opportunity I get. Freedom of speech, except in rare situations, is woven into the very fabric of our nation. The censoring that we are seeing online is frightening. These deceptive actions to ban speech that the U.S. government doesn’t like is a violation of this precious right. And I will stand by that truth in the face of the abuse of power to act otherwise.

She is pro-gun ownership—in fact, she owns a gun. And she knows how to shoot it. Need I say more?

*     *     *     *

It’s fair to ask why the government would come after me. But you may have already realized that these steps are not about my life, but are about any person—does that include you?– who does not buy into the government’s totalitarian efforts. Any resistance, any pushback, is seen as a threat and must be halted in just about any way possible.

Then you might ask, what might trigger these kinds of oppressive actions? That’s a much easier question to answer. First, continued failures by the Democrats and Biden have to be explained away. For many people, blaming Trump as the go-to trouble-maker is getting stale for some people; the well is running dry. A second reason is that in difficult times, scapegoating can be very powerful. When you have a rebellious population that won’t fall into line, they “obviously” must be prepared to destroy our democracy (as the Democrats often claim). Watch for increased and escalating scapegoating to happen for those who do not back the Democrats. A third reason is the reliance on lies and hyperbole. The media has been delighted to initiate or back up the administration in creating blame, exaggerating issues, and making up stories, whole cloth. Before the larger population catches on to their destructive strategies, they must make sure that no one gets in their way.

A writer from the Federalist came to the following conclusion:

So while it’s essential for our government to monitor and root out genuine domestic terrorism—and that includes Q-Anon crazies and Stop The Steal radicals who make legitimate threats to public safety—new proposals to surveil and incriminate and punish domestic extremists come at a time when people in power increasingly define domestic extremism so broadly as to include roughly half of the country. It’s a nice way for them to feel more comfortable with their classism and ignore their decades of failure.

Brenner’s tweets were not deleted because they were inaccurate. If anything, they were deleted because they were too accurate, because the logical conclusion of this definition inflation is still too radical to say aloud.

But then, I’m just a little fish in the sea. Right? What about you?

[photo by Jon Eric Marababol courtesy of unsplash.com]

Published in Domestic Policy
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  1. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    As long as you don’t have a lego replica of the white house or the pentagon, you should be Ok.  If you do have either or G-d forbid, both of those… I would disavow knowing you. 

    • #1
  2. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    Susan: “Am I an enemy of the State.”

    Of course you are an enemy of our newly minted American  Klepto-Police State, Susan.

    Why you are spewing  the truth and inspiring honest discussion. Such things can no longer be allowed!

    George Orwell predicted that to  tell the truth in this   time of wanton deceit would become a ‘revolutionary act” — and  yes indeed telling the truth has now become a direct threat to the rule of  our dear Supreme Leader Joe Biden and his many minions. 

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    As long as you don’t have a lego replica of the white house or the pentagon, you should be Ok. If you do have either or G-d forbid, both of those… I would disavow knowing you.

    Well, thanks a lot, @nohaaj! Some friend!

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Unsk (View Comment):

    Susan: “Am I an enemy of the State.”

    Of course you are an enemy of our newly minted American Klepto-Police State, Susan.

    Why you are spewing the truth and inspiring honest discussion. Such things can no longer be allowed!

    George Orwell predicted that to tell the truth in this time of wanton deceit would become a ‘revolutionary act” — and yes indeed telling the truth has now become a direct threat to the rule of our dear Supreme Leader Joe Biden and his many minions.

    I’ll just point out, @unsk, that they’ll likely grab both of us! Just sayin’ . . .  ;-)

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I don’t think this is at all farfetched. My emotion sensors are telling me that some line has been crossed whereby the Democrats are treating the Republicans as if they are at war with them and the Republicans are their enemies.

    In fact, I think that’s what led to the high-pitched emotions January 6.

    Republicans haven’t articulated those emotions yet–it’s rather frightening to do so–but I think that’s what many Republicans are reacting to.

    The Biden administration’s continuing prisoner-of-war treatment of the demonstrators who were inside the Capitol January 6 and the presence of National Guard units around the Capitol through last winter cemented that notion of the Republicans as enemies of the state.

     

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    MarciN (View Comment):

    The Biden administration’s continuing prisoner-of-war treatment of the demonstrators who were inside the Capitol January 6 and the presence of National Guard units around the Capitol through last winter cemented that notion of the Republicans as enemies of the state.

    I keep thinking about how I would have responded to the election events if I had been Joe Biden. I would have sought peace, and I would not have done any of the things he has done. I would have wanted the Republicans to see us an American family at peace.

    I hate to say I agree with you @marcin, but I do. As I wrote this post, more and more “incriminating evidence” kept popping into my mind; I decided I didn’t need to include all of it. I think the way Jan. 6 is being approached is just as you say–they won’t let go of the term, “insurrection.” And that they’ve ramped up the whole thing, instead of Biden’s helping us move on is just as telling.

