The Muddled Nationalism Of The Armed Militia In Oregon
Over the last couple days, the people of the United States have struggled with a test of cultural self knowledge: Who are we as a people?
This struggle has come as the result of an usurpation. In eastern Oregon, a group of violent right wing militants have launched an armed occupation of federal property, a series of small buildings at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The militants have claimed that their occupation is being done in the name of “The People”, that the occupation of the bird sanctuary’s headquarters is “giving the land back to The People”.
Is it true? Do The People of the United States of America really want to achieve liberation by having a bunch of guys with guns to occupy a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon?
We The People Of The Constitution
Who The People are, and how we decide as a society what The People want, is actually quite firmly defined, in a specific document, called the Constitution of the United States of America. The militants wave the Constitution around quite a bit, and lecture people to “Go to the Constitution and study it,” but the militants never identify exactly which parts of the Constitution that they claim to be defending, or how their own actions have any accord with what the Constitution says about how freedom is supposed to be expressed and defended.
The Constitution is very clear about the process for the will of The People to be expressed. Nowhere in the Constitution does it indicate that the will of The People should be imposed by small groups of people carrying guns seizing the property of the federal government.
What the Constitution says instead is that the will of The People is to be expressed through the election of public officials in the national legislature and the federal Executive Branch.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America…
… All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States…
… The Congress shall have Power… to provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress…
… The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America…
… The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States…”
The mob with rifles currently occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge isn’t defending the Constitution. It’s trying to overthrow the Constitution.
The Constitution establishes the elected Congress and President as the representatives of the will of The People. There is no part of the Constitution that provides citizens with the power to set up their own little private militias to go out and enforce their own laws as they see fit. Militias are supposed to be regulated by Congress and controlled by the President of the United States.
The President has not authorized the militia that has run amok in Eastern Oregon. Congress has not endorsed the private armed gang that is currently occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. In fact, Congress has established the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as an act of the will of The People.
The people who broke in to the federal buildings at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are acting in defiance of the will of The People. They are criminals, trying to overthrow American democracy in much the same way that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party did in their own Beer Hall Putsch, only with even less intelligence and skill.
The Malheur gang doesn’t enjoy the support of the local population in eastern Oregon. They’ve claimed ownership of the wildlife refuge, trying to steal it from the American people, in order to give it over to the people of eastern Oregon, but the people of eastern Oregon have said repeatedly that they don’t want it, and just wish that the Malheur militia would go away.
“Militia go home,” read an increasing number of signs put up by residents of the communities near the Malheur refuge. “Our citizens are questioning why there’s an outside group like this, coming in and trying to put their values on top of ones that in many cases don’t line up with local values,” says the county judge who presides over the area.
The Malheur criminal gang certainly doesn’t represent The People of the nation as a whole. The illegal occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has been met largely with anger and mockery, as the band of gun-toting bullies has earned the nicknames such as YallQuaeda, Vanilla ISIS, Yeehawdists, Yokelharam, and TaliBundy. This gang of violent criminals holed up in eastern Oregon has come to be regarded as the American equivalent of the Taliban, homegrown terrorists who have the dim wit to believe that their assault against democracy is somehow patriotic.
Raising The Flag Of Gun Worship
The nationalism of the bird sanctuary gang is an incoherent thing. They have just enough sense to know that patriots are supposed to wave flags, but they can’t seem to make their minds up about exactly which flags to fly.
There are a few U.S. flags flown by these extremist militants, but they seem more prone to fly other flags they’ve flown themselves, of all different colors, yellow, orange, black, green. Some of their flags feature the shape of military rifles. What kind of nation do they think we should live in, that its national symbol would be a tool designed for killing human beings?
The Malheur gang members seem not to be able to get their scripts straight. They borrow cliches, visual and linguistic, but patch them together without understanding what they actually mean.
One infamous image from these self-appointed soldiers shows the patches of a black and white U.S. flag, over a black and white skull and crossbones, a pirate symbol with the motto that’s supposed to go with a hissing snake, “Don’t tread on me,” but is instead mashed up with the words, “Liberty or death,” the old New England revolutionary slogan twisted into into a deadly threat against the nation that revolution created. “In God we trust” comes next, of course, but right after that, “We The People”. Well, which is it? God or The People? If you trust in your God, why are you carrying around a rifle? All this is placed on top of green camouflage, worn in a stark white, snow-covered landscape, so that the gang member is hiding in plain sight, cruelly clueless.
These terrorist thugs who have stolen The People’s land are so incompetent that they begin to seem like nothing more than clowns. They claim to have planned a great revolution against American democracy, with supplies enough to hole themselves up in the bird sanctuary’s gift shop for years. They claimed to be rough and tough experts with rifles who could live off the land, but on the third day of their little rebellion, the Malheur gang members sent out desperate tweets, begging for their supporters to send them snacks. They’re in a wildlife refuge, for goodness sakes, full of huntable wildlife, but they can’t take care of themselves, and want these snacks mailed to them by their wives and mothers, requesting care packages mailed by the U.S. federal government’s postal service.
