The latest in 18th
century militia revolution rhetoric
by DICK DORWORTH
them are males between the ages of 17 and 40, though some are older.
armed and serious and are members of the same ethnic group. They hold the
same extreme religious ideas, and racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism,
xenophobia, homophobia and violence run through their conversation like
the drum beat in a rock and roll band. They are avowed enemies of the U.S.
government. They talk of revolution and they talk of sacrifice, but they
are not Islamic fundamentalists and it is not themselves they are ready to
sacrifice, but, rather, always, someone else.
They are of
a different order than Islamic fundamentalists, but they are just as
dangerous, just as violent, just as crazy, and much, much closer to home.
These are the American Militias, composed largely of white, extreme
right-wing Christian fundamentalists whose most successful disciple was
present in every state with a combined membership of somewhere between
10,000 and 40,000, though it is impossible to know. Their rhetoric is
repeated in circles far outside their organizations. I have heard their 18th
century revolutionary rhetoric espoused by people who consider themselves
responsible citizens, though they are not. They are people who have given
up on the concept of democratic process: election, petition, assembly and
constitutional amendment, and have the deluded conviction that the right
to bear arms is their only hope for freedom.
militiathink, bullets rather than ballots are the path to better
government. American Militias are small private armies preparing for war.
Their members consider themselves true patriots in the mold of Sam Adams,
George Washington, Patrick Henry and other soldier politicians and
thinkers of the 18th century. In the minds of 21st
century militia types, the very government that Washington, Adams, Henry
and others truly sacrificed to build and maintain has been cast in the
role of another 18th century figure, King George. In
militiathink, the U.S. government has been taken over by the "New
World Order," a secret group that controls the world through the
extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalists, exemplified by the likes of
Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and militia movements are linked,
overlapped and connected, they are not quite the same. The former have a
tenuous belief in the U.S. Constitution, the democratic process and U.S.
law. The latter do not, and because of this they are both more dangerous
and less powerful.
fundamentalistsí view of the U.S Constitution is best summarized by
Robertson, who said, "The Constitution of the United States Ö is a
marvelous document for self-government by Christian people. But the minute
you turn the document into the hands of non-Christians and atheistic
people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our
society." In other words, for the Christian fundamentalist, democracy
isnít for everyone.
recall George Orwell, some animals are more equal than others.
that does not include everyone is not a democracy, a concept that
apparently escapes people like Pat Robertson. Still, within a very
confined mindset, fundamentalists do recognize U.S. law, and they are not
in favor of poisoning the local water supply, blowing up federal
facilities full of people or of loosely organized groups of citizens armed
with hunting rifles attempting to overthrow local and federal governments.
groups are another matter. Their view of democracy was perhaps best voiced
by Idahoís dippy ex-congresswoman (she preferred to call herself a
congressman) Helen Chenoweth, who said, "We have democracy when the
government is afraid of the people." She also said, "Itís the
white Anglo-Saxon male thatís endangered." In these, as in most
other, things she was confused or, at least, not expressing her concerns
We have a
democracy when the government and the people are the same, and they do not
fear each other. White Anglo-Saxon males are far from an endangered
species. There are many millions of us on earth and more arriving every
day. It is the supremacy of white Anglo-Saxon males that is endangered in
America, and supremacy and democracy are antithetical.
both the issue and the driving force behind both the Christian right
extremists and the American Militia movement, despite the rhetoric about
God, principles, rights, the Constitution and King George in the 18th
can be heard the same refrains: the federal government has gone too far,
that same government is out of control, and that government is essentially
bad. One can listen to the virulent rants of Pat Buchanan and Pat
Robertson to hear the sound of religious right extremism, but the militia
voices are more muted. And they are, literally, more explosively
Robertson lost his bid to be U.S. President in 1998, the Christian
Coalition set about taking over the Republican Party and imposing their
concept of Christianity on the U.S. They have had more success in this
than the largely apathetic American electorate recognizes. John Ashcroft
is an example. Tom DeLay, who recently told a group that he is on a
mission from God to promote a "biblical world view," is another.
positions of power as they do are examples of this success, but so long as
America remains a democracy their success will not result in supremacy of
their ideas, values or members. The militias are not printing voter
manuals or rallying supporters to the ballot box, but, rather, preparing
small cells of armed men for acts of domestic violence. They use the
latest in 18th century militia revolution rhetoric to justify
their shallow thinking and readiness for violence. They are white and
non-Muslim, but they are terrorists nonetheless.