« New Orleans Republican Beatdown: Thursday Update | Main | To the Full Extent of the Law »

Far-Right Oklahomans talk about organizing a new state militia

A few days ago, this item appeared on Yahoo! News, from the Associated Press - "Oklahoma tea parties and lawmakers envision militia". From the article:

OKLAHOMA CITY - Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.

Tea party movement leaders say they've discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers.

"Is it scary? It sure is," said tea party leader Al Gerhart of Oklahoma City, who heads an umbrella group of tea party factions called the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. "But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?"

Thus far, the discussions have been exploratory. Even the proponents say they don't know how an armed force would be organized nor how a state-based militia could block federal mandates. Critics also asserted that the force could inflame extremism, and that the National Guard already provides for the state's military needs.

Even though the story's authors should have said "some tea party leaders and conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature," the story still paints a relatively accurate picture of what is really going on, which is probably nothing more than a few poorly thought out lunch-at-Denny's conversations between a handful of extreme right political career activists and fringe right members of the Legislature. We have quite a bit of both here in Oklahoma.

Naturally this bit of news piqued my interest, since I have been lightly involved with the Tea Party effort here since its inception -- I have attended two Tea Party rallies at the state capitol, I am a member of the OKC Tea Party's FaceBook group and subscribe to their emails, I am a FaceBook friend of some of the group's leaders, and I have visited briefly with Alan Webb, who organized the first Tea Party rally in February 2009 on the steps of the state capitol.

Before I read the AP story, I had never heard of Al Gerhart or the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. A little Googling quickly told me why.

The Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance apparently held "Oklahoma's first ever indoor Tea Party at the Capitol" on February 1 of this year, immediately following Governor Brad Henry's annual State of the State address. According to a write-up by Andrew Griffin at OklahomaWatchDog.org, the OCA is a loose coalition of mostly extreme far right conspiracy enthusiasts, Christian fundamentalists, gun nuts, Ron Paulians, isolationists, and others including The Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, The Oklahoma Chapter of the John Birch Society, Reclaiming Oklahoma for Christ, Radio Free Oklahoma, and WeAreChangeOklahoma. The Oklahoma Watchdog report did not provide an estimate of how many people attended this rally, but OCA's Facebook page for that event lists a whopping 7 "confirmed guests" and 13 that "may be attending". By comparison, the April 15 2009 rally sponsored by the OKC Tea Party drew between 3000 and 5000 attendees. Yesterday's OKC Tea Party rally at the state capitol drew over 1000.

It's pretty easy to conclude, then, that Alan Gerhart's Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance is pretty far out of the mainstream with respect to the broad Tea Party movement here in Oklahoma. Of course that inconvenient fact hasn't stopped the liberal blogosphere from attempting to use this story as "proof" that all Tea Party supporters are pistol-packing birther loonies. News outlets republished the story with slightly altered headlines: "Oklahoma Tea Partiers Consider Creating Militia" (CBS News), "Oklahoma Tea Party Plans To Form Armed Militia" (Huffington Post). Charles Johnson gave the story obligatory coverage and declared that the proposed militia would be "heavily armed." Writing at the Huffington Post, Stephen Herrington envoked the word "brownshirts" after only three paragraphs.

Of course no one on the Left seemed to recall candidate Barack Obama's equally vague notion of a "civilian national security force":

"We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." (July 17, 2008)

I'm not exactly sure just what role a White House-led civilian national security force with nuclear weapons ("just as powerful") and a $500 billion budget ("just as well-funded") would play in tandem with our existing military, but such an outfit would certainly be much more fearsome than a tiny group of hard-right political activists whose fevered dreams probably don't even have a prayer of making it out of state legislative hearings. As Instapundit Glenn Reynolds noted, their ideas are simply "kind of silly."

On today's editorial page, the Daily Oklahoman gets it right:

Many pundits have portrayed all "tea partiers" as ultra-conservatives who hold extreme, anti-government views, when in truth many who have attended tea party rallies here and across the country are people of all political stripes who simply are concerned about the course federal policy has taken and wish to make that concern known.

