School boards and county commission boards across the country have seen an influx of deranged community members peddling delusional conspiracy theories and even threatening violence in protest of mask mandates in schools and hysteria over critical race theory.
One woman in Kansas said at a county commissioners meeting that members would be "tried for crimes against humanity" for mandating masks in schools, absurdly claiming there was "zero evidence that COVID-19 exists in the world." In Pennsylvania, a GOP gubernatorial candidate vowed to storm school boards with "20 strong men" in order to "remove" them from their posts. In Virginia, a school board meeting was declared an unlawful assembly after attendees grew increasingly belligerent.
These are but a few instances in an overwhelming pattern of intimidation and menacing toward school board members, and this week, the Department of Justice announced that it would be investigating violent threats against school board members.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said:
"Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation's core values. Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety."
Given that he raised his fist in solidarity with Trump supporters just hours before they stormed the United States Capitol in a deadly failed insurrection, it may not come as a surprise that far-right Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri is now vocally opposed to the Justice Department's effort to suppress violent threats against public servants.
Hawley put his hysteria over critical race theory on full display, saying to the Department:
"All around the country, Americans are speaking out against the radical racist ideology sometimes called 'critical race theory.' Americans have responded to this radical ideology by winning elections for local school boards and protesting peacefully at school board meetings. Yet your memo yesterday to the FBI and local U.S. Attorneys ignored all of this and warned of an insurgence of 'threats of violence' and 'efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.'"
Now, a new supercut from MSNBC's Chris Hayes highlights the rampant right-wing intimidation on display at school board meetings, countering Hawley's claim that these threats of violence are overblown.
Interspersed with Hawley's comments at a recent Senate committee hearing invoking images of DOJ targeting peaceful parents politely expressing their views, the supercut showed clip after clip of the opposite.
For one example, a community member said to a school board official:
"We know who you are. You can leave freely, but we will find you and we know who you are."
Hawley painted DOJ's efforts as a "deliberate attempt to chill parents from showing up at school board meetings," accusing the Justice Department of attempting to "intimidate" and "silence" them.
The video showed that was the other way around.
Nor had people forgotten about his ideological support for the Capitol rioters.