"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross" -Sinclair Lewis
"Antifa" is a new shorthand for "Anti-Fascist". Specifically, Antifa is the name of a group of counter-protesters who rally against the rhetoric of Alt-Right, white nationalist groups. While the Antifa protests are often peaceful, their clashes with opponents have turned violent in the past, leading to injuries and property damage. Such was the case in last year during the now infamous events in Charlottesville.
Antifa has no governing hierarchy or leadership, in doesn't even have a figurehead. They are not affiliated with any political party as most of their members hold far leftist views that lay outside the typical Democratic platform. But their protests are less about their own political agenda and more about acting as a counterweight to their extremist right who gleefully wave swastikas and the Stars and Bars while celebrating Independence Day. Really, being opposed to fascism and the racism, violence and oppression that comes with it shouldn't be a partisan issue. Any decently moral individual should be opposed to such things.
Well, apparently, Congress doesn't think so. Although at this point we should hardly be surprised.
In June, Republican Congressman Dan Donovan of New York introduced Bill HR 6054, also known as the "Unmasking Antifa Act" onto the House floor. The bill calls for a 15-year prison sentence for anyone wearing a mask or disguise while "injuring, threatening, oppressing or intimidating" someone exercising their First Amendment rights.
While the bill's wording doesn't explicitly cite Antifa as its target, the alternate title, Unmasking Antifa, obviously refers to the group whose members often wear masks covering part of their face. Donovan's bill is clearly an attempt to real in the activities of those who oppose the highly pro-Trump Alt-Right. I don't image it was intended to prosecute those masked bands of hooligans who go door to door and shake down innocent Americans for their hard earned candy every October 31st (I wouldn't be shocked in the least, though).
If Donovan and his fellow Republicans really cared about potentially violent vigilantes in disguise, I look forward to their proposals for a "Unmasking Ku Klux Klan Act" or "Unmasking Neo-Nazis Act". Maybe a "Unmasking Tiki Torch Wielding Frat Boys Act". At least that would make this lunacy equal. But considering this is a party whose president refused to declare that purposely crashing a car into a group of protesters and killing a woman makes someone a bad person, I wouldn't get my hopes up.
The Unmasking Antifa Act is nothing short of a measure intended to limit opposition to the ultra-conservative far right and the hate groups that have grown bolder as a result of the Republican party embracing the extremism of Donald Trump; groups that have been more active since the night he was elected. This is a majority party attempting to defend and shelter hate groups and silence opposition behind false claims of patriotism and loyalty.
With President Donald Trump and his White House minions of doom already in the trenches of a war with all mainstream media not named FOX or Brietbart, in other words the Propaganda Wing of the Trump Regime, we're getting dangerously close to Orwellian "thoughtcrime" territory. Where does this road lead and where in the world does it end? How long before we reach something resembling a page straight out of 1984 or The Man in the High Castle?
This bill becoming law wouldn't stop Antifa counter-protests. They'd likely just stop wearing masks. But that's beyond the point. The bill is attempting to limit freedom of speech by intentionally targeting a specific opposition group. This is partisanship seeping into law in an effort to control the power of the people who oppose threatening organizations. Congress even bringing this bill to a vote signals their undaunted approval of the Alt-Right, the white supremacists and the Neo-Nazis.
For a party that has declared itself the defender of the Constitution while painting their epitaph as a martyr on the cross, the GOP has thrown away the very basic principles of our Founding Fathers. This country was founded because the people protested in the streets and opposed the rule of law to fight a government that did not represent them, even if it meant committing high treason. Now the Republican party believes their twisted narrative of morality and loyalty are the word of law, directly disregarding the First Amendment while claiming to defend it.
Fascism and Nazi ideology doesn't jibe with democracy, we fought a little thing called World War II to prove that. Donovan's bill is criminal and unconstitutional and needs to be opposed by the people and by anyone left in Congress with a conscience. Afterall, opposing fascism isn't un-American, it's downright patriotic.