“We are out here to push back on things that society knows is wrong”. Wrong society has said that drag dressing up is fine and has for decades. It is only recently that the rabid republican elected office holders made it a sexual thing claiming it was orgies that kids were taken to. The religious leaders have decried it as sin and against the word of god and they jumped on the republican hate language. Dressing in drag has been done forever, from early theater to the advent of TV, to Flip Wilson in the 1970s to even Rudy Giuliani. It is done on Halloween and has been done in drag shows for as long as I can remember. It was done at schools. It is only the last year that these assholes that want everyone to live, act, and be just like they demand that everyone be some kind of fictionalized 1950s. But even in the 1950s you had drag. This is a made up outrage to try to force the minority view that the LGBTQ+ must be removed from society, that anyone who doesn’t follow a traditional male / female role must be removed from society, and any religion not approved by this minority must be removed from society. These groups at the US Taliban. The Proud Boys and Patriot Front are the Nazi loving brownshirt enforcers of the curreent rabid republican party. Hugs
A Drag Bingo night at a Katy Church stirred up controversy on Saturday evening. The event, meant to raise money for the church’s clothing boutique for trans-youth, sparked heated demonstrations.
KPRC 2′s cameras were rolling as demonstrators clashed outside the First Christian Church on Morton Ranch Road. A number of groups were there supporting the LGBTQ+ community and other groups against the event said they wanted to make sure their voices were heard.
“We are out here to push back on things that society knows is wrong. They are having an event, welcoming children to drag queen bingo hour. This is unacceptable,” Founder of Urban Conservatives of America Jonathan McCullough said.
Houston’s ABC affiliate reports:
“That is nonsense, because drag in itself is just a costume,” said one person supporting the event. “It’s no different than someone dressed up like a superhero at a comic convention or someone who puts on a Halloween costume.”
Heavily armed officers formed a line in the median in an effort to keep the two sides separate. As the crowds grew bigger and bigger, more officers arrived. Despite the chaos, a pastor told KHOU 11 the event was a sold-out success.
“We know that not everyone will agree with us, so we create a place for people to feel welcomed and understand there will always be people who don’t agree with us,” the pastor said.
I’m glad no one was hurt, and I’m glad they didn’t cancel the event, or back down.
Grown-ass men getting their undies bunched because they don’t like someone else’s wardrobe, and they think that entitles them to threaten violence. If there’s a better definition of toxic masculinity, I can’t think of it.
Freedom of religion much?
I’m very concerned about children being exposed to the hateful and toxic beliefs of men like this. Drag queens, not so much.
Won’t wear masks to reduce transmission of a deadly disease, but will wear masks to hide their “Proud” identify.
How can they even breathe in those masks? I mean, haven’t they seen the studies that show that masks reduce oxygen in the body. I am really concerned for their health.
Must be some kind of really boring life when all one does is search the internet for drag queen events that can be harrassed.
I guess since all the abortion clinics were closed, there’s nothing else to entertain the nazis
I hope someone had a sign “Americans defeated Nazis once, we can do it again.” With some American flags on it. Why can’t liberals use the American flag too? We want America to be a great place to live for everyone. (Well, except Nazis)
Didn’t some right wing nut write a book about how the Nazi were really all gay? Should make a sign promoting that book. (I was going to say to hand out copies of the book, but that would be supporting the author.)
They are just trying to make their numbers much higher than those numbers are and pretend they are not just uneducated rural militia folks. I always ask crazy “conservatives” in central Ohio where their parents and/or grandparents were born.
And so much for freedom of religion.
This event was taking place at a church.
“Sparked heated demonstrations … other groups against the event said they wanted to make sure their voices were heard“
One of the reasons we’re hurtling toward theocratic fascism in this country is because the media keep describing what’s happening with sanitizing, normalizing language like this.
When the takeover happens, though, it will be interesting to see which brand of bible thumping will ‘win.’
And dont think it will be peaceful.
Violence is a key component of fascism, and we’re already seeing that
I understand that. Im talking about afterward, when/if they get their way. The christian factions will be killing each other for supremacy.
We are out here to push back on things that society knows is wrong
For big, proud Nazis they seem awfully scared.
Have they tried praying? They claim that prayer can solve any problem, but when they actually care about something they show up. Dead kids in school,? Nothing but prayer. Kids at a show? Threats and intimidation. They need to actually act like they believe their own religious bullshit on occasion.
