Democrats in Connecticut’s State Senate have proposed creating and funding a new department within the state police focused specifically on “combating hate crimes and violent right-wing extremism.”
Not all violent extremism, just right-wing extremism. Antifa, the radical left-wing anarchist group, which has said that “violence is necessary” for their activism, would apparently still have free reign in the state.
“Unfortunately, people who entertain hateful beliefs … are protected as long as [those beliefs] don’t result in hate-crime actions. That’s what we’re talking about,” said Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney.”We want to be more aggressive in enforcing our laws and identifying likely sources of potential domestic terrorism acts against religious institutions and ethnic institutions.”
But, wait, if this is about domestic terrorism, why would this proposed new police department single out violent right-wing extremism, rather than all violent extremism and domestic terrorism? Antifa was labeled a domestic terrorist group by the Department of Homeland Security, and “anarchist extremists” have been found to be the primary instigators of violence at public rallies, according to government officials since early 2016.
Looney claims his caucus “has no intention of persecuting people for their political beliefs.”
So why single out right-wing extremism, and not all extremism?
Naturally, Republicans in the state took issue with this. “When they put a right-wing label on extremism, they do that to elicit a political response,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, a Republican. According to Fasano, the “right-wing” label is undefined and inappropriate. If Democrats in the state were serious about protecting their citizens from domestic terrorism, politicizing the labeling of what groups are to be the focus of a new department in the state polices naturally takes an issue that would otherwise have bipartisan support and unnecessarily turns it into something with divided support on party lines.
Fasano says both parties are on “the same page” when it comes to hate crimes.
Such a proposal by Connecticut Democrats that labels “violent right-wing extremism” without defining it is just asking for abuse. How can anyone trust Senator Martin Looney when he says this isn’t about persecuting people for their political beliefs when they politicized the label? Would the attendees of a rally similar to what occurred in Virginia this week be considered “violent right-wing” extremists?
Call me crazy, but I think they would.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis