Insurrection (noun): an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government.
That’s Merriam-Webster talking, an institution that knows a thing or two about words. It’s apparently an authority to which the people of the League of United Latin American Citizens aren’t willing to acquiesce.
See, “insurrection” now means “bad stuff that the far right does.” It’s forever been attached to the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion, an act the left is hoping it can keep alive in the public consciousness until the 2022 midterms at the very least and in perpetuity if at all possible.
It’s dubious when applied to an event that had no chance of overthrowing our duly elected government.
It’s an utter absurdity when applied to states sending the National Guard south to deal with the border crisis.
Yet, according to Fox News, LULAC’s national president, Domingo Garcia, used the word in a letter to the White House asking it to “prevent this usurping of federal powers” by the states of Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota and Texas for lawfully sending troops to stop illegal immigration.
Arkansas and Iowa have also sent law enforcement officials, according to The Associated Press.
On Monday, Ohio would join the club, with Republican Gov. Mike DeWine authorizing 14 Highway Patrol officers to go to Texas.
The red-state governors hope to use the troops to stem a tide of illegal immigration that’s reached levels under the Biden administration not seen in decades. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey requested the help in a June 10 letter.
“On behalf of Texas and Arizona, we respectfully but urgently request that you send all available law-enforcement resources to the border in defense of our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” they wrote.
“My hope is that our 90 days of support will improve the security of our country and reduce the adverse impact of illegal immigration on Arkansas,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday when announcing a deployment of 40 National Guard troops to Texas, according to KATV-TV.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem defended her move to send National Guard troops, arguing that the “border is a national security crisis that requires the kind of sustained response only the National Guard can provide” and that the deployment was paid for via a private donor.
LULAC, a civil rights group that says on its website that it “advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide,” called the move “insurrection.”
“President Biden, as the commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and the militia of the several states, you have authority to prevent this usurping of federal powers by a few recalcitrant and rebellious states,” the Sunday letter from Garcia read.
“If you cannot stop this additional insurrection, we request that you deploy federal troops to defend the rights and lives of Hispanic Americans on the border,” he wrote.
LULAC went further in targeting individual political actors in the letter.
Noem’s use of a private donor to pay for the National Guard deployment, for instance, was “tantamount to relegating our armed forces to a ‘pay for hire’ status on any whim or desire that the donor citizen can afford to pursue,” it said, adding that Noem was seeking “an opportunity to score political points.”
Abbott and former President Donald Trump, meanwhile, were “fomenting dangerous racial hatred targeting Latinos” after they visited the southern border last month.
This is a word salad of overheated speech, but one word in particular stands out: “insurrection,” trotted out as a tenuous link to the events of Jan. 6.
If you want to apply the word to the Capitol incursion, that’s one thing. It’s still febrile language, but we’re still in the ballpark of reality.
The deployment of the National Guard to the border to fix, as Noem phrased it, “a long-term problem President Biden’s Administration seems unable or unwilling to solve” has nothing to do with insurrection. It’s about enforcing laws that the current administration prefers not to enforce for reasons of its own.
Quoth Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride“: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Language has meaning. When it’s bent or broken so as to fit an agenda, it’s worth paying attention to.
Granted, we’ve seen “insurrection” used promiscuously since Jan. 6, but never in a way so divorced from its original definition. At least LULAC’s Garcia gets points for being an object lesson in how debased the word has become.
One hopes this is the bottom, but it likely isn’t. Just wait for the 2022 Democrat midterm advertisements: “Marco Rubio voted for Donald Trump’s insurrectionist tax cuts. He was a supporter of the insurrectionary attempt to increase military spending …”
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