Ever since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib were elected to the House in 2018, Republicans have scrambled to find their own answer to the Squad. And now, after the 2020 elections, they think they’ve hit upon a solution—meet the self-styled “Freedom Force,” a group of newly elected Republican members of the House who are promising to fight socialism and, naturally, the Squad and possibly the Guardians of the Galaxy. Did they realize that they named themselves after a band of Marvel Comics supervillains that collaborates with the federal government in some fucked-up shit? It’s certainly not only corny, but appropriate!
The “Freedom Force,” as Representative-Elect Nicole Malliotakis from New York put it, “was a natural alliance that formed.” “We understand what it’s like in other countries. We understand how truly special this nation is. And we look forward to working together to push back on anyone who tries to bring a socialist agenda to America,” she told Politico.
The original four members of the “Freedom Force,” according to the Wall Street Journal, are Malliotakis; newly-elected Florida Representatives Carlos Gimenez and Maria Elvira Salazar, both Cuban American; and Indiana’s Victoria Spartz, who was born in the USSR in what is now Ukraine. The quartet “bonded very quickly because we shared very similar circumstances,” Malliotakis told the Wall Street Journal, adding that they are “the founding members” of the Freedom Force. Mystique would like a word!
New additions to this band of supervillains, according to news reports, include California’s Young Kim and Michelle Steel, both of whom were born in South Korea; Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma, whose father immigrated from Iran; and Florida’s Byron Donalds, who is originally from Brooklyn.
The “Freedom Force” apparently got its moniker from Florida’s Salazar, who wrote in a tweet in November, “[W]e can’t just let the socialist left destroy the American dream for our children! [Join] The Freedom Force & FIGHT BACK today!” And Republicans are, for some reason, running with the name “Freedom Force.” As Burgess Owens, the newly elected member of Congress from Utah, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham at the end of November, “This group will be talking against and giving a contrast to the hard left. We have the Freedom Force versus Squad. We have a group of people who believe in our country, believe in God, family, respect for women and authority, and another group who hates everything I just mentioned.” Owens added, “South Korea, Cuba, Iran, Greece, I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida… We’ve all dealt with the harshness, the evil of socialism and Marxism, and so we can talk from experience.”
Tallahassee, that evil bastion of socialism and Marxism!
As for what members of the Squad think, here’s how Ilhan Omar put it. “[I]t sounds ridiculous to me,” Omar told NBC News. “I think they think they’re in high school. We’re in Congress.”