    • #6
  7. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn:

    A writer from the Federalist came to the following conclusion:

    So while it’s essential for our government to monitor and root out genuine domestic terrorism—and that includes Q-Anon crazies and Stop The Steal radicals who make legitimate threats to public safety—new proposals to surveil and incriminate and punish domestic extremists come at a time when people in power increasingly define domestic extremism so broadly as to include roughly half of the country. It’s a nice way for them to feel more comfortable with their classism and ignore their decades of failure.

    Brenner’s tweets were not deleted because they were inaccurate. If anything, they were deleted because they were too accurate, because the logical conclusion of this definition inflation is still too radical to say aloud.

    How many beheadings were committed by QAnon members?  How many gay night clubs have Stop the Steal people shot up?  If anything, BLM, antifa, and the anarchists are domestic terrorists and should be charged, tried, and hopefully convicted . . .

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):
    How many beheadings were committed by QAnon members?  How many gay night clubs have Stop the Steal people shot up?  If anything, BLM, antifa, and the anarchists are domestic terrorists and should be charged, tried, and hopefully convicted . . .

    You are absolutely right. And they will do nothing. Sadly.

    • #8
  9. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    For the record, here’s Benner:

    “Today’s #January6SelectCommittiee underscores the America’s current essential natsec dilemma: Work to combat legitimate national security threats now entails calling a current politician’s supporters enemies of the state.”

    “As Americans, we believe that state power should not be used to work against a political figure or a political party. But what happens if a politician seems to threaten the state? If the politician continues to do so out of office and his entire party supports that threat?”

    The irony award of the day goes to the first sentence in Benner’s second tweet, which reveals an utter cluelessness about the years of the Trump Administration.  While I have no doubt that her thoughts are shared by many youngish, uninformed “journalists,” I think that her views are most typical of that ineffectual group.  There are Americans who should feel threatened by the national security apparatus, but I’m too inactive to be one of them.

    As an aside, I’ve been wondering about Benner’s background as an Asian-American.  It appears that she covers technology for the NYT, but I’ve heard rumors that her past employment at a particular group has a nexus with the CCP.  So rumors, FWIW.

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    As an aside, I’ve been wondering about Benner’s background as an Asian-American.  It appears that she covers technology for the NYT, but I’ve heard rumors that her past employment at a particular group has a nexus with the CCP.  So rumors, FWIW.

    The Federalist article said she was a columnist, as opposed to a journalist, whatever difference that makes. Thanks, @hoyacon.

    • #10
  11. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    The Biden administration’s continuing prisoner-of-war treatment of the demonstrators who were inside the Capitol January 6 and the presence of National Guard units around the Capitol through last winter cemented that notion of the Republicans as enemies of the state.

    I keep thinking about how I would have responded to the election events if I had been Joe Biden. I would have sought peace, and I would not have done any of the things he has done. I would have wanted the Republicans to see us an American family at peace.

    I hate to say I agree with you @ marcin, but I do. As I wrote this post, more and more “incriminating evidence” kept popping into my mind; I decided I didn’t need to include all of it. I think the way Jan. 6 is being approached is just as you say–they won’t let go of the term, “insurrection.” And that they’ve ramped up the whole thing, instead of Biden’s helping us move on is just as telling.

    When a country is in a war mindset, it’s all about geography and perceived sides. If you’re an innocent little kid in London or Berlin or Tokyo, well, too bad for you–you’re on the wrong side. End of discussion.

    It won’t matter if you are a lukewarm Republican. There’s no safety.

    The Democrats have been using “othering” language about Republicans for the past four years, and they stepped it up dramatically in 2019 and 2020 to advance their political advantage.

    They were angry and upset that the Republican Party so thoroughly trounced them in 2016–we took the House, the Senate, several governorships, and the White House.

    Rather than respond with better policy ideas, they went after the Republicans personally.

     

    • #11
  12. philo Member
    philo
    @philo

    I have not read this yet but I can answer the title question with a simple, verifiable question: Has your credit score dropped 50 points in the last six months for no reason?

    • #12
  13. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I gotta tell ya: Enemy of the State looks way cool on a business card.

    • #13
  14. Richard Easton Member
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    • #14
  15. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Percival (View Comment):

    I gotta tell ya: Enemy of the State looks way cool on a business card.

    Jonah or someone at National Review many years ago talked about a diplomat, politician, or columnist who used warmonger as his occupation on his passport or tax forms. As you can see I’ve lost all of the details except for warmonger. Anyone remember the story?

    • #15
  16. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    For the record, here’s Benner:

    “Today’s #January6SelectCommittiee underscores the America’s current essential natsec dilemma: Work to combat legitimate national security threats now entails calling a current politician’s supporters enemies of the state.”

