A woman, it appears, may soon go to jail for a year for laughing at Jeff Sessions. Her name is Desiree Fairooz. A quote from a recent article at CNN’s website:
[T]he notion of an American citizen going to jail for a nonviolent political protest is utterly antithetical to what this country is all about. It is a disgrace. Officer Coronado is a disgrace for arresting her. The prosecutor is a disgrace for charging her. The jurors are disgraces for convicting her. Add that to the optics … a government with, at the moment. a bit of an authoritarian bent, in a hearing to confirm our top law enforcement official (who arguably has authoritarian tendencies of his own), allowing a person to be taken into custody, and then the pressing of charges. And now Fairooz faces actual jail time? That is not the image of an America guided by the Enlightenment.
She will not get a year, that’s merely the maximum sentence possible. It was not merely laughter (as shown in one of the very articles you linked to). You do yourself a disservice with that kind of hyperbole.
In a liberal democracy, a certain degree of theater at hearings (the occasional person or small clutch of individuals holding up a banner and being escorted out, etc.) is treated with a light touch. There is value in making space for people to practice civil disobedience. A liberal society acknowledges this. A hearing briefly disrupted is not a hearing prevented. Detainment and dropped charges are usually the events surrounding such events. The difference here is a signalling that Justice Dept. prosecutors will go after people engaging in acts of civil disobedience, and to the fullest extent of the law. Under Sessions, with his anti-marijuana stance, etc., this translates into the weaponizing of the Dept. of Justice to intimidate resistance to Trump.
I think the problem here is that Trump is showing signs that he means to weaponize the Dept. of Justice and the FBI as instruments of his will, not instruments of justice and the rule of law fairly dealt out in accord with longstanding, liberal democratic norms.
You misunderstand. I’m not in disagreement about what this means. I’m saying that by overstating your case you give grounds for dismissal by those who disagree with you, so that you will in fact hurt the cause you are advocating for rather than help it.
It seems your country is so full of contradictory and hypocritical interpretations of the law that an outside observer would have to consider that context and purpose are the most important contributing factors here. The power of suggestion in this particular instance considers that the law is being used to the fullest extent to deter other agitated dissenters from feeling free to exercise their disapproval of this regime. The extreme use of the law against this woman is another example of how the legal system favours the power-mongers over the poor and usually disempowered minority. Nothing new really. It’s been happening in your country for hundreds of years. I suppose if she were to appeal and challenge this verdict and even take it to the supreme court of your land it may be upturned but who is going to do that for this poor woman?