Oklahoma State Senator and Republican candidate for Governor, Randy Brogden, says he believes a volunteer citizens’ militia is authorized under the Second Amendment. The idea is the brainchild of the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance, an umbrella group of Tea Party factions. Brogden has actively reached out to Tea Party supporters in his electoral bid.
Joined by conservative Oklahoma legislators, Tea Party leaders have called for a volunteer State Militia “to defend against…improper federal infringements on state sovereignty” according to the Dallas Morning News. Tea Party leader Al Gerhart admitted the idea was frightening. “Is it scary? It sure is” he is quoted as saying, adding, “…when do states stop rolling over for the federal government?”
Gubernatorial candidate Brogden contended that the very purpose of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms was to allow citizens to “protect themselves from an overreaching federal government.” He did not elaborate on how an armed military force operated by the State of Oklahoma would be of assistance in blocking federal mandates. State lawmakers believe legislation to authorize a State Militia that would be privately recruited, armed and trained, could be introduced next year.
Wait a minute. As cool as some might think this sounds, isn’t Oklahoma still part of the United States? Sure, neighboring Governor Rick Perry has cozied up the secessionist movement. But a State Army? Have they forgotten militia advocate Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Federal Building, or all the federal military installations in Oklahoma? And aren’t states, notably including Oklahoma, bellyaching about state budget shortfalls? Perhaps in the near future they will explain the funding scheme for building an army to defend themselves from the country to which they belong.
As expected, proponents of the idea have made a point of trying to distance themselves from private anti-government militias. Said one Tea Party leader, “It’s not a far-right crazy plan or anything like that.” Really? I mean, really!
Honestly, the proposal doesn’t have much chance of becoming law in Oklahoma as things now stand. Most mainstream Republican leaders in Oklahoma are somewhere between skeptical and outright critical. It is the fact that it is being seriously discussed at all by “responsible” political leaders like state senators and gubernatorial candidates that is troublesome. Those who defend the Tea Party movement as not being right wing, but just ordinary citizens who want smaller government and controlled spending, should take note of what is happening in Oklahoma at the urging of the movement’s leaders. Hard as it may be for some of us to fathom, these folks are sincerely advocating taking up arms and forming armies as a means of confronting the government of the United States… and doing it from a podium of political respectability.
UPDATE: Brogden is now backing off his earlier statement that the purpose of a state militia is for citizens to “protect themselves from an overreaching federal government.” His new rationale is that “a militia would instead be used as an auxiliary state force during emergencies because the Oklahoma National Guard falls under federal control.” No explanation was offered as to why that would require a gun toting state army as opposed to, say, an emergency response agency working with local and state law enforcement.
[Author’s Note: the image is of the Memorial to the innocent dead of the Oklahoma City bombing.]
Cross posted at Elijah’s Sweete Spot where COMMENTS/DISCUSSION are Disqus™ enabled.
Contributor, aka tidbits. Attorney in complex litigation, death penalty defense and constitutional law. Former Nat’l Board Chair: Alzheimer’s Association. Served on multiple political campaigns, including two for U.S. Senator Mark O. Hatfield (R-OR). Contributing author to three legal books and multiple legal publications.