Are Oklahoma Elected Officials and Tea Party Groups Planning a Civil War?
April 13, 2010
(ChattahBox)—-On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address and with a single sentence, established the concept of a unified nation that would no longer be based on states’ rights. He defined the Civil War as “a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Yet, nearly 150-years later the old Confederacy rhetoric of nullification, secession and state sovereignty is making a return within right-wing militia groups, tea parties and even with far-right extremist lawmakers. The angry electorate have been whipped up by hate and fearmongering from Fox news’ pundits, Congressional lawmakers, such as Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and fear of our first black president, during a recession and a high unemployment rate. But the latest example of the so-called “tenther” movement is the most chilling. Oklahoma tea party groups are actually conspiring with Republican state lawmakers to create an armed state militia, for the sole purpose of preparing for armed resistance against the federal government’s encroachment of states’ rights
According to a report by the Associated Press, Oklahoma tea party leaders “frustrated by recent political setbacks,” have been in contact with right-wing Republicans in the Oklahoma legislature to create a new “volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.”
The Republican lawmakers involved, are State Sen. Randy Brogdon and State Rep. Charles Key. Brogdon is running for governor and he is seeking tea party support. Brogdon is known for his radical right-wing extremism and he supported a measure to allow Oklahoma to opt out of the healthcare reform law, because he views it as an unconstitutional infringement of states’ rights. During the debate on the measure, he made a racist remark, referring to President Obama’s race, by perpetuating black stereotypes. “Are we going to have to purchase fried chicken tomorrow for dinner?” Brogdon asked.
Brogdon defends the formation of a state militia to combat the overreach of the federal government:
The founding fathers “were not referring to a turkey shoot or a quail hunt. They really weren’t even talking about us having the ability to protect ourselves against each other,” Brogdon said. “The Second Amendment deals directly with the right of an individual to keep and bear arms to protect themselves from an overreaching federal government.”
The local tea party leaders pushing for a state militia, Al Gerhart founder of the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance and head of the Sooner Tea Party and J.W. Berry of the Tulsa-based OKforTea group, are just as blatant with their anti-federal government and anti-Obama rhetoric.
“Berry, the tea party leader who first solicited support for the militia, has posted rants against President Obama: the “Muslim President” — a “reincarnation of Pol Pot” who is trying to imprison Americans for resisting health reform. One ominous posting from Berry says that his militia should “launch a thousand guerrilla attacks on the plans that these people have to ruin us and our country.”
And Gerhart is just as extremist with his violent and incendiary anti-fed and anti-Obama rants. Referring to the plan to form an armed militia, he said “Is it scary? It sure is.” “But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?”
Gerhart’s Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance group is an umbrella organization for over a dozen local tea party groups and radical right-wing groups, such as the Oklahoma Chapter of the John Birch Society, Reclaiming Oklahoma For Christ and the Black Robed Regiment a group of patriot fundamentalist pastors, who believe in arming Christians in schools and churches.
And Gerhart’s postings on his Sooner Tea Party blog are peppered with violent infused anti-government statements, such as “Get ready fellow Oklahomans, the calvary is forming up, and we are it!” “Folks, we already have the power to stop Obama in his tracks. The Tenth Amendment is the key,” he wrote on November 8, 2009, under the name algerhart. And on the same date, Gerhart posted a plan to battle against the encroachment of the federal government, specifically the healthcare reform bill:
“We will also have Sheriff Mack speak to the legislators, to show them that it isn’t only the governor that can call out the state militia, that a posse is the state militia in another name. The end game is all of this is threefold, to stand up the sheriffs, the legislators, and the people to get ready to stop Obama Care and Cap and Trade at the Oklahoma border. This is legal, it is possible, and much of the ground work has been laid,” he wrote.
This merging of tea parties, right-wing state lawmakers, radical Christianity, militia groups, conspiracy theories and state sovereignty anti-federal government rhetoric is quite disturbing. And talk of this new state militia comes just days before the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, one of the most destructive acts of domestic terrorism on American soil, killing 168 innocent people and injuring 680.
The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building by Timothy McVeigh, an anti-government militia extremist, occurred during a resurgence of anti-government sentiment and a rise in militia patriot groups, very much like what’s happening in today’s toxic political climate.
A truly frightening development.