Ginning up ideas about forming militias only serves to strengthen the stereotype. That's damaging to the tea party movement, not to mention that it casts Oklahoma in an unflattering light.

... A co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party acknowledges that the militia idea is "scary" for many, but says, "When do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?" His frustration is understandable. This idea is not. The Legislature, which would need to recognize such a volunteer force, needs to make sure it gains no traction.

Exactly.


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/38778.

Comments (30)

A conservative can not beli... (Below threshold)
Joe:

A conservative can not believe what one reads in the MSM press. They want to confuse, destroy and misrepresent what conservatives stand for.

Just think about what they have written on tea parties, Gov. Palin and globe warming.

Liberals are bad for our country and liberal (just about all) members of the press are even worse.

OMG! You mean Steve Green w... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

OMG! You mean Steve Green was RIGHT? That we're all paramilitary racist gun-nut John Birchers?

Your source for the story tells it all: AP. AP stopped doing honest political journalism years ago.

What a crock.

Candidate Obama's <a href="... (Below threshold)

Candidate Obama's call for the civilian defense force was not vague. He explained his vision with specific examples in that very speech.

[As] president I will expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots [from 75,000] and make that increased service a vehicle to meet national goals, like providing health care and education, saving our planet and restoring our standing in the world, so that citizens see their effort connected to a common purpose.

People of all ages, stations and skills will be asked to serve. Because when it comes to the challenges we face, the American people are not the problem - they are the answer. So we are going to send more college graduates to teach and mentor our young people. We'll call on Americans to join an energy corps, to conduct renewable energy and environmental clean-up projects in their neighborhoods all across the country.

We will enlist our veterans to find jobs and support for other vets, and to be there for our military families. And we're going to grow our Foreign Service, open consulates that have been shuttered and double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011 to renew our diplomacy. We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set.

We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded. We need to use technology to connect people to service. We'll expand USA Freedom Corps to create online networks where American can browse opportunities to volunteer. You'll be able to search by category, time commitment and skill sets. You'll be able to rate service opportunities, build service networks, and create your own service pages to track your hours and activities.

This will empower more Americans to craft their own service agenda and make their own change from the bottom up.

Maybe I'm just crazy, but a... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Maybe I'm just crazy, but a state militia does not sound that extreme to me. It sounds like the kind of thing that should not only be permitted but encouraged under the constitutional limited government envisioned by our founders. The federal government was never meant to have the omnipotent powers it has seized for itself. Count me in. Where do I sign up?

Obama's 'civilian defense f... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Obama's 'civilian defense force' sounds like a community organizers wet dream. Given THE ONE'S proclivity to say one thing and do another, you have to wonder about the name Civilian DEFENSE force. Personally I think Barry just wants a support group like Hugo Chavez has.

Most anywhere, Jeff. Your l... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Most anywhere, Jeff. Your local gun club, biker bar, Klan meeting, John Birch meeting, a lot of churches, tea parties, anti-abortion rallies, plus many local hate groups too numerous to mention.

Based on the news reports I've been reading, we're EVERYWHERE!

From today's Patriot Post:<... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

From today's Patriot Post:

On December 16th, 1773, "radicals" from Boston, members of a secret organization of American Patriots called the Sons of Liberty, boarded three East India Company ships and threw into Boston Harbor 342 chests of tea.

Yes it was a radical act. The Tea Party is named for radicals. Oppressive governments and their apologists will always see any resistance as radical. Stop apologizing for it and embrace it. If we are unable to pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor we will never be free -- much less if we start backpedaling every time a talking head opens its mouth.

State run media (msm) is Ob... (Below threshold)
914:

State run media (msm) is Obama's willing accomplice's.. They will continue to label any of us against Barry's radical unconstituitional siezing and destruction of America extremists.

They can label all they want, I really dont give a shit, there twisted view of kumbaya liberalism will not win the day.

I seem to recall that liber... (Below threshold)
kevino:

I seem to recall that liberals loved to talk about the sanctity of the 2nd Amendment when it came to state militias, and here is a state militia forming that is not part of the National Guard. OK. It's time to strike fear into their hearts by reminding them about the 2nd Amendment and form state militias in as many states as possible.

