‘Constitutional sheriff’ is just the latest rebranding for America’s pro-insurrection right

‘Constitutional sheriff’ is just the latest rebranding for America’s pro-insurrection right

The Washington Post here uses questions fielded by Bucks County, Pennsylvania, candidate for sheriff Mark Lomax as a jumping-off point to remind readers of the (ahem) bizarre right-wing beliefs that have coalesced under the codeword “constitutional sheriff.” I’m not sure it was necessary to give king crackpot Richard Mack so much of a voice—Mack is the far-right anti-government ex-Oath Keeper militia member who largely willed the “constitutional sheriff” scam into being, and has views that roughly equate to: “What if we did the Confederacy again, but this time I’m in charge?”

It also doesn’t go much into the very batshit extremism of the constitutional sheriff movement. At its heart, yes, the movement centers around a belief that for nebulous reasons, county sheriffs are actually the top tier of all American government, have the ability to nullify federal laws that they personally believe should be nullified, and that the rest of state and federal government is basically a scam encroaching on their turf.

It is a conspiracy theory developed and held by a very specific set of anti-government, arch-conservative rural western believers, and all of it, of course, was invented as justification for why rural western arch-conservatives should be able to take federal lands for their own purposes; fire off whatever guns they want at whatever fellow Americans disagree; and generally ignore whatever environmental, financial, or other laws government attempts to impose on them.

This is the general viewpoint that a crank Nevada rancher might use to turn cattle loose onto federal land, refuse to pay government grazing fees, refuse to round up the cattle despite the damage they’re doing or the danger to the public, and then assemble a group of armed revolution-minded militia members to surround and threaten to kill whatever federal workers show up to bring his cattle in themselves. For example.

It becomes “constitutional sheriff’n” when the law enforcement official currently voted into office wants to take your side of the fight, either for the sake of their next campaign issue or because they’ve been drinking the same off-smelling well water you have. That’s where people like Mack come in, in the attempt to cobble together these various sociopathic anti-government beliefs into a political constitutional sheriff brand with 6 inches of plausible deniability between it and the pro-insurrection militia groups planning and conducting acts of domestic terrorism.

Mostly, of course, it’s about guns. The constitutional sheriff phrase is an endorsement of militia beliefs about guns. It insists that they must not be regulated. It insists that approximately everybody should be allowed to have them, even people with histories that suggest they absolutely should not. It insists that the point of having them is not for sport or for hunting but to kill other Americans if and when those other Americans need killing. Maybe it’s to “protect your property.” Maybe it’s because a federal employee is telling you to follow a law you don’t want to follow.

It’s just the same damn militia movement as always. It needs rebranding after every decade or so after the then-top organizations become so notorious through the violent actions of their members that recruiting becomes difficult. The Post mentions that Mack himself bowed out of his top role in the Oath Keepers anti-government militia group after the militia became the face of assault weapon-carrying “protection” teams prowling the edges of Black Lives Matter protesters. From a branding standpoint, it was becoming a little too on-the-nose—or in-the-robes—for would-be political aspirants like Mack to defend.

The Oath Keepers would go on to play pivotal roles in the Jan. 6 insurrection, keeping true to their belief that the right time for rebelling against our nonfascist government is pretty much whenever you can manage it. Unfortunately for the constitutional sheriff brand, some of their own members have been tagged in that attempt to topple the U.S. government—again, because it’s the same movement!—which is both a pretty embarrassing bit of press for a whole movement that brands itself on following the Constitution and is accelerating the toxification of the phrase.

It turns out “constitutional sheriff” means “fascist advocates for the toppling of the federal government, badge-wearing edition.” FAFTTOTFG-BWE, however, is considerably harder to pronounce.

It’s the militia movement. That’s all it is. The militia movement has a sizable presence in law enforcement, and if you’re wondering why people who believe it is not only justified but outright patriotic to point guns at people tend to gravitate towards careers in law enforcement I don’t know what to tell you. It’d be like offering Sen. Josh Hawley a new job reviewing video games and porn; how could he possibly turn it down?

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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