Credit: (dc.claremont.org/)

Last Updated on September 26, 2022 by BVN

S.E. Williams

Imagining Chad Bianco participating in any event where there is “heady intellectualism” seems farcical–they must have had an interpreter there to break things down for him. It probably went something like this:

“OK, Chad. What they are saying means almost the same as, “See Dick and Jane chase the ball.” You know what that means, don’t you Chad?”

Although intellectualism may not be Bianco’s strong suit, we know he is an overachiever when it comes to right-wing extremism as was clearly demonstrated by his former membership in the notorious insurrectionist organization the Oath Keepers and his almost rabid response to resisting any actions related to safety regarding COVID-19.This included his being a raging anti-vaxxer and his belligerent refusal to enforce the mask mandate.

So when the Claremont Institute praised Bianco for “The courageous stand he’s taken over  the past year.” In my assessment and the assessment of others this was a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to his full throated resistance to safety precautions and vaccines related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Although I don’t mind making jokes at Bianco’s expense, his selection as one of the “Crazy 8’s”my reference to the eight sheriff fellows selected by the Claremont Institute for its inaugural Sheriff Fellowship class was not surprising. But it also seemed foreboding. 

“Last November, the Claremont Institute hosted the inaugural class of “Sheriff Fellows”. Over the course of a week, eight sheriffs-all white men–chosen from the more than 3,000 in the country stayed at the Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, California, attending a series of discussions, lectures, and fireside chats stepped in the far-right-wing think tank’s heady intellectualism and radical ideology. “

Jessica Pishko

After reading an assessment of the fellowship’s curriculum as published by Uken Report it appears as reported to be a program that focused the all too willing fellows on two types of communities in America, “those communities sheriffs should police as freely and brutally as they see fit and those ‘real’ Americans who should be considered virtually above the law.”

What category does he believe our community falls into?

The Sheriff’s Fellowship is not the only fellowship offered by the Claremont Institute but according to reports, it is the first one offered to elected officials currently in office. 

Because sheriffs have such control over the communities they were elected to serve, voters have a right to know that the person elected to serve ‘all the people” in this community  is tying himself tighter to right-wing ideology, nationalism and extremism. 

It is believed the Claremont Institute is now focused on sheriffs because some departments may already have an existing core of extremists within their ranks. This can make it easier for such individuals to enable other like minded individuals to create chaos within a community.

This is where we come to as a nation. A group of right-wing extremist sheriffs coming together with and being heralded by an institution that provides “historical and intellectualcover for the furthering of such dangerous nationalism under the banner of christianity. 

As reported, it is relatively clear Claremont sees sheriffs as influencers who–as elected officials–can push their extremist ideology into the mainstream. In Bianco’s case, he must be their ideal candidate because he has already established himself as a darling of right-wing media outlets. 

The French philosopher Blaise Pascal once wrote, “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” 

When you combine sheriff departments that may be home to some extremists, with the authority to use violence under the color of law, led by sheriffs who themselves are extremists and that are supported and praised by a Christian nationalist organization, we have to stop and ask ourselves, “What can possibly go wrong?” 

Of course, this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.

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S.E. Williams

Stephanie Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News. A longtime champion for civil rights and justice in all its forms, she is also an advocate for government transparency and committed to ferreting out and exposing government corruption. Stephanie has received awards for her investigative reporting and for her weekly column, Keeping it Real. Contact Stephanie with tips, comments. or concerns at myopinion@ievoice.com.