If you are going to events, probably a good idea to bring something like pepper spray to defend yourself if these knuckledraggers show up. They have been given permission to act like this by the GQP.
Wasp spay shoots 20 feet, and is flammable, can cause permanent eye damage if not treated quickly.
Very cost effective.
Good point. I thought I saw a wasp about to sting that incel. Good thing I brought some spray to help him.
“That is nonsense, because drag in itself is just a costume,” said one person supporting the event. “It’s no different than someone dressed up like a superhero at a comic convention or someone who puts on a Halloween costume.”
One might also suggest proud boy and oath keepers drag as costumes.
As Ru Paul says, “We are born naked, all the rest is drag.”
This is what happens when red state republican governors, right wing media hosts, and religious hate preachers make wild untrue accusations and targe the LGBTQ+. They put targets on the LGBTQ+ people and their organizations. While the police have not released the full context of the notes, one phone shows a note blaming the LBTQ+ for ” … holding get homosexual togethers for middle schoolers”. You know where that rhetoric comes from. It energizes the maga thug base to commit act of violence against those the republican governors like DeathSantis claim harm kids. About that harming kids, DeathSantis used taxpayer funds of hundreds of thousands of dollars to ship Venezuelan legal asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard and one of those was a month old baby. DeathSantis rants about saving kids by the don’t say gay bills and tough abortion bills, but he did not care he was sending a one month old baby all across the country with no warning to those where they landed and no way the mother could get help. Lucky the community there rallied to do they could for the asylum seekers that were being used as pawns and it really pissed the right wing off that the left was not assholes like the right is. Hugs
Gainesville’s ABC affiliate reports:
On Saturday morning, members of the Pride Community Center in Gainesville received a call from a real estate office in the same complex about their building being vandalized.
“She told me that she was just informed by somebody that came to her office that the pride center had been vandalized and that the windows were all smashed,” said board member Debbie Lewis. “The reason it’s being investigated as a hate crime is because of the notes that were left.”
Members didn’t want to share the messages due to the ongoing investigation and the community joined in helping board up the windows.
The Gainesville Sun reports:
The attack came just weeks before the highly anticipated return of the Gainesville Pride Festival on Oct. 22, which was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Those who showed up at the center helped clean the mess left behind, sweeping up glass and rocks.
“Later I will be angry about this vicious hate crime but right now I’m incredibly sad for every vulnerable person in my community,” County Commission candidate Mary Alford said, adding that she faults some elected Republicans who have shared anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
For me, the hate that has been generated by the likes of DeSantis, Trump, Abbott, Youngkin, Green and their likes has turned into sadness for our country and her citizens. I cannot understand what is going on anymore and why citizens cannot have some peace and reprieve from Republicans.
Kristallnacht 2.0 begins.
Kristallnacht, Florida Jesus approved.
Beginning to understand how the Nazis did it now.
Just ordinary people, thinking it’s their civic duty to do what the government tells them, and if it aligns with their own prejudices even better.
And the press reinforces it
Florida is really getting frightening.
My Lyft driver on Friday that took me home from the airport was brand new here in Palm Springs, just arrived from Fort Lauderdale 2 months ago, with the cutest little dog who slept in the front seat. I welcomed him to California and gave him a big tip.
God I wish I could afford to get out. if i had the money I would be gone. The place is a human cess pool and getting worse by the minute. But alas Im poor, all my friends live here, have dogs and cats so its hard to leave right now.
The work of homophobic Nazi monsters Drumpf and DeathSantis.
In a test of the maturity of anyone who happens across this story, Rockman School Board candidate Craig Ladyman has been exposed for posting violently queerphobic and antisemitic imagery online.
Ladyman posted an image of four pride flags arranged to form a swastika pattern on Trump social media network Truth Social under the incredible username “@LadymanForLiberty”. The candidate writes, “Like my new Pride flag?” (very respectfully capitalizing the “P” in “Pride”, of course).
Appalled parents and voters sent the post along to Superintendent Steven Matthews, who says he shares in their outrage.
“It makes me feel angry,” he tells Fox WXMI. “Certainly, a symbol like that represents the and represents divisiveness. It’s a symbol that I don’t think represents who we are as a community, and anybody who would use it I don’t think represent who we are as a community.”
In addition to the bastardization of the Pride flag, the invoking of nazi imagery is deeply unsettling to community members.
Rabbi David Krishef, a leader at the Ahavas Israel congregation in neighboring Grand Rapids, explains to WXMI the harm that sentiments like Ladyman’s pose.
