By Daniel Bobinski
A Lexicon written by the Department of Homeland Security (with help from the Southern Poverty Law Center) less than two months after Barack Obama took office uses a broad brush to label many Americans as “extremists.” It’s a fair bet that you, the person reading this, fall into one of their definitions. And it’s my personal bet that very few of us know we’ve been labeled as such, nor how law enforcement might treat us as a result.
Today, a growing number of citizens believe it’s time for the DHS Domestic Extremism Lexicon to get re-written.
What are some of the labels DHS uses to define extremists? How about being a Constitutionalist?
Seems strange that supporting the Constitution can make you an extremist. This especially hits home to veterans. Like my fellow Americans who served in the United States military, on the day of my joining I raised my right hand and swore an oath:
“I, Daniel Bobinski, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, so help me God."
Not knowing about isolationist groups that might refer to themselves as “Constitutionalists,” I would certainly answer in the affirmative if an officer of the law asked if I was a Constitutionalist. After all, in 1981, I essentially signed a blank check for any amount – up to and including my life – to “support and defend” that document called the Constitution.
Unfortunately, according to the DHS Lexicon, saying I’m a Constitutionalist might get me taken into custody. All it would take is a badge-heavy law enforcement officer to decide that my answer enabled him to treat me as a domestic extremist.
I do not speak from ignorance. I have been a workplace consultant and trainer for 30 years, and I have taught in multiple state’s police academies. At one of those academies, a police chief told me that one of the first classes all rookies get is commonly referred to as, “cops and a**holes.” They teach the rookies that, “You are a cop – everyone else is an a**hole.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely a supporter of the men and women who put their lives on the line every day, but sometimes people wearing the badge let it go to their heads. Also, many law enforcement officers (LEOs) are also taught to ask questions that citizens are not required to answer. Those LEOs are also taught how to talk and act so that it seems like answering is not an option.
Perhaps you’ve seen videos of LEOs begrudgingly accepting reality when a citizen knows his or her rights and refuses to answer those questions. Some of these stories I’ve heard firsthand: my own father was a police officer for 28 years.
By the way, I was serious when I said I was unaware of a few staunch anti-government people who call themselves, “Constitutionalists.” Turns out there are a few such people flying under that banner, but I think it’s dangerous to put that word in a lexicon of extremists given the broad use of the word. Like I said, all it takes is a badge-heavy LEO to use the DHS’s Lexicon as an excuse to punish the most law-abiding citizens.
Beware if you’re a patriot who believes the Bible
Again, up until reading through the Lexicon and researching for this column, I was totally unaware of any militant groups using the name, “Christian Patriot.” And, I’m betting that most of my fellow US citizens didn’t know that, either. However, LEOs can label you an extremist if you claim to be a “Christian Patriot.”
How might this play out? Speaking personally, I happen to believe in the deity of Jesus and that salvation occurs by trusting in the redeeming act of Christ’s death. So whether one uses the term “Christian,” or “Ambassador for God,” or “Follower of Jesus,” if a LEO asks if I’m a Christian, my answer will be, “Yes.”
And, as I’ve written previously, in the days of our country’s founding we had patriots and loyalists. Loyalists believed we should have remained under England’s rule. That meant people like King George III creating whatever laws they saw fit with no input from colonists.
On the other hand, Patriots believed (among other things) that:
1) Rights come from God, not the government;
2) Political power comes from the will of the governed;
3) Our government should be a representative republic
(because direct democracies lead to mob rule);
4) Our government should have only limited power;
5) Citizens’ rights cannot be taken away by the government.
Zip forward to the present.
In 2020, we still have patriots, but instead of loyalists we have globalists. Globalists believe a central government should set laws that extend over national boundaries that regulate social, cultural, technological, and economic networks.
I should note that the definition of patriot has not changed, and that I subscribe to the principles of patriotism. And, because I’m also an ambassador for Christ, if a LEO asked me if I was a “Christian Patriot,” I would assume he was talking about what I just wrote above, and answer, “Yes.”
Sadly, the DHS Lexicon says this makes me a rightwing extremist. And, with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Lexicon also defines me as “hate-oriented.”
From the DHS Lexicon:
Rightwing Extremism: A movement of rightwing groups or individuals who can be broadly defined into those who are primarily hate-oriented, and those who are mainly anti-government and reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority. This term also may refer to rightwing extremist movements that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”
This definition uses the word “extremist,” but never defines the boundaries of the term. This leads to a few questions:
- Who defines, “hate-oriented”? Remember, the SPLC helped the DHS create this Lexicon, so if people at the SPLC hate Christians (and it is clear from their writings that they do) , wouldn’t that make the SPLC a hate group?
- The 10th Amendment is part of the Constitution, and it reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Does this mean that if we go by the DHS’s definition of rightwing extremism, anyone who has ever sworn an oath to defend the Constitution is an extremist?
- The DHS Lexicon says if people are devoted to the abortion issue, they’re a rightwing extremist. So if my 5’4” wife and other women from the neighborhood believe it’s wrong to dismember babies while they’re in the womb, and if they go downtown to participate in a pro-life march, suddenly they’re extremists?
- The Lexicon also says if people are devoted to an issue such as [illegal] immigration, they’re a rightwing extremist. If people believe that we are a nation of laws – including 8 U.S. Code § 1325, Improper entry by an alien – and they also believe that no one is above the law, why should DHS label such people extremists for wanting people to follow the law when coming across the border?
To President Trump I say,
‘Mr. President, as we’ve all seen in recent events, politicians and agencies twist the meaning of written codes and laws in their attempts to an enact a globalist agenda. The current wording of the DHS Domestic Extremism Lexicon sets up most Americans to be labeled Domestic Extremists, just for being genuine, patriotic, law-abiding citizens. This puts many Americans in danger of being mistreated without cause.”
“Please, sir, have this document revised.”
As for the rest of us, I was recently made aware of a petition for the White House to address this DHS Lexicon if 100,000 signatures are gathered before Feb 11, 2020. If you're so inclined, you can sign the petition (I did). That said, I think the petition could have been worded better to get more attention, so I think it will be tough to reach the 100,000 signatures threshold. If it doesn’t, perhaps it will get reworded and come up again.
In the meantime, I am not going to let the DHS or the Southern Poverty Law Center define who I am.
I am a Patriot, as I defined above. I am a Christian, as I defined above. And I am a Constitutionalist, as I defined above. And none of that makes me extreme. In fact, these positions are much more mainstream than the SPLC would like us to believe.
Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is a certified behavioral analyst, best-selling author, columnist, corporate trainer, and keynote speaker. In addition to helping teams and individuals achieve workplace excellence over the past 30 years, he’s also a veteran and a Christian Libertarian who believes in the principles of free market capitalism – while standing firmly against crony capitalism. Daniel writes on both workplace issues and political issues for multiple publications, but in his ideal world he’d be a speechwriter for President Trump. Reach Daniel for help with your workplace through his website, MyWorkplaceExcellence.com. For things political, use @newbookofdaniel on Twitter. © Shadowtrail Media, LLC