Oh, the Malheur mob are certainly laughable. They are clowns, all right, but they’re clowns with guns.
They’re prone to violence and murderous threats
One of the gang members in Oregon, Jon Ritzheim, has sent a video to his family making it clear that he doesn’t expect to leave the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge alive. He’s got a long history of making deadly threats. At a recent protest against Muslim immigrants, Ritzheim declared, “Semper Fi to all my brothers. Be ready for vengeance and be ready to drink beer from the skulls of our enemy.” Ritzheim now calls for people to join the Malheur militants, to “die out here with us, as a free man… 100 percent willing to lay my life down in order to fight tyranny.”.
Malheur gang member Blaine Cooper writes, “We need to restore our constitutional republic, I am willing to do whatever it takes to do that, if you are not for that or armed revolution if necessary we have nothing more to talk about.”
The Malheur militia has promised to shoot to kill if law enforcement authorities in Oregon attempt to actually enforce the law and try to arrest them. They’re not protesters. They’re a violent insurrection.
When Occupy Wall Street protesters performed their antics, they did so without any weapons. They endured police beatings, and pepper spray, and tear gas, and mass arrest. They didn’t shoot anyone.
The Malheur gang is not in the same class as Occupy Wall Street.
Ammon Bundy has declared his own little Kingdom of Malheur, and threatens violence against anyone who tries to depose him. “We are armed and, of course, as any individual would, I guess, or most individuals would, we are willing to defend ourselves,” he says.
Reasonable people defend themselves in a court of law. These are not reasonable people.
The local school district nearby the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge has been closed down, due to the threat of violence. The militants hold up in the refuge include Ryan Payne, who claims to have organized snipers trained to kill agents of the U.S. government. These are not nice people.
They’re right wing communists
The ideological incoherence of the mob at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is revealed in their embrace of communist tactics in the name of right wing hatred of government. Ammon Bundy wants to turn the refuge into a commune, where men with guns can “from all over the country to come and be housed here, and live here.”
They want to seize lands that are already owned by The People, and then turn those lands over to The People, to be used in accordance with communal groups who agree to share the property as one, setting terms by which the collective property will… oh heck, just bring in Fidel Castro to run the operation, why don’t you?
They’re trying to push an extremist right wing agenda that’s out of touch with reality
Ammon Bundy and his gang of armed terrorists claim to be occupying a bird sanctuary in order to liberate Dwight and Steven Hammond, ranchers who were convicted by a jury of their peers of breaking federal law by conducting illegal hunting raids, and then committing arson to cover up their crimes. The odd thing is that the Hammonds say that they don’t agree with the militants occupying the wildlife refuge, and don’t want their help.
This isn’t about land. It’s about a radical right wing ideology that seeks the violent overthrow of the U.S. government and the ethnic and religious cleansing of the United States.
Malheur mobster Blaine Cooper babbles on about the federal government burning cows alive, a secret plan by Vladimir Putin to destroy the Internet, a plot to impose a “Muslim colonization” of the United States, and a NWO conspiracy involving John McCain and the Rothschilds. He’s traveled to an Arizona rally to support Donald Trump, and not content with Trump’s angry rhetoric, found Muslims to confront while there.
One of the people who organized a decoy protest that enabled the Malheur occupation to take place, Brandon Curtiss, has been active with Idaho groups associated with white nationalist zealotry. At a recent rally in Idaho against Muslim refugees, Curtiss declared of refugees that, “We are tired of them taking the dwindling resources we already have for the state of Idaho, and funneling that over to refugee programs to help these guys coming in here, and ignoring our Idaho citizens.”
In fact, in all of the state of Idaho, only 35 refugees from Syria have been settled over the last half year. 20 of those 35 refugees are children. 35 refugees can’t possibly suck up all the resources from the Idaho state government – especially when many of the services provided to the refugees come from federal and non-profit sources. These refugees are actually a potential source of economic benefit for the state of Idaho.
Never mind reality. Ammon Bundy and his followers believe in a Christian prophecy that envisions their rifle-swinging swagger as a messianic mission directed by the divine creator of the universe himself. Bundy believes that he has been compelled by Heaven itself to conduct a violent takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, with the threat of divine punishment against him if he did not follow the command of God. “I began to understand how the Lord felt about Harney County and about this country. And I clearly understood that the Lord was not pleased with what was happening to the Hammonds…. If we allowed the Hammonds to continue to be punished, there would be accountability,” Bundy preaches.
The Malheur mob isn’t a band of peace-loving people who only took the law into their own hands when they had no other choice. They’re unhinged political extremists who travel around the country looking for a fight.