Article originally appeared on thefederalist.com.
Most of us are familiar with the infamous “vanishing commissar” photo of Stalin and Nikolai Yezhov, the secret police official who organized mass arrests, torture, and executions in the Soviet Union in the late 1930s, but was himself later arrested and executed. Yezhov’s likeness was subsequently removed from all official photos, including the one of him and Stalin at the Moscow Canal. Today, Yezhov is the primary example of how the Soviet regime would make someone “disappear,” as if they never existed, literally erasing them from the historical record.
Disappearing people in this way is something tyrannical dictatorships do because they feel no accountability to the people over whom they rule. Whatever the regime says, no matter how outlandish or patently false, is reality. If you dissent, then you might be disappeared too.
A milder but nevertheless disturbing version of the “vanishing commissar” played out over Sunday and Monday in Washington, D.C. Here’s what happened. During a series of contentious spending votes on Saturday ahead of a looming government shutdown, while House Democrats were trying to slow-walk a vote, Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman pulled a fire alarm in a House office building on Capitol Hill, forcing an evacuation.
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