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Harold Hutchison / Aug. 11, 2020

The Left Cracks Down on Dissent Both Large and Small

Two cases in New York point to a disturbing disregard for our fundamental freedoms.

For all the talk about our “democracy” being at risk, there’s very little being said by those same people when government officials actively retaliate against those who dissent from their preferred policy positions. That’s because Donald Trump isn’t doing it. No, for perhaps the most obvious example of this abuse of power, we need look no further than Albany.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his attorney general, Letitia James, have made retaliation against dissent commonplace in the Empire State, and two recent stories prove the point. The first is James’s effort to dissolve the National Rifle Association. James ran on the platform of attacking this largest and most effective defender of the Second Amendment, labeling it a “terrorist organization” during at least one media appearance.

Now, the NRA has long opposed gun control. And it runs advertisements, urges its members to write lawmakers, speaks out on legislation, supports and opposes candidates for office, and donates money to its preferred candidates (at a fraction of the amount given to Democrats by teachers unions, we’d add). All of these activities are protected by the First Amendment, and none of them even remotely resembles terrorism.

Thus, this is just the latest politically punitive move by the tyrannical Cuomo-James regime. Cuomo has waged his jihad against the NRA — and it had an effect on political races in 2018 and 2019. While some of the NRA’s spending decisions clearly have been controversial, the fact remains that the real “crime” has been its stand against laws that would punish millions of law-abiding Americans — particularly sweeping Australia-style gun bans like those pushed by Representatives Eric Swalwell and Beto O'Rourke, among others.

One doesn’t have to be a nationwide group to be a target, however. Just ask Abby Ehmann. The owner of Lucky, a bar in Manhattan, found herself suddenly visited by state liquor authority agents. Shortly after their visit, her bar’s liquor license was suspended. Other bars in the area had not been given that treatment.

Then again, Ms. Ehmann had started a petition to loosen menu restrictions that Cuomo imposed less than a week prior to the fateful inspection. Petitioning for a redress of grievances — which is exactly what Ehmann did — is, again, explicitly protected by the First Amendment. Yet once again, New York retaliated against the dissenter, a small-business owner, for merely exercising that constitutional right.

Sadly, this is part of a larger pattern, not just from New York but from the Left in general, especially since the eight years of the Obama-Biden administration. Numerous instances exist of government abuse targeting dissenters from the progressive agenda, and this disturbing pattern points to an increasingly totalitarian Left weaponizing the powers of the state against average citizens.

Yet as bad as it is now, it could be much worse. Does anyone think that a Biden administration would protect conservative groups from the Lois Lerners of the world? Would Treasury Secretary Elizabeth Warren lay off the NRA, or would she sic the IRS on it? Would Attorney General Kamala Harris not seek to crush dissent, especially given her earlier crackdown on crisis pregnancy centers?

The actions of the Cuomo-James regime in New York are perhaps the most blatant effort to make it illegal for grassroots Patriots to engage in political discourse. Arguably, the only thing more worrisome than the actions of that rotten regime is the silence of the mainstream media — precisely those who purport to be our guardians of democracy and norms.

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