Townhall

by Bob Barr

To some degree there has been a Cold War waged against conservatives since at least the Soviet infiltration of Hollywood in the 1940s. Under President Biden, however, this war has become red hot and very real. Leftists embedded across political, non-profit, academic, and government institutions are pulling out all the stops to destroy the conservative culture and political movement in America.

Never before in our history has such a concerted action been undertaken. It did not spring forth on January 20th when Biden was inaugurated. The left has been imbedding itself into institutions private and public for decades preparing for the right moment to openly launch its war. The January 6th protests on Capitol Hill provided that spark.

Earlier attempts by a political party in power to use government agencies to punish political opponents were limited in their impact, largely because they were not able to co-opt major elements of those agencies to join their unlawful plans. Thus, the Nixon Administration’s use of components of the IRS, the CIA, and the FBI to go after its critics in the late 1960s and early 1970s, failed to destroy its perceived enemy — the anti-war Left — because career elements within those agencies refused to join. In the end it was the perpetrators themselves who were destroyed, including the President.

Now, a half century later, the situation has changed dramatically, as demonstrated in the fact that Biden’s Department of Justice and the FBI, with their vast arsenal of tools with which to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate those deemed enemies, are leading the effort to destroy the conservative movement.

Moreover, the technological tools now available, undreamed of by Nixon’s Watergate co-conspirators, make it immensely easier to identify and take action against those labeled by the Administration according to whatever term best fits their destructive narrative — usually today, “domestic extremists,” or the even more vilifying “white extremists.”

As the first sentences for the hundreds of those the government has deemed “insurrectionists” are now being handed down, it is clear just how serious the Administration is to secure its pound of flesh from those citizens being prosecuted for, in some cases, simply having entered the Capitol on January 6th.

The first felony sentence for someone who participated on that day has now been meted out. Paul Hodgkins committed no acts of violence and did not damage any property or person while he was in the historic building on January 6th. Notwithstanding this, and even considering his lack of a criminal record, he will have to spend eight months in a federal prison facility.

Even though in our federal system of criminal justice individuals are to receive sentences based on the circumstances involving their actions and their background, the federal prosecutor in Hodgkins’ case demanded that the judge send him to prison as a lesson to others; a “loud and clear message” to conservatives that they will in fact be severely punished by this Department of Justice for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and especially for possessing the wrong political views.

Clearly, this was just the opening salvo from Biden’s Justice Department, whose lawyers are routinely demanding that others arrested for participating in events on that day, or for simply being there, be held without bail for as long as it takes to have their cases heard in the pandemic-delayed federal court system. Sadly, government lawyers are having no trouble finding federal judges willing to go along with this travesty.

Still to come are cases involving evidence that in more rational times would be laughed out of court if presented as evidence of nefarious criminal activity; evidence such as a box of plastic Lego bricks depicting a model of the U.S. Capitol building.

In this environment, populated by individuals possessed of such zealotry, where might one turn for even a small degree of compassion or objectivity.

Actually, if a person found himself arrested not on January 6th of 2021, but during one of the riots in the summer of 2020, in Portland, Oregon or even in Washington, DC — incidents in which federal buildings were torched and otherwise damaged, and during which federal law enforcement officials and other government employees  were intentionally harmed — compassion is overflowing. Dozens of such prosecutions brought by the Trump Department of Justice are being dismissed outright by this Department of Justice.

The sound of double-standard justice now ringing throughout our government truly is deafening. Sadly, however, for an Administration whose goal is not to see that justice is done, but to destroy an inconvenient political movement, who’s listening?

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. He served as the United States Attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and was an official with the CIA in the 1970s. He now practices law in Atlanta, Georgia and serves as head of Liberty Guard.