In order to take the moral high ground, you have to actually occupy that territory first...
Thursday, February 11, 2010
A Million Man March--Marque deux
A peaceful demonstration of at least a million — hey, if we can get 10 million, even better — but at least one million armed militia men marching on Washington. A peaceful demonstration. No shooting, no one gets hurt. Just a demonstration. The only difference from any typical demonstration is we will all be armed." --Thanks to David Weigel of the Washington Independent.
It's an interesting bit of theater, and the production values are entertaining--especially when you realize that the video samples President Obama's inauguration.
Particularly since the Tea Party phenomena pulled in, across the country, about 320,000 some odd folks. This estimate is generous if you take 538's numbers at face value. I am giving folks a few extra, simply for because there were events that were less well organized, and some who couldn't get permits filed.
Now then, the estimate in the post Ruby Ridge and Waco height of the militia movement put estimates in the 15,000 to 25,000 range, if you are likewise generous. There have been claims of millions--but that figure tends to include hits on websites as evidence of membership, as opposed to actual attendance and membership at events. And it's a figure that balances out the FBI's own very conservative 10,000, and the FBI tends to play numbers close to its chest, so I'll give the militia half again to two and a half times that estimate.
Let's not even count the legality issues with the permits necessary. Let's not count the money issues to organize an event on the scope that this extraordinarily hopeful voice-occluded gentleman would like to see. Let's not even count the infiltration factor that Neonazi groups would move in with to get hopped up young men and women in the capital. Let's not factor in the imposing task of filtering out the felons from an event like this, and the legality of weapons in DC itself.
Do folks like "Pale Horse" and others really think that they can get 1,000,000 people into Washington, armed and still under control, when a major news organization couldn't keep out the lunatic fringe from organized protests across the country and only a third of the hoped for draw?
There is a piece of me that almost hopes that folks do show up for this event. Simply to show in very real numbers the sad state of affairs that these sad militias have been reduced to. Membership has been down since the 90s--and while the Fear of a Black President has had some benefit to driving up gun sales--and I'm sure interest in the militia movement is up--given that the Missouri Information Analysis Center has upped their estimation of domestic terrorism candidates. Mind you, for the folks who are fired up about this report, it's important to note that Bush Administration commissioned the report for the Department of Homeland Security--and that the inclusion of Ron Paul is somewhat telling to the focus of the report. It is hardly a "Liberal" hit job, as much as a justification to crack down on rivals.
What stuns me is that folks seem to have forgotten that before 9/11, we had a fairly impressive piece of domestic terrorism with the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. And while folks wondered about the possibility of Islamic extremists, we soon discovered that the culprits were home grown. Fearful and disillusioned, Timothy McVeigh performed one of the largest domestic terrorism events in our history.
Perhaps that might be because 168 pales a bit in comparison to 2992. Perhaps it's merely wishful thinking that we haven't had a comparable event to Ruby Ridge or the Branch Davidian raid to fire imaginations and stoke fear. Perhaps it's merely hope that generalized Fear of a Black Hat will drive folks to them in droves, and that their leadership can control the racists who will be among them and not turn them into essentially tools of an even more radical and armed movement that will draw a much harder response than just fellas who like to run around in camo on privately own farmland.
What it does require though, is a willful and staggering revisionist view of not just history, but facts. I can appreciate wanting their movement to be larger. I can appreciate that there are civil liberty concerns--and oddly enough, the ACLU is disturbed by the MIAC report about as much as members of the GOP--but the entire lack of perspective on the issue, given the history, and the willingness to throw so many civil liberties under the bus in the pursuit of brown people with explosives, and suddenly we see balking when it's good old fashioned Americans. And post the Patriot Act. And post the defense of the suspension of habeus corpus and the creation of the legal fiction of "illegal enemy combatants".
NOW they're fired up? NOW folks are upset that our deficit spending has gone too far, now that we're including the cost of war in visible figures, and in a budget that is only a quarter larger than the last one submitted by the Bush Administration--and that's the one that didn't include a lot of spending in easy to see indexes.
I think that this is going to be worth keeping track of. Not for the sheer amount of flailing that it will entail on the part of these organizations, or the justifications that will have to be spun to call it persecution when folks point out that DC's guns laws will preclude the event, and that perhaps the membership rolls might be cooked. But worth watching to see how they manage to justify their outrage only now, when they cheered so many policies that were far worse.
Hubie was born on the lovely island of Okinawa, moved from there to San Francisco, and then onto Missouri, Texas, Maine, South Carolina, Georgia, Lousiana, Germany, back to Texas, back to Maine, and then onto the Happy Valley of Massachusetts. He considers himself Kraut/Mick/Nip, and is glad to be a bit of a redneck in Yankeeland. Then he moved to another Happy Valley, but damn this is one is a lot more parched... He cooks when he's not Farking, or writing, or Farking, when he's supposed to be writing. He rarely bounces anymore, as he's discovered that excitement and interesting are over rated. He drinks his liquor straight; prefers the company of women to girls, men to boys; and considers himself to be fairly Conservative in the sense that he likes to Constitution as it stands, and is constantly amazed that folks who like the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th sometimes seem to forget the 2nd, and visa versa. He spent some time as a Young Republican, but then got better. He now votes for whoever he damn well feels like.