NEW YORK, NY – In an article published by The Atlantic, journalist Mike Giglio writes about various right-wing militia groups – such as the Oath Keepers – whose numbers are steadfast supporters of President Donald Trump and who have been readying themselves for a potential civil war in the event that Trump loses the election come November 3.
While this may, in the day and age, seem an unrealistic event, one need only look at the rampant and growing instances of political violence in our country over the past few years – with the FBI stating that’s it’s likely to get worse the closer to the election we get – and consider just how unrealistic an armed insurrection may actually be.
The Oath Keepers is an antigovernmental militia organization that describes itself as a non-partisan organization comprised of current and former military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath that all military and police take in order to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It encourages its members to not obey orders which they believe would violate the United States Constitution.
Members of the group have been involved in a number of high-profile incidents, from patrolling the streets of Ferguson, Missouri in 2014 during the protests after the grand jury decision was released in the shooting case of Michael Brown – despite police orders not to do so – to offering to protect schools nationwide in the aftermath of the 2018 Parkland High School Shooting.
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The Oath Keepers, according to The Atlantic article, and group founder Stewart Rhodes in particular, have been supporters of President Trump, and Rhodes has been speaking of the possibility of civil war in the country for years now; in some ways, he says, he feels we’re already there. Again, if you look at the division so readily apparent in our country – with both sides seemingly more than ready to resort to violence to get their respective views across – it’s possible that Rhodes has a point.
However, President Trump has been fanning the flames of discontent in regards to the potential outcome of the election, stating – just as he did in 2016, the year he won – that the election is “rigged” against him, and refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power should he lose to challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden. Roger Stone, Trump’s former adviser, has even suggested Trump declare martial law or invoke the Insurrection Act if he loses. Such talk on the part of Trump and his allies has riled his base, with Rhodes calling on his fellow Oath Takers to protect the country from the current “insurrection” taking place in the form of forces attempting to “undermine” Trump. What that truly means is anyone’s guess at this point.
Of course, this is all just talk. In reality, an actual civil war fought in the streets is highly unlikely; however, the horrific division in this country between almost every political ideology and walk of life – which in some ways is almost as bad – will likely only continue to deepen on all sides, no matter what the outcome of the 2020 presidential election may be. It remains to be seen if the winner in November – be it Trump or Biden – is able to steer our country away from the brink it finds itself.