“It cheapens the Holocaust, it cheapens the suffering,” he says. “It’s a misuse of the imagery, it’s a misuse of the language.
“No matter what’s going on in this country, whether you’re coming from the right wing being afraid of what the left wing are doing or vice versa, we are not rounding people up wholesale and consigning them to concentration camps and death camps. But that’s what the Nazi imagery evokes.”
Not to psychoanalyze transphobes on main, but this candidate’s anti-trans rhetoric is particularly vehement and loud. His official school board candidacy poster reads, “Vote Craig Ladyman/Rockford School Board/He knows what a woman is!”
It’s giving “graphic design is my passion”:
His campaign website boasts, “I promise to fight for parental rights and children’s rights in school. I will never go along with unconstitutional mandates, medical tyranny, or the woke agenda.”
We’re not saying that this man was so horribly bullied for his name growing up that gender stricture became deeply embedded in his psyche and is now his only personality trait. Not out loud, at least.
In a recent segment on his Fox News show, host Tucker Carlson shared the names and photos of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s board of directors while ranting against hospitals that provide gender-affirming care.
Gender-affirming care for both adolescents and adults has been endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and many other professional groups as necessary and frequently life-saving for transgender individuals. Yet Carlson falsely framed the issue as medical experimentation on children, accusing hospitals of profiting off “the mental anguish of children” in thrall to a supposed “fad.”
Carlson directed his outrage primarily at Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Earlier this week, anti-LGBTQ commentator Matt Walsh targeted VUMC in a Twitter thread falsely claiming that the staff at the medical center’s Transgender Health Clinic “castrate, sterilize, and mutilate minors as well as adults, while apparently taking steps to hide this activity from the public view.” VUMC has since shut down the website for its Transgender Health Clinic and released a statement defending the work they do for trans patients and accusing Walsh of misrepresenting the facts.
On his show, Carlson took things a step further, showing the names and photos of VUMC’s board of directors onscreen while reading their names one-by-one, urging them to “do something to stop these crimes.”
The stunt has led social media users to wonder whether Calson’s rant could lead to violence against the hospital’s staff.
“Within the past few hours after Matt Walsh’s attack on Vanderbilt and Tucker Carlson’s coverage, users of 4chan and the Donald are calling for the outright murder of doctors. This is exactly what they want,” tweeted Harvard Law Cyberlaw clinical instructor Alejandra Caraballo.
Carlson went on to accuse Boston Children’s Hospital, which was forced to evacuate earlier this month due to a bomb threat following an online misinformation campaign about its Gender Multispecialty Service program, of “playing the victim.”
Earlier this month, Media Matters reported that Carlson had responded to the threats and harassment targeting BCH and other children’s hospitals by amplifying anti-trans misinformation. This week, in another anti-LGBTQ segment falsely accusing teachers and doctors of “sexualizing children,” Carlson went so far as to suggest that “neighborhood dads” should “mete out instant justice to anyone who even thought about sexualizing their kids.”
“No matter what the law says, your duty, your moral duty, is to defend your children,” he said. “This is an attack on your children and you should fight back.”
Nan sent this to me and it is a grand breakdown of how DeathSantis not only broke the law but was trying to use human suffering as a political hate tool. This is a clear case of racism and bigotry. Thank you, Nan, for the link. Hugs
I’m against trafficking of migrants.
But luring unsuspecting people onto planes with lies about jobs, housing, and education awaiting them, and then depositing them onto an island off the coast of Massachusetts that’s totally unprepared to receive them, is a form of human trafficking.
The people you’re talking about aren’t American citizens. They have no rights.
Even if they’re not Americans, U.S. law prohibits kidnapping people and moving them across state lines.
I didn’t kidnap them. They’re here illegally!
You don’t know that. Under our laws, these people are entitled to a hearing on whether they’re here legally — just like all the Cuban asylum seekers who for years have arrived in South Florida fleeing communism.
What I’m doing is appropriate and legal! I’m paying for part of it with funds from last year’s American Rescue Plan.
That money was for the COVID-19 health crisis. It isn’t a slush fund for whatever political stunt you dream up.
I’m also using every penny of the $12 million Florida budgeted to relocate migrants. I have a responsibility to the people of Florida to send migrants out of the state!
If you’re responsible for Floridians, why are you picking up people in Texas and transporting them to Massachusetts?
Many of the people who cross the southern border into Texas end up in Florida.
But the law gives federal officials the responsibility for handling immigration, not you.