    “As Americans, we believe that state power should not be used to work against a political figure or a political party. But what happens if a politician seems to threaten the state? If the politician continues to do so out of office and his entire party supports that threat?”

    The irony award of the day goes to the first sentence in Benner’s second tweet, which reveals an utter cluelessness about the years of the Trump Administration. While I have no doubt that her thoughts are shared by many young, uninformed “journalists,” I think that her views are most typical of that ineffectual group. There are Americans who should feel threatened by the national security apparatus, but I’m too inactive to be one of them.

    As an aside, I’ve been wondering about Benner’s background as an Asian-American. It appears that she covers technology for the NYT, but I’ve heard rumors that her past employment at a particular group has a nexus with the CCP. So rumors, FWIW.

    Re Benner.    Apparently she was hired as a technology reporter and had the Apple beat.    Now, she covers DOJ.    I suppose the DOJ-bigTech nexus is at play there.   What’s worrying  about Benner’s tweet is that I can only surmise that she is accurately reporting what the current zeitgeist is at DOJ.   

    ‘Today’s #January6SelectCommittiee underscores the America’s current essential natsec dilemma: Work to combat legitimate national security threats now entails calling a current politician’s supporters enemies of the state.” ‘ … that’s what the people Benner talks to at DOJ really think.   

    • #16
  17. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Yes that is how they see us. 

    I don’t think it is how rank and file Dems see us. But they don’t have the power, the radicals do. 

    • #17
  18. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    As an aside, I’ve been wondering about Benner’s background as an Asian-American. It appears that she covers technology for the NYT, but I’ve heard rumors that her past employment at a particular group has a nexus with the CCP. So rumors, FWIW.

    The Federalist article said she was a columnist, as opposed to a journalist, whatever difference that makes. Thanks, @ hoyacon.

    Her Wikipedia page indicates that she’s a “reporter” covering the DOJ, but also was assigned a technology beat.  A good deal of technology coverage is in the form of “columns,” so it may just be semantics.

    As I mentioned above, it does look like she worked freelance for the Beijing Review, an English language publication, owned by the CCP, during time in China..  In 2020, the State Department termed the publication a “foreign mission” of China.

    • #18
  19. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    The current Left cares about more than winning.   They want their opponents destroyed, ground to dust.   Hence cancel-culture.   

    Liberal canary-in-the-coal mine Keith Olbermann has ranted …”Trump must be defeated … and his enablers, and his supporters … must be prosecuted and convicted and removed from our society,”

    More than a few Lefties have called for a ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ commission and stated that Trump voters need ‘deprogramming’

    There are no small fish.  

    • #19
  20. Brian Wyneken Member
    Brian Wyneken
    @BrianWyneken

    I’m just here to keep an eye on you people.

    • #20
  21. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Brian Wyneken (View Comment):

    I’m just here to keep an eye on you people.

    I already knew you were doing that.

    • #21
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    I don’t think it is how rank and file Dems see us.

    I’m not so sure anymore, Bryan. The rhetoric has been so over-the-top that I think even regular folks are beginning to wonder.

    • #22
  23. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Ekosj (View Comment):
    More than a few Lefties have called for a ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ commission and stated that Trump voters need ‘deprogramming’

    This makes me ill. Echoes of Rwanda, where they really did need that type of commission. Just when you wonder how bad the hyperbole can get, @ekosj . . . 

    • #23
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Brian Wyneken (View Comment):

    I’m just here to keep an eye on you people.

    Thank you, @brianwyneken. I needed that.

    • #24
  25. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I haven’t read your post yet either, but the title makes me ask a different question: Is the state an enemy of mine? I think it answers itself and has done so since the anti-American Obama administration. 

    • #25
  26. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Possibly related: Republicans have been conflated with anti-vaxxers, and so we are blamed for any surge in COVID. 

    • #26
  27. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    TBA (View Comment):

    Possibly related: Republicans have been conflated with anti-vaxxers, and so we are blamed for any surge in COVID.

    I wish I could remember who, but someone posted the actual anti-vax statistics, and it turned out that 57 percent were Democrats. 

    But the spin goes on. 

    • #27
  28. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    MarciN (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Possibly related: Republicans have been conflated with anti-vaxxers, and so we are blamed for any surge in COVID.

    I wish I could remember who, but someone posted the actual anti-vax statistics, and it turned out that 57 percent were Democrats.

    But the spin goes on.

    Lots of minorities and young people–makes sense.

    • #28
  29. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    At least you aren’t an enemy of the people. It’s more than we  say about the NYT.

    • #29
  30. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    At least you aren’t an enemy of the people. It’s more than we say about the NYT.

    Well said! No doubt about it!

    • #30