Oath Keepers presence in Ferguson shows true metal of America
For many, like me, when I first heard about this group calling itself the Oath Keepers prowling around Ferguson, Missouri my first thought was a group of troublemakers looking for a reason to feel relevant but then later, it occurred to me why they were really there and what it meant to all of us as Americans. Though their ideas, beliefs and concepts may appear foreign to many of us as I am sure ours appear to them, there is one huge fact that we often overlook.
According to the article titled “Oath Keepers Turn Up at Michael Brown Protests in Ferguson, Missouri” written by Cassandra Vinograd. She reports “The Oath Keepers organization says its members — all former military, police and first responders — pledge to "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." However, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar described their presence as "both unnecessary and inflammatory." Protesters and police confirmed that a handful of Oath Keepers with what appeared to be assault rifles; bulletproof vest and camouflage gear were seen early Tuesday on the streets of Ferguson, which was under a state of emergency following demonstrations pegged to the anniversary of Michael Brown's death. "I'm happy that we're able to defend ourselves," one Oath Keeper replied in footage from NBC station KSDK. "It's been our right for a long time." The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Oath Keepers as a "fiercely anti-government, militaristic group." The organization — which claims to have more than 30,000 members — was founded in 2004 by former U.S. Army paratrooper and Yale Law School graduate Stewart Rhodes. Rhodes has referred to Hillary Clinton as "Hitlery" and earlier this year said that Sen. John McCain should be tried for treason and "hung by the neck until dead" for going "along with the program of the destruction of this country." "Go armed, at all times, as free men and women, and be ready to do sudden battle, anywhere, anytime, and with utter recklessness," he wrote on the organization's website. "That IS the price of freedom."
Now don’t get it twisted, the Oath Keepers and any other group has the same exact rights to gather as the protesters. It was a right afforded to them by those like me who served and is currently serve. Their voices are no less important than the voices the majority or those reporting on events wish to hear. They are just as American as anyone else born or naturalized in this country and the rights that one enjoy must be shared so all can enjoy. Regardless of how they think and what they think is best for this nation, I will always preach that respecting another person’s truth whether you agree or disagree is imperative if you want others to respect yours. This is the main support beam that this nation was constructed upon except it was not the main support beam placed there by any man. This beam was constructed and placed there by God so let’s not think that man was “the man”.
Next, I have a couple of questions for groups like the Oath Keepers as to what they truly mean when they say “protecting this country from all enemies foreign and domestic”. I would like to know just what country are they protecting. Are they protecting their country or mine? I ask this because it appears that they are protecting a country that says it is okay to fire upon fellow citizens who may not be able to open carry a weapon like they are. It appears that their country may be saying something like protecting those who look like them, think like them, lives like them, feels like them and those who are able to join a group like them. It differs from my country because my country says everyone is welcomed regardless of how you look, where you come from, what you look like, what you believe or what group, gang or organization you can join. Their country may be bound by millions of rules and regulations over how you do whatever you do while my country says that there is but one rule and regulation to be a part of it. The only rule and regulation is to “treat others as you would like to be treated”. Follow this one rule and you can live healthy, happy and peaceful in my country. My country is the United States of America, which country is yours and which would you rather be a part of?