You don’t know the Constitution. Article 10 gives powers not delegated to the federal government to the States.
No Governor, you don’t know the Constitution. Article 1 gives Congress the power to regulate commerce among the states. Neither you nor the state of Florida has the authority to off-load people you don’t want onto other states.
I’m not the only governor doing this!
I know. On Thursday Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent two surprise buses of migrants to Washington, D.C., where they were dropped off near the residence of Vice President Harris carrying all they have in clear plastic trash bags.
And we red-state governors are going to do a lot more!
So Republican governors can’t be bothered with pesky things like laws or the Constitution?
The U.S. immigration and asylum systems are totally broken!
Then why don’t you support fixing them instead of using immigrants as political fodder? Ask Republicans in Congress to stop blocking federal legislation creating paths to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants and to expedite asylum seekers and other legal immigrants.
You don’t understand politics. You have to play hardball.
You don’t understand morality or decency. You’re treating immigrants as if they’re political pawns rather than people. They’re no less people than was your maternal great-great-grandfather Salvatore Storti, who immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1904, or your great-great-grandmother Luigia Colucci, who joined Salvatore in the United States in 1917.
Keep them out of this.
And you’re treating the citizens of blue states as political hostages rather than fellow Americans. But they are no less American than the millions of retirees from blue states who have migrated to Florida, and their children and grandchildren who still live in blue states. We’re all in this together.
No we’re not.
And you’re acting as if governing is a child’s game rather than a pursuit of the common good. But it’s not a game. Our common good has depended on the sacrifices of generations of American service men and women, first responders, teachers, social workers, and public leaders who dedicated their lives to this nation.
I don’t have to listen to your speeches.
Look, I get it: Coping with immigration is difficult. It requires hard thought and hard work.
But you’re giving it neither.
I’m told you have presidential ambitions, Governor. If so, you might start acting like a statesman rather than doing stunts that make you a cynical clown.
Wow super dangerous movement to end legal rights, law and order, and eventually democracy. The part that talks about a two-class country, those to be policed brutally and fully compared to the other class which is those above the laws is already here in a lot of police forces. This is really worth the read, it is scary, and it is coming to your area very soon if not already there. Sheriffs that think they are the supreme authority of the law, accountable to no one. Sort of like they have small kingdoms under the umbrella of King trump who these sheriffs support. Hugs
Last November, the Claremont Institute hosted its inaugural class of “Sheriff Fellows.” Over the course of a week, eight sheriffs—all white men—chosen from the more than 3,000 in the country stayed at the Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, California, attending a series of discussions, lectures, and fireside chats steeped in the far-right-wing think tank’s heady intellectualism and radical ideology. While the Claremont Institute restricted public access to the fellowship, a review of the fellowship’s previously unreported curriculum reveals a program that presented for the sheriffs two sets of people in America: those communities sheriffs should police as freely and brutally as they see fit, and those “real” Americans who should be considered virtually above the law.
Public information requests and other reporting have provided insight into the stated and unstated reasons behind the Claremont Institute’s recruitment of county sheriffs, and revealed the curriculum of the fellowship. (You can read the full curriculum at the bottom of this article.) What emerges in reviewing this information is a portrait of the far right’s deep investment in sheriffs. They seem to be a key target of the movement because the office is already vulnerable to extremism and because sheriffs can enable other extremist actors like vigilantes and militias to wreak havoc on society. Claremont provides a historical and intellectual cover for selected sheriffs to continue a march into white Christian nationalism; for Claremont, the sheriffs are elected influencers who can push their message into the mainstream, far from the coterie of intellectual elites. They also have the authority to use violence under the color of law to enforce these principles in their communities.
Claremont is currently recruiting a second class, with a plan to announce the lucky few this fall. The five-decade-old Southern California institution announced in an email sent during the fall of 2021 that the goal of the fellowship was to connect with sheriffs as “uncorrupted law enforcement officials … not beholden to bureaucratic masters,” whose “jurisdictional latitude … places them on the front lines of the defense of civilization.”
