Cancel culture has arrived in Congress in a big way. Well, to be fair, it’s been there for a while now, but Florida Democratic congresswoman Stephanie Murphy is really upping her game in this regard. New proposed legislation from Murphy would prevent anyone who participated in the January protests and riot on Capitol Hill from being eligible for a security clearance. Further, she would impose a similar ban on anyone who participated in any “stop the steal” rally or anyone who knowingly engaged with Q-anon. Given that a security clearance check is required for virtually every person applying for a federal job (and many state or municipal jobs) or enlistment in the military, Murphy would be banning an entire class of people from public service even if they never engaged in any violent activities. (Big League Politics)
Murphy, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has recently proposed a bill that would prevent members of the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement along with subscribers to ‘QAnon’ from being able to obtain security clearances. Security clearances are a necessity for Americans who wish to join the US Military and also a requirement to obtain a number of federal jobs.
This bill would essentially bar any American that has rallied in support of President Trump post-election or publicly voiced concern about election fraud from being able to hold a job in the Armed Forces or any federal law enforcement agency.
This proposal was initially reported at The Daily Beast.
The legislation, titled the Security Clearance Improvement Act of 2021, requires applicants looking to obtain or renew their federal security clearances to disclose if they participated in the Jan. 6 rally in Washington—or another “Stop the Steal” event—or if they “knowingly engaged in activities conducted by an organization or movement that spreads conspiracy theories and false information about the U.S. government.
This level of attempted government repression is breathtaking in its scope. As a rule, anyone who is convicted (and that’s a key word) of having breached the Capitol building on January 6th and committing acts of vandalism or attacks on law enforcement officers will likely disqualify themselves from obtaining a security clearance. (And hence, a federal job in most cases.) The same is true for all serious offenses, though you can generally receive a waiver for misdemeanors and minor violations. No new legislation would be needed to make that happen.
But this bill is something entirely different. It would effectively criminalize every person who showed up for the rally and remained out in the streets protesting. The same would go for the hundreds of other rallies held across the nation in the preceding months. Further, depending on how the legislation is interpreted, if you ever engaged with Q-anon believers on social media or other discussion groups, you could be similarly canceled from working in the public sphere.
What Murphy is proposing here is nothing less than a huge raft of thought crimes that Americans could be punished for without ever having broken the law. This would be no different than a law seeking to restrict the employment opportunities of anyone who ever participated in a Black Lives Matter protest that devolved into rioting and looting even if the person in question did not participate in the criminal activity that followed.
No matter whether you agreed with the proponents of the “stop the steal” activity or not, protesting is still legal and constitutionally protected. That’s something that the media reminds us of constantly when they refer to the BLM riot participants as “mostly peaceful protesters.” In a way, I almost want to see Murphy’s bill passed and signed by Joe Biden just so we could break out the popcorn and watch it be blown up in the courts. If that failed to happen and this sort of law was allowed to stand, you might as well pack up and move to another country because the United States Constitution would be effectively dead.