Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Oath Keepers

While I have, I will admit, explored options in dumping my party affiliation, in light of the GOP’s shenanigans as of late–looking at the Modern Whig Party as a possible alternative–and questioned the political process as a whole in the face of our Congresscritters patently going off the rails in droves, on both sides of the aisle, I can’t say that I’ve thought about going so far as these folks.

Crossposted to The Suicidal Cactus Hour

I was in Maine when Clinton was in office, and the modern militias got a fair amount of press. I knew folks who were in one, and I have to admit, I was impressed by the refurbished tank that they trotted out on occasion for events.  The guns were defunct, but with the know how to get the old Russian girl back up to snuff, I had little doubt that they could swap out functional weapons with little notice.  Even still, most of the folks involved were retired vets, and young men and women who they trained.  In a similar fashion to a few skinhead groups that train up in the woods, though without the blaring music and probably 95% less race hating.

Justine Sharrock’s article struck me, because the Oath Keepers are often serving members of our military.  Their very name illustrates their love of nation, recalling Reza Aslan’s words of Flag as totem.  What I find interesting is that many were less concerned with a growing list of intrusions on privacy and other rights during the last Administration, and the Bush Administration’s own recommendations for putting militia groups on higher watch status, than the current one.  

Mind you, while racial politics does play into the equation a bit, I think that it has far less to do with the narrative that gets promoted.  I have little doubt that the Oath Keepers would have congealed in the face of a Hillary Clinton Presidency–something that Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes wrote vociferously against during the run up to the election last year.

In the face of things, the Declaration of Orders We Will Not Obey is not entirely a bad thing.  Rhodes is entirely correct that if the German military had refused orders, the Holocaust would not have happened.  A principled military that refuses to march against its own citizens or deny them their rights is a key to preserving our republic.  What is interesting is who ire is directed towards.  The fear of the Fed coming down like a hammer is one that has been fostered for quite a while in the paranoiac fantasy life of the likes of Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity.  Democrats have been cast as jack booted thugs and you have revisionists like Jonah Goldberg trying to cast the Commie-Pinko Liberals in the role of Fascists as well. It is an interesting mix of pejorative that are leveled against the Democrats–and as a former resident of Massachusetts and with friends in Chicago, I have seen and certainly know of Democrats who have borne their share of strong arm politics–but I am impressed that at the same time in trying to cast Democrats as New World Order–forgetting apparently who actually used the phrase to begin with–thugs, and limp wristed ineffectual elitist intellectuals without a shred of real world experience, that some sort of cognitive dissonance hasn’t penetrated.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. And on one level, I have to applaud the idea that it is the Constitution, stupid.  The problem, unfortunately, with many of the grassroots movements, is that they are pointing their ire and anger and outrage perhaps in the wrong direction.  Fear of the other, fear of losing ground, and stoked by pundits and politicians alike who increasingly cast their opponents as figures bent on destroying the fabric of America, we see the politics of fear warping legitimate concerns into armed camps and ratcheted up rhetoric that tend to ignore history.  In casting Democrats–who, to be honest, I’ve yet to see much of anything as effective as the mythologized FEMA camps materialize–as despotic thugs, it robs our process of what we desperately need.  Real debate.  In the move for an all or nothing sort of politics, we not only rob ourselves of the opportunity for discussion and consensus, we push those who are most fearful and most vulnerable towards those who would use their fear against their opponents, and without care or responsibility for the fear and suffering that they engender.  


  1. HappyinVT

    thanks for scaring me, Hubie.  I’m only about halfway through the first page of the Mother Jones article and that these nutcases are in our military is enough to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  That they are practically in my backyard doesn’t thrill me, either.

  2. Shaun Appleby

    And timely too.  The thing that I can’t understand is how this movement can take ‘oaths’ to the Constitution, as if it was some kind of static symbol, and completely disregard that it consistently and emphatically empowers the Congress to enact laws and the executive to apply them on behalf of ‘the people.’  Unless they can demonstrate some credible evidence that the election of these legislators or any given administration is illegal they seem to be missing the whole point.  The ‘birther’ narrative addresses this point but then veers off into wild theories and extrajudicial assumptions.

    The Mother Jones article hints broadly that there is an emotional agenda just below the surface of this movement which has nothing whatsoever to do with the Constitution, egalitarianism or the rule of law.  The unifying factor among their membership seems to be paranoia and fear.  These are not good perspectives from which to develop a wholesome or enlightened world view.

    It seems to me we have more to fear from the validation these movements provide to the latent psychosis of individuals within them than anything else.  It still seems to me that xenophobia and, to a lesser degree, racism are also very much in play.  I could easily see a latter-day Lee Harvey Oswald revelling in the sense of adventure and conspiracy these groups provide, sort of a reality-TV version of ‘Jericho.’

    Why is it the people least well adjusted to actual reality are usually the ones most vocal about the impending Apocalypse?

  3. creamer

    And I see no point in talking to you. How do you find common ground with those who’s parinoia borders on delusion.  

  4. Shaun Appleby

    “Those who betray or subvert the Constitution are guilty of sedition and/or treason, are domestic enemies and should and will be punished accordingly.”

    “It also stands to reason that anyone who sympathizes with the enemy or gives aid or comfort to said enemy is likewise guilty. I have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic and I will. And I will because not only did I swear to, but I believe in what it stands for in every bit of my heart, soul and being.”

    Timothy McVeigh – Timothy Mc Veigh Wikipedia

    In spite of specific disclaimers to the contrary I fail to see how these sentiments expressed by McVeigh don’t correspond exactly to the stated credos of the Oath Keepers.  The Oath Keeper leadership steers clear of the ‘punishment’ issue but otherwise it is clearly more of the same.  When they grow bolder they might as well claim him as a martyr and one of their own.

  5. creamer

    How many here have observed the Coffee Party?

    The “movement” if founded on the principle of supporting the government,promoting change by civil dialouge. Seems like a good idea right?

    Right now they seem to have an identity crisis, what policies do we want to represent? More than a few have suggested adopting Tea Party planks. When I suggest that the Tea Party needs to shed its racism, hatred and conspiracy nuts before you can engage them, there is an eery silence. Many seem unaware of the hatred and vitriol that comes from the Tea Party.

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