Incitement

Greetings, loyal minions.

Your Maximum Leader sees that the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial seems to have reached a verdict. That verdict will be announced shortly. Your Maximum Leader was drafting out a blog post on incitement, and he’ll just share a few quick thoughts here and now - rather unformed - before the chaos that ensues after the verdict is announced. And know, there will be chaos after the verdict. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t care what the verdict is. It makes no difference. The verdict will result in violence and property destruction no matter how it turns out. For the record, your Maximum Leader (who has not been carefully following the details of what transpired at the trial) believes that Chauvin will be found guilty of Manslaughter and receive a sentence of about 8 years of which he’ll serve about 2.5.

Having said that, let’s talk about incitement for a moment. Your Maximum Leader has thought a lot about incitement in 2021. It started on January 6th. On that day the (then) President of the United States urged a crowd of his followers to go to the Capitol building and protest the outcome of the US Presidential election. That crowd went to the Capitol building and eventually stormed the building. The action of the crowd turned mob resulted in property damage, injury, and death. Your Maximum Leader believes it was one of the darkest days for the Republic during his lifetime. The question became, did the President incite the crowd/mob to do what they did?

This is theme has resurfaced again after Congresswoman Maxine Waters urged protesters to “stay on the street” and “get more confrontational” if the jury didn’t convict Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd case.

So… Were these both examples of incitement? Well, your Maximum Leader has taken some time to try to educate himself a little bit on what exactly the law says about incitement. It turns out that the law is pretty clear. Broadly speaking to legally meet the definition of incitement a person has to directly call for lawless actions or speak in a way that will likely result in lawless actions. This is the Brandenburg Test. So… In order for someone to be prosecuted for incitement (to riot, to engage in a rebellion, or to engage in an insurrection) on has to be pretty explicit about about engaging in speech that will result in lawlessness. In the instances of President Trump’s and Congresswoman Waters’ comments it seems pretty clear that neither of them would meet the standard to be charged and found guilty of incitement.

But, your Maximum Leader wonders (as did Democrats in the House of Representatives when they impeached President Trump for a second time) if there should be a lower bar for what he will call “Political Incitement.” That is when a political leader makes statements that are both inflammatory enough to motivate people to lawlessness, but vague enough to not pass the Brandenburg Test. Your Maximum Leader will go on the proverbial record and say that there ought to be some penalty for Political Incitement. In both the cases he’s mentioned here, he would want at a minimum a formal censure of the offending person. But further, he would be supportive of the removal of that person from office and barring that person from holding office in the future. So, if you’re wondering, yes your Maximum Leader would have supported the removal from office of Trump in January 2021. He would also support the removal from office of Waters in April 2021.

Basically it comes down to elected officials holding offices of trust under the Constitution of the United States should not make inflammatory statements that are likely to provoke or inspire lawlessness. So, if you are a US Senator and you go and speak to a crowd of supporters who are inclined to be dissatisfied with their lot and tell them that they should go and stand up for themselves, that could be a type of political incitement. If you are the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and you go and speak to a crowd protesting unfair housing practices in some US city and during your remarks you encourage the crowd to show people how angry you are and to keep up protesting for change, that could be a type of political incitement. In both of these hypotheticals, if the crowds engaged in lawless behavior as a result of the remarks given, that would meet his personal test in this “Political Incitement.” Now your Maximum Leader isn’t trying to make a hard and fast rule, but he is trying to set a standard for acceptable behavior among officials. Officials should always default to eschewing remarks that could inflame a crowd to lawlessness. Sadly we live in a time where this doesn’t seem to be the case for some (a noteworthy few in fact) officials. Those officials are, by and large, the worst of our elected officials and we as a nation would be better off without them.

Of course, your Maximum Leader is just a bloviator in the ether… So all this amounts to him crying out like an idiot. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Carry on.

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