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OPINION: Americans have a right to speak out against public-school policies

By Rick Manning


The Biden administration has gone into full attack mode against the First Amendment right to petition the government as his attorney general has declared that parents opposing critical race theory (CRT) [and mask mandates] before their local school boards should potentially be treated as domestic terrorists under the Patriot Act.

This abuse of that dubious post-Sept. 11 law proves once again that while well-intentioned, 20 years later, the Patriot Act is one of the biggest legislative mistakes in our nation’s history. The politicization of the Department of Justice and the FBI has led to many well-chronicled abuses of power. However, the brazen application of this anti-terrorism law against parents voicing opposition to a Marxist education policy that racist academicians are trying to force down the throats of their children is such a step beyond the intended scope of the law that Congress must take steps today to repeal it.

The announcement by Attorney General Merrick Garland [to have the FBI team up with schools to combat parents protesting mask mandates and CRT] falls hard on the heels of an FBI request for 200,000 encrypted ProtonMail email accounts in an unprecedented mass-surveillance operation targeting conservatives.

Congress needs to begin the process of repealing the Patriot Act and holding Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray accountable for its abuse. In the meantime, state attorneys general need to push back hard against these broad, sweeping measures which criminalize political activism. Governors, state legislatures, county commissions, and school boards must denounce the characterization of the very taxpayers who pay for the schools as being terrorists because they support Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘I have a dream’ vision. And state and local governments should deny all public funds from being spent for membership in the National School Board Association, which asked that the domestic-terrorist designation be given to parents opposing critical race theory. There is no excuse for a single taxpayer dollar to go to an organization which has declared war on the parents of the children entrusted to them.

Americans have a right to hold election officials accountable for their decisions. Americans have a right to petition government at all levels for redress. Americans have a right to speak out and organize in favor or against public policies. The attempt by Garland to criminalize these actions is grounds for his impeachment. 

Rick Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). The organization says it is a “non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free-market reforms, private property rights, and core American liberties.” This op-ed is drawn and edited from a news release the ALG issued on Oct. 5.


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