I appeared on NPR on Wednesday and was surprised to hear a caller say that Sen. Ted Cruz should be charged with sedition. “I’m really baffled by the fact that the discussion has not ever reached the point where charges of sedition should be brought up against him for conspiring and bullying others to work with him to undermine the American economy … full faith and credit,” the caller said. “He’s done so much damage to the standing of the United States in the world. And if you read the Sedition Act, it seems like it really applies.”
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A colleague on the panel, the Wall Street Journal’s Sudeep Reddy, assured the caller, “There is no possibility of that.” And the conversation moved on. But it turns out that in a few corners of the left, there are activists who would like to see Cruz, along with other Republicans and conservatives who have expressed strong opposition to Obamacare, charged with inciting rebellion against the United States government.
After Cruz and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin appeared together last weekend on the National Mall, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported the event in front of a screen with pictures of Cruz and Palin and the title LATEST SEDITION. Maddow did not utter the word itself, but viewers certainly got the message.
On the activist website MoveOn.org, there are multiple petitions calling for Cruz and others to be charged with sedition. In one, the petition writer adopted a very broad and somewhat fuzzy standard under which Cruz should be sent to jail: “Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order,” the petition says. “Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Sedition is the stirring up of rebellion against the government in power.” Another petition adds “insurrection” to Cruz’s indictment.