While the Claremont Institute hosts a variety of other fellowships, the Sheriffs Fellowship is the first program to focus on elected officials who are currently serving. For that reason, information about the fellowship and the program is important for voters who live in counties where these sheriffs run jails, serve warrants, detain individuals at traffic stops, and help federal officials enforce immigration laws. Sheriffs also have a great deal of discretion in important contested legal areas like the enforcement of gun laws, where they are often in charge of issuing permits and confiscating weapons under red flag laws, and in how to handle health orders, including enforcement of anti-COVID-19 measures like mask mandates, business closures, and vaccination policies. At least some of the Claremont sheriffs were recruited because of their resistance to COVID orders from state and federal governments. Sheriff Chad Bianco of Riverside County, California, was specifically praised by the institute for “the courageous stand taken over the past year,” clearly a reference to Bianco having allied himself early in the pandemic with anti-vaxxers and with right-wing anti-abortion advocates in Southern California. Most recently, Bianco accused a Latina Riverside city councilmember, Clarissa Cervantes, of defacing the county courthouse because of her presence at in a pro-choice protest, spurring calls for his resignation. “You are lucky we couldn’t arrest you!” he threatened Cervantes through social media.
Sheriff Kim Cole of Mason County, Michigan, was recruited through Hillsdale College, whose chairman, Pat Sajak, took controversial positions against stay-at-home orders early in the pandemic and was recently photographed with anti-vaxxer Marjorie Taylor Greene. A Claremont program director explained the reason for the invitation in an email to Cole: “In our research on who to extend invitations to we took recommendations from friend [sic] of the institute and organizations but one thing that I know stood out to us about your leadership in these times has been how you courageously stood up to unconstitutional covid mandates.” During the peak of COVID deaths, Cole appeared regularly on Fox News to critique Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home orders and signed a letter promising not to enforce COVID protections that said, in part, “We believe that we are the last line of defense in protecting your civil liberties.”
Some of the sheriffs brought their wives along; they also were awarded a $1,500 honorarium. (According to emails from his office, Bianco turned down the honorarium.) Upon accepting program invitations, sheriffs received a box of books as well as a nearly 300-page packet of readings, largely by Claremont scholars. “Do not be alarmed by the amount of reading,” an email from the organizer warned.
The first day was focused on policing and heavily featured the Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald, a lawyer who has written dozens of articles arguing that law enforcement in America does not have an implicit or explicit racism problem. The supplemental readings for this section included articles and books by Mac Donald with titles like War on Cops, The Diversity Delusion, “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism,” and “Black Lies Matter.” One assigned reading included Mac Donald’s argument that Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd may not have been “a product of racial animus at all,” but rather was possibly due to “poor training and an unfit temperament.” In a different article on Chauvin’s murder conviction—one that didn’t make it into the Claremont materials—Mac Donald argued that Chauvin may have been railroaded, and that his conviction meant that “it is an open question whether any police officer can receive a trial free from mob pressure, should he be prosecuted for use of lethal force.” This is the type of learning the sheriffs would have been likely to experience on Day One, and likely fits with many of their preexisting views. Attendee Sheriff Mike Lewis of Wicomico County, Maryland, has been a longtime outspoken critic of the Black Lives Matter movement and his biography is titled Sheriff Mike Lewis: Constitutional. Uncanceled. (“Sheriff Lewis is at the forefront of important initiatives protecting conservatism and the American way of life against defund the police, identity politics, and cancel culture,” reads the book description.)
Sheriff Brian Hieatt of Tazewell County, Virginia, later echoed Mac Donald when he wrote in a reflection on his time with Claremont scholars, “We are facing movements across our Nation to take away punishments and any disciplinary actions from people committing crimes.” (Hieatt’s department has imprinted the words “In God We Trust” on its official vehicles—Christian natural law, which dismantles the line between church and state, is a big part of both the “constitutional sheriff” movement and Claremont.)
Day Two involved a series of history lessons, including New York Times Magazine’s editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein’s essay about the 1619 Project, of which Claremont Institute scholars have been deeply critical. (Nikole Hannah-Jones’ essay “America Wasn’t a Democracy, Until Black Americans Made It One” was assigned as a supplemental reading.)
The day ended with a fireside chat with Kyle Shideler, a Claremont analyst who has focused his work on “terrorist groups.” It’s worth considering Shideler’s views on what does—and what does not—constitute a terrorist threat to understand what this lecture might have entailed. For years, Shideler has written that antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters are direct threats to the nation. By contrast, Shideler has written extensively and ferociously against laws to combat domestic terrorism. He has complained of the “FBI and Justice Department’s overzealous behavior in regards to January 6” prosecutions, calling the rioters and insurrectionists that day “trespassers,” and accused the DOJ of “persecuting J6 participants.” He’s called the Jan. 6 committee the “Russian Collusion Hoax 2.0,” criticized the “fanatics at DOJ prosecuting non-violent J6 protestors,” and claimed it was a “lie” to say Capitol police officers lost their lives as a result of the Jan. 6 attack. These are claims that were echoed by Sheriff Mark Lamb of Pinal County, Arizona, another attendee of the fellowship program, after Jan. 6, when he called the rioters “very loving, Christian people,” and demurred after being asked about the law enforcement officers killed and injured that day.
