In the brief age of Obama, we have had “truthers,” “birthers,” Tea Party activists and town-hall dissenters.
Comes now, the “Oath Keepers.” And who might they be?
Writes Alan Maimon in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Oath Keepers, depending on where one stands, are “either strident defenders of liberty or dangerous peddlers of paranoia.”
Formed in March, they are ex-military and police who repledge themselves to defend the Constitution, even if it means disobeying orders. If the U.S. government ordered law enforcement agencies to violate Second Amendment rights by disarming the people, Oath Keepers will not obey.
“The whole point of Oath Keepers is to stop a dictatorship from ever happening here,” says founding father Stewart Rhodes, an ex-Army paratrooper and Yale-trained lawyer. “My focus is on the guys with the guns, because they can’t do it without them.
“We say if the American people decide it’s time for a revolution, we’ll fight with you.”
Prediction: Brother Rhodes is headed for cable stardom.
And if the Pelosi-Reid progressives went postal over town-hall protesters, calling them “un-American,” “Nazis” and “evil-mongers,” one can imagine what they will do with the Oath Keepers.
As with Jimmy Carter’s long-range psychoanalysis of Joe Wilson, the reflexive reaction of the mainstream media will likely be that these are militia types, driven to irrationality because America has a black president.
Yet, the establishment’s reaction seems more problematic for the republic than anything the Oath Keepers are up to. For our political and media elite seem to have lost touch with the nation and to be wedded to a vision of America divorced from reality.
Progressives are the folks who, in the 1960s, could easily understand that urban riots that took scores of lives and destroyed billions in property were an inevitable reaction to racism, poverty and despair. They could empathize with the rage of campus radicals who burned down the ROTC building and bombed the Pentagon.
The “dirty, immoral war in Vietnam” explains why the “finest generation we have ever produced” is behaving like this, they said. We must deal with the “root causes” of social disorder.
Yet, they cannot comprehend what would motivate Middle America to distrust its government, for it surely does, as Ron Brownstein reports in the National Journal:
“Whites are not only more anxious, but also more alienated. Big majorities of whites say the past year’s turmoil has diminished their confidence in government, corporations and the financial industry … Asked which institution they trust most to make economic decisions in their interest, a plurality of whites older than 30 pick ‘none’ — a grim statement.”
Is all this due to Obama’s race?
Even Obama laughs at that. As he told David Letterman, I was already black by the time I was elected. And he not only got a higher share of the white vote than Kerry or Gore, a third of white voters, who said in August 2008 that race was an important consideration in voting, said they were going to vote for Obama.
With black voters going 24 to 1 for Obama, he almost surely won more votes than he lost because of his race.
Moreover, the alienation and radicalization of white America began long before Obama arrived. He acknowledged as much when he explained Middle Pennsylvanians to puzzled progressives in that closed-door meeting in San Francisco.
Referring to the white working-class voters in the industrial towns decimated by job losses, Obama said: “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Yet, we had seen these folks before. They were Perotistas in 1992, opposed NAFTA in 1993, and blocked the Bush-Kennedy McCain amnesty in 2007.
In their lifetimes, they have seen their Christian faith purged from schools their taxes paid for, and mocked in movies and on TV. They have seen their factories shuttered in the thousands and their jobs outsourced in the millions to Mexico and China. They have seen trillions of tax dollars go for Great Society programs, but have seen no Great Society, only rising crime, illegitimacy, drug use and dropout rates.
They watch on cable TV as illegal aliens walk into their country, are rewarded with free educations and health care, and take jobs at lower pay than American families can live on — then carry Mexican flags in American cities and demand U.S. citizenship.
They see Wall Street banks bailed out as they sweat their next paycheck, then read that bank profits are soaring, and the big bonuses for the brilliant bankers are back. Neither they nor their kids ever benefited from affirmative action, unlike Barack and Michelle Obama.
They see a government in Washington that cannot balance its books, win our wars or protect our borders. The government shovels out trillions to Fortune 500 corporations and banks to rescue the country from a crisis created by the government and Fortune 500 corporations and banks.
America was once their country. They sense they are losing it. And they are right.
Patrick J. Buchanan [send him mail] is co-founder and editor of The American Conservative. He is also the author of seven books, including Where the Right Went Wrong, and A Republic Not An Empire. His latest book is Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. See his website.