Retaliation and Revenge

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryWords of reconciliation and unity are all fine, but at this point in my view they are only words. The proof is in the actions that will be taken. So far, I am not very hopeful. The Democrats in the U.S. Congress have talked about passing domestic terrorism laws which will be on the equivalence of the Patriot Act, which in too many ways was and remains unconstitutional. They have also talked about creating an ever larger fingerprint database for “possible domestic terrorists,” and even more no fly lists for possible domestic terrorism suspects (we have seen how this has all worked; people who never committed a crime and who most certainly never committed any terrorist acts suddenly found themselves on no fly lists because their names sounded the same as suspects, or they got on these lists by data error and now cannot get off). In short, we have been down this path before, and panic and paranoia will not make us any safer as a country or a people.

At the same time, I fully acknowledge that there really is a right wing insurgency out there. There is no question that there are groups who are armed, prepared for “civil war,” and who are making plans for whatever violent acts they may do next. As we all saw with the insurrection at the Capital Building on January 6th, this is all too real. It is most probably only the beginning of what might come next. However, I must point out that we do have laws on the books that deal with such criminal and terrorism activities. Adding any more will only create a cycle of what I see as retaliation and revenge. If the federal and state governments try to use extra-legal and unconstitutional measures to get at extremist right wing activities, then it will provoke revenge attacks against the government and against innocent people. This in turn will provoke more government retaliation. Is this the way we might go?

Already there are too many disaffected people from the last election who believe that former U.S. President Donald Trump did win but was cheated out of his rightful term, and now these people may become ever more radicalized to “take action.” At the same time, there are a lot more Trump supporters who have done nothing and will most probably do nothing. Making new unconstitutional laws will hit those who have done nothing as well as those who might have committed crimes. This simply will make more people go down the rabbit hole to Fascism, and feed the growing armies of the right wing. And what about people who are from third parties? They have no stake in this growing conflict, but one or both sides could drag them in and these fence-sitters could very well be shot at from both sides. Whatever current U.S. President Joe Biden says may have meaning or be nothing more than empty rhetoric depending on what actions he takes. We must also worry about the people who surround him too—they do not seem as conciliatory. I can only hope that constitutional rights and civil liberties are not the first casualties in this new administration.

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