The totalitarian fringe

It’s not unusual to hear of calls for prosecution and imprisonment of members of American legislative bodies because someone didn’t like the way they voted. Usually these seem to come from the conservative fringe, but currently it’s left-lunatics making noise, using sites that don’t normally run this kind of trash. I don’t want to give these people even the tiny boost in publicity that a link would add, but you should be able to look them up.

On the Huffington Post, Andrew Reinbach writes: “The behavior of the House GOP in the current showdown — whether or not they reach some sort of deal — makes them guilty of sedition. … Extortion is a felony. Will the GOP leadership be indicted? My guess is the country wants to put all this behind it, once it’s resolved.” He switches from sedition to extortion part way through the article; any charge will do to get the opposition in jail.

A petition on reads: “I call on the Justice Department of the United States of America to arrest Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and other decision-making House Republican leaders for the crime of seditious conspiracy against the United States of America.” As of this writing, over forty thousand lovers of dictatorship have signed the petition. Granted, you can get people to sign just about anything — a hoax petition to repeal the Bill of Rights got people signing without a second thought — but I still find this scary.

A number of sites are falsely claiming MoveOn endorses the petition. It’s only a hosting site and disclaims endorsement. Still, I’d have hoped MoveOn would take down the petition for violating its terms of service, which ban any petition that “promotes and/or encourages illegal or unlawful activity in any country.” Using judicial power to prosecute members of Congress for their votes would be seriously illegal.

You have to wonder if these people ever think beyond the next election, to the possibility that an administration controlled by the other party might get the chance to throw Democrats into jail. But if they do it first, they probably figure there’s no chance of any opposing party ever being strong enough to bother them. And if people disagree — well, once you’ve set the precedent that “wrong” voting constitutes sedition, you don’t have to worry about elections.

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