[Note to self: Where do I sign up?]

First step: members in the militia need to purchase the standard small arm of the militia. Should it be the M4A1, the H&K MP-5, or the H&K 91 -- fully automatic, of course? Each platoon will need to have an M-60 belt-fed machine gun. (I choose that over the SAW.) And the 2nd Amendment prohibits any restrictions on the right to keep and bear those weapons by the members of the militia.

Now, let's talk rocket launchers versus 40mm grenade launchers ...

While I seriously hope the ... (Below threshold)

While I seriously hope the need for militias is not yet arrived, it is certainly within the rights of the States and the people to form them, and shouldn't be considered scary in and of itself, though the reason one might be considered it definitely scary. However we're not to the point where the States have to take such a step. They could resist easily enough, right now, in many ways, and the Federal government couldn't do a thing about it. The problem is that the States are like crack addicts and the Feds are their pushers. They lust for the money from the Federal government, allowing them to buy votes without having to look like the bad guys who did the taxing. So it's not time for the States to start organizing militias, it's time for them to check into the Betty Ford clinic and take two Adam Smith pills.

It is my understanding the ... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

It is my understanding the purpose of a militia is to backup the regular military in time of crisis. I do not like the idea of setting up a militia whose purpose would be to commit treason against the government. What worry me most is that it could grow out of control. It is my understanding the militia that the Oklahoma Legislature is proposing would act under the authority of the governor or other state representatives. Some members of the militia might be more gungho and form splinter (terrorist) groups that would not be under the direction of the state.

Apparently you believe the ... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

Apparently you believe the militia members who died at Lexington and Concord in 1775 were extreme, far right, out of the mainstream gun nuts and religious lunatics. And here all along I thought they were heroes!

OMG! You mean S... (Below threshold)
OMG! You mean Steve Green was RIGHT? That we're all paramilitary racist gun-nut John Birchers?
I hope not. If that's true I'm in the hole for 30 years of back dues.
Surprisingly, I used to att... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Surprisingly, I used to attend John Birch Society meetings and buy books from their American Opinion bookstore as a teenager because of my interest in all things political. They were always a peaceful organization, not all that much different politically from many Reagan-era conservatives. However, some more radical and often armed groups such as the Minute Men can trace their history to some leadership figures in the Ku Klux Klan.

It is my unders... (Below threshold)
It is my understanding the purpose of a militia is to backup the regular military in time of crisis.
No, that's the National Guard -- and even at that, only if activated by the President. Governors can call out the National Guard or any other state-organized force to meet their own needs, and in fact until recent years most NG activation was to support civil emergency personnel in the event of major natural disasters.
I do not like the idea of setting up a militia whose purpose would be to commit treason against the government.
Treason would be if the state militia in question renounced the U.S. Constitution and tried to take their state out of the Union.

Resisting federal actions deemed unconstitutional can only be called treason if the Constitution's own definition of treason is ignored.

And if the feds did that, it would strengthen the state's case that it's the feds and not they who are committing treason.

However, some m... (Below threshold)
However, some more radical and often armed groups such as the Minute Men can trace their history to some leadership figures in the Ku Klux Klan.
I know of a number of Clinton-era militia groups who used the "minutemen" name before the border watch group took it up, so you may be conflating two unrelated sets of people.

And yet, the idea that those militia groups were white supremacist would have come as a huge surprise to a variety of African-American people I knew of who belonged to such groups.

McGehee, the organization k... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

McGehee, the organization known as the "Minutemen" of the Clinton-era were an anti-illegal immigration organization not at all related to the 1960's era Minute Men, who were organized by some former Ku Klux Klan members as a radical armed organization. The 60's era Minute Men were an all White organization of the far right, and even more militant than the Ku Klux Klan in many ways.

1960's era Minu... (Below threshold)
1960's era Minute Men
Ah. Back then I would've more likely heard of Weathermen than Minute Men.
And you wonder why there's ... (Below threshold)
Jake:

And you wonder why there's such misunderstanding about what's fringe and what's mainstream tea partyism.... seriously, have you read this comment thread?

