Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, The Founder And Leader Of The Oath Keepers, And 11 Other Defendants Were Arrested Yesterday And Charged With Seditious Conspiracy. They Are Accused Of Planning The Attack At The Capitol on Jan. 6th to stop The Peaceful Transfer Of Power To The Newly Elected President, Joe Biden. Rhodes Founded The Oathkeepers In 2009. The Groups Bylaws Denounce Discrimination, However, They Are Aligned With MAGA Politics And Trump’s Violent Rhetoric And Discriminatory Policies. They Believe Sherrifs Should Enforce The Constitution, Not The Government.

U.S. government agencies have labeled the Oath Keepers an extremist, para-military militia group that believes in conspiracy theories that justify seeking anti-government altercations. Two thirds of the group’s members are made up of former and current members of the military and law enforcement. Rhodes, although Yale educated in the law, appears to suffer from psychological issues. He is violent, holds paranoid, unfounded thoughts about people he believes are trying to destroy democracy, and had an extreme obsession with defending Donald Trump after he lost the presidency. His plan to steal the election and have Trump illegally reinstated as president was driven by his belief in Trump’s legally failed “stop the steal” false narrative. The ” Big Lie” inspired Rhodes to stage an attack on our democracy that he and the Oath Keepers proclaim to love and protect. Ordinary people can manage disappointment and anger without violence and breaking the law. The para-military group mentality is an example of toxic masculinity and is dominated by a white identity superiority complex.

Ironically, the military, law enforcement, and militia groups support Donald Trump. He disparaged late Senator John McCain by mocking his time as a prisoner of war during the Viet Nam War with the disgusting, unpatriotic comment, ” I like people that weren’t captured.” This attitude from a guy who was partying on his trust fund at Studio 54 disco in the 1970s and dodging military service with a phony bone spur excuse. Additionally, he has disparaged military leadership by expressing the delusional declaration, ” I know more about war than the generals do.” More disrespect was shown to the military when he politicized the military and tricked General Milley into marching with him in military regalia for a photo op during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Washington DC.

During his presidency, Trump repeatedly tried to use the military to attack people peacefully protesting at Black Lives Matter marches. Additionally, he has not come to the defense of Capitol police officers, some who lost their lives and others who were physically injured and suffered acute and lasting trauma from the violent Capitol attack. He has not denounced Republicans who have mocked these officers. However, he is campaigning to make a martyr out of seditionist Ashley Babbitt.

On Sept 21, 2020, this blog acknowledged multiple media reports that while “on a trip to Paris, France to honor American soldiers buried at Aisne-Marne Cemetery, Trump referred to the buried soldiers there as  “losers.” His Love Of Military Parades, Increased Military Budgets, And Photo Ops Hugging The Flag Are Strategies Trump Has Used To Hide His Disrespect For People Who Volunteer For Military Service And For Soldiers Who Get Killed Or Captured.”

Do Trump voters ever question why militia anti-government groups and white supremacist organizations support and revere Donald Trump? These groups pretend to be patriotic defenders of the Constitution. However, it is their warped interpretation of the document they are defending. Attempting to overtake a democratic election that over 65 federal judges (many appointed by Trump) found no significant fraud occurred is anti-patriotic. The Proud Boys, The One Percenters, and The Oath Keepers used Trump’s “stop the steal” scheme to justify their attack on the Capitol which aimed stop Vice President Mike Pence from certifying Biden’s win. They have continued to use the ” big lie” to justify their aggressive rhetoric and actions against Democrats, Republicans, and Independents serving on election boards across the country and opponents occupying public office.

The charges brought against Rhodes and the 11 other defendants could result in 20 year convictions. The plot for the Capitol attack was highly organized and laden with violent operational strategies coordinated both at the Capitol and just outside the perimeter. “According to the indictment, the QRF teams were prepared to rapidly transport firearms and other weapons into Washington, D.C., in support of operations aimed at using force to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power.” ( Department of Justice, Jan. 13, 2021). Eyewitnesses at the White House on Jan. 6th report Trump watched the violent insurrection on TV for 187 minutes and did nothing to stop it.

The Jan. 6th Committee analyzes evidence to determine if any coordination, funding, or planning of the insurrection occurred between Trump, any members of Congress, or past members of his administration. It took the Department of Justice one year to finally charge sedition to a critical figure in the violent attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Evidence of Rhodes’s crimes has been made available to the public. Despite the refusals to testify by Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, Steve Bannon, and others, the committee seems to have much of the proof they need to make criminal referrals to the DOJ. Let’s hope those who act for the greater good possess the same level of passion for fighting for their principles as does the Rhodes and the Oath Keepers. After all, Trump’s call for the Proud Boys to ” stand back and stand by” continues the threat of a future insurrection.

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