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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