Adam Schiff and Echoes of the McMinn County War

Last week, two dozen Republican representatives led by U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida crashed the ersatz Star Chamber established by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) to demonstrate the need for transparency in the Democrats’ efforts to impeach President Trump.

Now the House is scheduled to vote Thursday on a resolution to “provide a clear path forward” for the impeachment inquiry. We’ll see.

Schiff, called by many a despicable poltroon, whose persona might be accurately described as the love child of Barney Fife and Lucrezia Borgia, had a political ancestor in an earlier incident in American history, where the Democrat machine sought absolutely and unfairly to control the processes of a free government.

In 1936, Democrats were elected into office in Tennessee including the sheriff of McMinn County, Paul Cantrell, followed by his deputy, Pat Mansfield.

Cantrell and the Democratic Party machine became so entrenched in McMinn County that within a decade they controlled every government agency, the schools, and the local newspaper.

GIs from McMinn County returning from World War II battles in the Pacific and in Europe where they fought fascist tyranny at bayonet point, now found themselves in the grips of a localized tyranny that controlled everything, especially the police.

Like the pencil-necked Schiff, the sheriff did all he could to make his procedures absolutely secret so no one could manifest the size and scope of the hijinks of his Democratic Party machine.

The newly returned soldiers, sailors, and Marines found themselves under the thumb of this localized dictatorship in which the sheriff’s deputies were paid under a fee system: more arrests meant more money.

The returning GIs, many of whom were immediately fleeced by a system over which they had no control, formed the “GI-Independent Party” and set about voting the sheriff out of office.

When the election came in August 1946, the deputies seized all the ballot boxes and took them to the county jail “for safekeeping.”

Much like the business-suited Republican congressmen last week, the GIs realized that a kinetic rather than a normal parliamentary response was in order.

So while the well-dressed Republicans were only armed with cell phones, the McMinn County GIs decided to seize the ballot boxes the hard way.

Upon seeing what the sheriff was attempting to do in the secrecy of his reinforced building full of armed deputies, the GIs took up arms—quite literally, including Thompson submachine guns, M-1 rifles, and shotguns.

The combat veterans organized a siege of the jailhouse and demanded a public counting of the ballots.

No one quite knows who fired the first shot, but a gunfight ensued. The veterans were busy placing demolition charges next to the doors when deputies raised a white flag. In the end, nobody died but at least 20 people were wounded.

As it turned out, the sheriff was engaged in electoral fraud. The GIs won the election.

Schiff, a Democrat seemingly of the same persuasion as those corrupt McMinn County cops, might well take note of the reaction of voters when secrecy and deceit are applied subjectively to public processes.

If not, Schiff might reflect on the fact that his deceitful, high handed and cowardly actions can only engender more retaliatory moves of increasing intensity if he sticks with his undemocratic methods.

In that case, Congressman Schiff might shift to reading about another legendary Democrat, this one not from Tennessee but from Louisiana: “Kingfish” Huey Long.

About Chuck de Caro

Chuck de Caro is a contributor to American Greatness. He was CNN's very first Special Assignments Correspondent. Educated at Marion Military Institute and the U.S. Air Force Academy, he later served with the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He has taught information warfare (SOFTWAR) at the National Defense University and the National Intelligence University. He was an outside consultant for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment for 25 years. A pilot since he was 17, he is currently working on a book about the World War I efforts of Fiorello La Guardia, Giulio Douhet, and Gianni Caproni, which led directly to today’s U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command.

Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images

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