One month, two days. That’s how long it took before Fox News officially brought back the good ol’ days of militant patriotism. On Saturday, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro took to the air to announce, “It’s time to take sides. The election is over – you’re either with us or against us. That is, with the United States or against the United States.” We’ve seen this before and it leads us to bad places.
Pirro was screeching about the renewed interest in just how deeply Russia interfered with the election. The story of the century should never have left the front pages in the first place (and wouldn’t have if it had benefited Hillary) but it did. And now with the reporting on the CIA’s confirmation that Russia was explicitly trying to put Trump in office, the right (and, inexplicably, the anti-Hillary left) has gone into a frenzy to make the issue go away.
Putting aside the absolute necessity of investigating foreign meddling in our election and the fact that Trump is now an illegitimate president-elect in every conceivable way, Pirro’s return to 2002 is an enormous red flag. After the figurative and literal dust of 9/11 settled, Republicans, Fox News and AM Hate Radio seized upon the opportunity before them. Using a combination of jingoism and McCarthyism, conservatives sold their unconstitutional agenda as “patriotism”. Questioning that agenda was the same as hating America, Baby Jesus and Mom’s Apple Pie™.
The press was cowed into instant submission and dissent was stifled for years. It was a glorious time for the right-wing and they’ve resented the hell out of the country for rejecting them when their agenda turned out to be an unqualified disaster. Now they have a chance to make things even worse and they’re pulling out the old playbook to silence their critics as being “unAmerican”.
Pirro’s “with us or against us” rhetoric is just the beginning. Whether she understands it or not, she’s laying the groundwork for the next massive Republican power grab. Sometime soon, after Trump is sworn in, there’s going to be an “emergency” or a terrorist attack that will “force” the Republican-controlled government to suspend the rule of law until we can “figure out what is going on“.
The right just spent 8 years denouncing America and everything about it because they weren’t in control. Now that they’ve unconstitutionally seized power with voter suppression schemes and blocking a legal Supreme Court appointment, we’re supposed to fall quietly in line while they finish the job of dismantling our democracy. To that I say: Hell. Fucking. No.
Waving a flag and screaming the “Star Spangled Banner” at the top of your lungs is not patriotism if the next thing you do is threaten free speech you don’t like. Anyone that tells you dissent against the government in treasonous doesn’t understand the first thing about America and they have revealed themselves to be a threat to the fundamental concept of freedom. They should be answered with dripping scorn and a redoubling of your voice. Silence is consent and the first move of all dictators is to stifle free speech.
Pirro and her fellow authoritarians think they can beat us into submission again but there’s more of us than there are of them and we won’t be silenced this time. Pirro doesn’t represent America in any way whatsoever, she represent the antithesis of that ideal. This country is not with her and it never will be.
I’m a stay at home dad, father to a special needs son and a special daughter, a donor baby daddy, a militantly pragmatic liberal, the president of the PTA, a hardcore geek and nerd and I’m going to change the world. Or at least my corner of it.