What if a state legislature... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

What if a state legislature decides to recognize a militia to help defend against what they believe are improper civil rights violations by the federal government? States should not recognize any miltias that view the federal government as the enemy.

States should n... (Below threshold)
States should not recognize any miltias that view the federal government as the enemy.
Why not? If the state believes the federal government is violating civil rights, and the Supreme Court, being a part of that federal government, fails to rein in those abuses, what are the options?

If the federal government is violating the Constitution with impunity, it isn't a matter of perception, it's a matter of fact.

In any event, a militia tha... (Below threshold)

In any event, a militia that acts on behalf of a state is subject to the state's authority. This isn't about Oklahoma giving carte blanche to some wacko to start up a private militia and do what he wants with the state's blessing. The militia members must adhere to the discipline of the state's military department and be subject to the state's laws.

misunderstandin... (Below threshold)
misunderstanding about what's fringe and what's mainstream tea partyism
Unfortunately, willful ignorance about the history and founding principles of American federalism has indeed become mainstream, if you're an example.

Not everyone is willing to be frightened off from learning and thinking about such things by labels like "racist," "extremist" or what-have-you.

the organizatio... (Below threshold)
the organization known as the "Minutemen" of the Clinton-era
I missed this the first time through. Actually, the border-watch Minutemen formed, if I'm not mistaken, after Clinton left office -- largely to put pressure on the Bush Administration to back away from efforts to legalize illegal aliens.

The groups I was talking about came to public attention during the Clinton era partly because of concerns about gun-control legislation favored by his administration, and served as a convenient target of blame (along with conservative talk radio) after the Murrah Building bombing in 1995.

"The groups I was talkin... (Below threshold)
914:

"The groups I was talking about came to public attention during the Clinton era partly because of concerns about gun-control legislation favored by his administration,"

Yes and a perfect example of government overreach is Waco where a vile transgendered ape set into motion events that took the lives of 90+ Americans.

The 60's era Minut... (Below threshold)
JustRuss IT1 (SW) USNR:
The 60's era Minute Men were an all White organization of the far right, and even more militant than the Ku Klux Klan in many ways.

Right, the KKK which was formed as the militant arm of the DEMOCRAT PARTY. There was nothing racist about DePugh's Minutemen, though the left would hate them since they were militarily against communism.

I'm not defending the extreme right anti-communist group any more than the extreme left anti-negro group but I think the motivations are at least morally superior on the Minutemen's part.

"Maybe I'm just crazy, but ... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

"Maybe I'm just crazy, but a state militia does not sound that extreme to me".
The left wing nuts don't realize that every state has it's own military force. It's called the National Guard which is under control of the governor. In one instance the National Guard was full time active duty and had responsibility for protecting the Lower 48 and Sarah Palin commanded it while governor. The dumbest POTUS can call out the reserves (federal force) but the governor calls out the National Guard (mostly at the request of the Feds, but not always and not required. Most states reserve the right to form additional state militia's and some have volunteer ones. I thought about joining one when I retired from the military but became a 100% volunteer firefigher/EMT (not a penny in pay 15 years this month) instead.

In the state militia, the G... (Below threshold)
olsoljer:

In the state militia, the Governor is the CIC, and militias are not subject to call up by the POTUS.

Although the governor of a state is considered to be the CIC of his National Guard, any state's National Guard is subject to call up by the POTUS, regardless of that state's governors wishes. Theoretically, the POTUS could activate an individual state's National Guard to put down what it might consider an "insurrection" by that state's militia.

"Maybe I'm just crazy, b... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

"Maybe I'm just crazy, but a state militia does not sound that extreme to me".
The left wing nuts don't realize that every state has it's own military force. It's called the National Guard which is under control of the governor.

Then what you are saying is treason is not extreme. This would be the first time a state has recognized a militia that views the federal government as its enemy. If the militia was ever called up than it would be an act of treason as defined under the constitution.

The sooner state is showing... (Below threshold)
Flu-Bird:

The sooner state is showing OBAMA they wont be in his UN PEACE KEEPERS




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

tips@wizbangblog.com

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy