The Oath Keepers Are Coming! Hide Your Book Learning!

Self-styled heroes of American patriotism have descended on Lincoln, Montana, hoping that appearing in full camo outfits and wandering around with weapons will help resolve a dispute over a federal mining claim, reports the Independent Record.

The merits of the claim by the miners is irrelevant, because in a civilized society, those disputes are settled by courts and negotiation, not wannabe Rambos cosplaying as hereoes of the Revolution. Only in the paranoid fantasies and grandiose self-delusion of the chemtrail-fearing, Jade Helm-resisting, tinfoil-donning militia crowd does appearing at a mine dispute to “defend liberty” improve a situation or defuse what could be a tense situation, but here they are, no doubt with a Fox News team on its way to stoke the flames.

Where I take issue with the IR’s coverage is their failure to actually research these “Patriot” groups. Instead, the piece is largely written from their point of view, including passages like:

“We aren’t a ‘militia,’” he said. “We are a nonpartisan group of veterans, whether they be in armed services, law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs or concerned American Patriots. We have banded together to make sure that people like George and Phil … are not run over by our government agencies that believe they have the right to do that.” The Oath Keepers and III%ers heavily vet their membership, Santoro said.

A review of reporting in from the IR’s own newspaper chain reveals a different story. As Ed Kemmick reported in the Billings Gazette back in 2010:

The Montana Human Rights Network and the Southern Poverty Law Center have issued reports on the Oath Keepers, calling them right-wing extremists and drawing parallels between their beliefs and those of the militia movement in the 1990s.

In their excellent report, the Montana Human Rights Network described the Oath Keepers:

Since its founding in 2009, anti-government “patriots” have flocked to Oath Keepers. The group wants law enforcement officers and military personnel to sign onto their oath, which encapsulates many of the ideas promoted by the “patriot” movement?s one-world government conspiracy theories.

And the SLPC’s extensive reporting on the group reveals its roots in conspiracy theories ranging from colloidal silver to Agenda 21. Here is Montana, the Oath Keepers are hoping to make the state a refuge for like-minded patriots who will“adopt a barter economy to escape the bondage of U.S. currency,” though it’s hard to say what the barter value of delusions of grandeur and paranoid fantasies really is.

The resurgence of these troops isn’t happening in a vaccuum. When they are treated with kid gloves by law enforcement, unlike “radical”protestors, when the media give them a free pass and downplay their connection to dangerous nationalism, and when sitting members of Congress meet with their leaders, it’s easy to see how they might really believe they are the “tip of the spear” leading a revolution, not the dull edge of a discredited, hate-filled movement.

It’s easy to mock these clowns, because their grasp of history, logic, government, and human decency is so limited, but mockery obscures the fact that they are dangerous, in their ham-fisted, clumsy way. One would hope that Montanan politicians, especially those who give these patriots credence, will condemn their actions, and that the press, charged with informing us, will give them the scrutiny they deserve.

Update: My apologies. I missed the obvious. It’s a conspiracy, involving the USFS, federal government, and probably the Ukrainian government.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • GAME ON! I just luv fat old inbred reetards comin’ to Montany! Please, let’s get the party started! But really, on a more serious note, WHO TOL’ YA?! Me, that’s who! I tried to warn folks that the inbreds were gonna show up here real soon. And well, here they are! I can’t wait!

    LK, Enviromental Rangers!

    • p.s. Never served craigy mooron and hero groupie Davey skinflute prolly in VITED these inbreds to Montana! bwahahahahaha! Too funny. Couple’a never servred nutless wonders want’a steal MY public land without a fight! Too stoopid for words! How ’bout it, skinflute, mooron? You’re inbred reetarts ready??? Jus’ wonderin’!

    • Spot o LK, and we’re the veterans to prove it, and they are a bunch of ‘nutless wonders’ and remember the Marbut Militia bills that were AGAIN brought to the legislature, and NOBODY supported it and it was an embarrassment and the plan had no command structure, leadership training, discipline and resource management, AND they’d be at the whim of the sheriffs over the ‘gov’….

    • So…..are the Environmental Rangers going to rumble with the Oath Keepers over this disputed mining claim?

      That would be interesting to watch. Pass the popcorn, please.

      • They’re laffable, Drunk dude! An ex-military maggot lifer and some fat broad from Oregun. Jeebus. These dudes are a comedy show! And really, Cliven Kornuts in VITED these inbreds up here? Too funny. Why? This will NOT be another Bunghoville, Nevada. And Santurdo, the great “patriot”, who SUCKED offn’ Unca Sugartit’s member his entire life, is NOW a great gummint hater! I luv it. ANY one who has ever served time in the military knows just exactly what this lifer maggot is! A pathetic excuse for a human being who couldn’t make in on the outside! And suckin’ offn’ Unca Sugartit’s member your whole life qualifies you for one thing and one thing only. A GIANT SUCKING SOUND! Do you hear it, Lincoln? That giant sucking sound? Well, that’d be lifer maggot fly Santurdo!

        Me thinks I see Slinky the Barking Seal behind all this too!

        • Oathkeeper clowns wandering streets of Ferguson, MO to ‘help’ the police, really? Cops should invite the new ‘Black Panthers’!

    • Ah, Big Weed, you’re just jealous that you didn’t make the list! Work on your cray, cray, dude. But really, just how many way can one say that you LUVS Jeezus so much that you’re willing to kill somebody for Him?? I THEENK that pretty much all the various scenarios have already been taken! My advice? PRAY, Weed. PRAY! To Jeezus to inspire you to new hatreds so that you might make their list! Hey, seek and ye shall find! It’s in the holy buybull! Jeezus would approve!……..and them little fetal tissues will someday thank you up yonder…….bwaahahha!

  • I took a look at their website. In principle I agree with them, in practice…not interested. They seem to be simply taking their oath of service seriously. I see groups like this as a social good similar to labor unions. They help to prevent tyranny.

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