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Politicians on campaign sweeps visit lots of places.

Ice cream shops, diners, factories, state fairs – the opportunities are endless.  You might only shake hands with five or ten people there, but if a photo makes it on the evening news or the morning paper, tens of thousands of people may see it.  And nothing beats free publicity.

Most of these quick campaign stops are interchangeable. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a gift shop or a fast food place, all that matters is some fluffy, issue-free reporting on the evening news.

Something went very wrong with that system on Wednesday, April 17, 2024.  Instead of the human interest story of Joe Biden buying sandwiches for steelworkers, the fact that the photo op took place at a Sheetz gas station and convenience store turned out to be the news story of the week, especially in Appalachia where Sheetz employs some 25,000 people, a region where hundreds of thousands of working folks of all ages got their start in that kind of job over the years.

The very same day that Scranton Joe was glad-handing potential voters at a Sheetz location in the swing state of Pennsylvania, Beltway Joe’s deputies at the EEOC, back home in the very non-swing jurisdiction of Washington D.C. were putting the final touches on a ridiculous federal lawsuit against Sheetz.

On Thursday, Americans were confronted with two very different stories: Joe Biden lauding the local Sheetz store as quintessential Americana, and Joe Biden attacking a private business on trumped-up charges, looking for every opportunity to beat up a successful corporation.

The dichotomy reminds one of the perennial Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of the politicians of the swamp:

While Jekyll’s smiling figure shakes your hand and kisses your baby at election time, Hyde’s mind is always rooted in the bureaucracy – working 24/7 to use the power of government, to destroy your business, your neighborhood, your environment, your life.

The job of the campaign, the press, the education system and the pop culture is to hide that dichotomy so no voter ever notices it.  The timing on this particular incident made that job more difficult than usual.

Much of the reporting on this unusual circumstance has focused on half-heartedly ribbing the Biden campaign:  Don’t these people check first?  Didn’t they think to see if the campaign stop was “politically correct” before putting it on the day’s agenda?  How incompetent can this team be if they’re siccing federal prosecutors on a business that the boss is visiting on a campaign swing?

But that’s exactly the wrong way to look at it.

No campaign should have to check out this sort of thing before scheduling a campaign swing, because this sort of occurrence really shouldn’t exist in the first place.

Our Founding Fathers never intended for our federal government to have this kind of power. The Constitution severely limits what the executive branch is allowed to do.  It can’t grow so strong that it can become tyrannical; it can’t grow so many tentacles that it can infest every part of the private sector.  It can’t have so many prosecutors that every American need fear harassment; it can’t have so many powers that it can choose from a wide array of prosecutorial options.  None of this is Constitutional.

In fact, the kind of prosecution in this particular case could never even have been imagined by the Framers.  Think about it:

The federal government has selected a private employer – one whose employees must work retail at all hours, often in remote locations, handling cash, responsible for thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise, dealing with the public – and is prosecuting this company for using a criminal background check in its hiring process.  They just want to protect their sites, their customers, and their other employees by hiring the right people.  

Vulnerable people – both customers and fellow employees – will often be alone in the shop with these employees.  It would be irresponsible not to use criminal background checks in their hiring process.

In fact, hasn’t the value of criminal background checks been the Left’s claim for decades? They demand criminal background checks before rifles, handguns, or ammunition can bought or sold, because they know from the massive amount of crime in America (which grows and grows under Democrat governance) that we are all at risk from our fellow man, at all times.

If criminal background checks are appropriate for a gun shop, where practically everyone is armed and trained for self-defense already, then surely criminal background checks are appropriate for an often-empty store, often on the side of a highway where travelers and other defenseless strangers shop at all hours.

On what grounds does the current regime attack the Sheetz chain?  The Constitution only empowers the federal government to regulate interstate commerce when the states concerned have disagreements. Has any state objected to Sheetz’ hiring practices?  Does Pennsylvania differ with Maryland on how gas station chains operate? Do Ohio and Virginia disagree on the temperature at which their sandwiches are cooked? 

In fact, it’s patently clear that there are no Constitutional grounds whatsoever for the Biden regime’s war against Sheetz.  Their attack on the use of background checks to safeguard the public is purely political, a DEI assault, an attack against some poor business, probably chosen at random, so the Left’s politicians can show their voracious donors that such prosecutions are happening as ordered. 

The goal of the modern American Left is to keep the private sector in fear. 

Be afraid of the IRS tax audit, the EEOC hiring practices lawsuit, the ADA complaint about the accessibility of your elevators. Be terrified of the OSHA reportable, the EPA groundwater test, the DoT review of your trucking fleet’s log books.

This is the federal government under Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the modern Democrat party. This is how they want it.

In this unhinged world, Sheetz’ mistake was in having any hiring procedures at all. A rational employment policy is just too tempting a target for the Biden-Harris crowd.

Sheetz is concerned about the safety of their employees and customers, late at night or at a remote interstate exit. 

But as we can see from the prosecuting records in America’s Democrat-run big cities, the infestation of freely-operating gangs, and the open borders that have brought millions of foreign lawbreakers into the country these past three years, it’s patently obvious that the safety of American citizens is the last thing on the minds of a modern Democrat politician.

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based international transportation manager, trade compliance trainer and speaker. A one-time Milwaukee County Republican Party chairman, he has been writing a regular column for Illinois Review since 2009. Read his book on vote fraud (The Tales of Little Pavel) and his political satires on the current administration (Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes I IIand III).

Image: Screen shot from Forbes Breaking News video, via YouTube