Recently, Shideler seemed to make an odd pivot to siding with the “defund the police” crowd he had spent years criticizing, calling for the FBI to be “abolished” and saying that “To save the rule of law, the bureau must be destroyed.” The reason for this call for radical abolition? The enforcement of a court-authorized search warrant at Mar-a-Lago over allegedly stolen classified documents, or as Shideler described it, a raid “over some boxes that another part of the government shipped to [former President Donald Trump].” (Opposition to the FBI is a core tenet of the constitutional sheriff movement, whose adherents believe that ultimate authority rests with the sheriffs, not federal law enforcement agencies.) The subject of Shideler’s chat to the fellows last year was “Antifa’s Threat to the Constitution.”
Day Three was focused on heady philosophical pursuits, while Day Four broadened the discussion to include various progressive movements and projects, largely, it seems, from the angle of learning about one’s enemy—or “countering the perversion of the justice system by which the revolutionary Left seeks to advance its totalitarian agenda,” in Claremont-speak. This included sessions called “The Federalist vs. The Progressives” (Parts I and II), “Black Power & Identity Politics,” and “The Sexual Revolution & Feminism.” The last two sessions are notable in what they do include—strangely chopped-up readings from Stokely Carmichael on Black Power and Ibram X. Kendi on the idea of an anti-racist amendment—as well as what they do not: any feminist writers other than Betty Friedan. The only reading about LGBTQ issues was a 1971 manifesto from the Trans Liberation Newsletter, which raises the question of why sheriffs need some special knowledge of “transgender liberation” in order to do their police work in a way that treats everyone similarly. (Research has shown that trans people who interact with the police are much more likely to encounter violence than cisgender people, but it seems doubtful that this information was on the syllabus.) The day ended with a classic John Wayne Western, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
Ultimately, the Claremont Sheriffs Fellowship is, at first blush, an unlikely union of the intellectual right and the populist right. But Claremont and its affiliates have long looked to figures like Barry Goldwater and Donald Trump to unite right-wing populism with their somewhat obsessive desire to defeat the perceived harms of liberals. Considering Claremont’s embrace of Trump and the Big Lie, the union feels like the appropriate sign of the times.
The intellectual far right also clearly sees the utility of an army of sheriffs who are able to put these ideals into practice. Prior to the last presidential election, the Claremont Institute’s 79 Days Report outlined how Donald Trump could take over the federal government by force, specifically naming county sheriffs as important to recruiting militia members and civilian posses to prevent “hostile crowds of outsiders” from protesting a MAGA takeover. Sheriffs appear willing to accept this mantle. In a reflection on the fellowship, Sheriff Cole wrote: “I never saw this day coming to America. A time when Sheriffs are placed in a position to stand in the gap between citizens’ rights and a government that seems to reach further and further over that line. Sheriffs must have a knowledge of where that line is and how to address the overreach with confidence.” He then credited Claremont with giving him the “Constitutional based knowledge” he needed to make these decisions.
This leads to another important point: Sheriffs are the perfect messenger for Claremont. They have a great deal of authority thanks to the overfunding of police in this country. They can use tanks, helicopters, SWAT teams, battering rams, surveillance technology, and, of course, guns to subdue and terrify community members. Because they are elected, they are in a better position to defy state and federal authorities, who have little oversight and cannot remove a sheriff from office even if they are a member of a militia group like the Oath Keepers. Perhaps most insidiously of all, because the left has paid so little attention to sheriffs and the largely rural areas where they have the most power, sheriffs have been allowed to spread their extremist beliefs with the imprimatur of gun and badge.
In the wake of Trump’s election lies, sheriffs are demanding more leeway to surveil ballot boxes and have encouraged vote vigilantes to snitch on their neighbors regarding alleged-but-never-proven “voter fraud.” Unlike the brains behind Claremont, sheriffs who are currently serving can act independently from other elected officials to fight this nonexistent fraud with the force of an army and relative impunity. Now, thanks to the Claremont Institute, they can justify such violent and anti-democratic schemes with the patina of intellectual firepower.