One silver lining in the election of Donald Trump to head a GOP government: gleeful Republicans aren't even trying to cloak their authoritarian impulses anymore and are making it perfectly clear that they plan to use the power of government to crush those that they see as enemies. We're now seeing the first small signs of this just a week after the election, and I expect them to grow larger, even in blue states like Washington.
A Republican state senator who campaigned for President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday he plans to propose a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would take a firm stand against what he calls "illegal protests."
Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale said in a news release his bill would create a new crime of "economic terrorism" and would allow felony prosecution of people involved in protests that block transportation and commerce, damage property, threaten jobs and put public safety at risk, he said.
"I respect the right to protest, but when it endangers people's lives and property, it goes too far," Ericksen said. "Fear, intimidation and vandalism are not a legitimate form of political expression. Those who employ it must be called to account."
But some people believe the term "economic terrorism" goes too far.
"To call it economic terrorism is just another way to silence it and another way to gain popular support." said Seattle resident Molly Boord.
"Frankly, I'm appalled," said Seattle city councilman Miked O'Brien.
He was detained by the Coast Guard when he joined kayaktivists protesting a Shell oil rig last summer.
"To me (it) strikes a complete disregard of the US constitution and our First Amendment rights," said O'Brien. "Our country is based, in part, on the ability to have free speech and public dissension."
Public dissension against Trump will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the (new) law, if the GOP gets its way. And it's hard to imagine them not getting a bill like this passed in states where they have total control soon.
Being able to round up hundreds, maybe thousands and charge them with felonies will of course require a new for-profit private prison regime to handle political dissidents (maybe the most Republican party thing ever) and of course the automatic loss of the right to vote in many states for being felons.
This will never pass in Washington state, but in say, Texas or Missouri or Florida or Ohio, where there are large blue cities and the possibility of months, if not years of protest against Trump that are in states dominated by the GOP, or more likely, Black Lives Matter protests after another police killing of people of color?
You'd better believe legislation like this is in the works. How far it will get, well who knows at this point?