A Warning to Republicans: Speech of Oath Keepers Founder, Stewart Rhodes, to the Clark County Nevada Republican Party
NOTE: The Clark County [Nevada] Republican Party was “taken over,” last year by constitutionalists – a grass-roots coalition of Tea Party people, 912 people, Ron Paul Republicans, independents, and just plain patriotic Americans, many of them new to politics. They “took it over” from old guard party loyalists who had, in the past, supported unquestioningly oath- breaking politicians, and supported all manner of vile unconstitutional laws and actions by party leaders and office holders. Now it is in the hands of sincere grass-roots constitutionalists. So, when Stewart was invited to speak to the Clark County Republican Party at their last meeting, he did so not because he is a Republican, but because they are Americans.
As he said [previous speaker, Travis Barrick, candidate for Nevada Attorney General], it is going to take time.
The Marxists have done what they call a “long march” through the institutions. Ever hear that phrase? When they figured out they couldn’t have an instant revolution in America during World War I, then they proceeded on a long march. They have successfully marched through almost all of our institutions: academia, government, the law, you name it – media, they have infiltrated.
One of their goals was to capture one or both of the two major parties. They have been largely successful. They certainly have captured the Democratic Party. Now, it is an open question, in my mind, as to whether they have captured the Republican Party. For I have seen Republicans, over the last decade in particular, and long before that, who have acted more like Democrats or like socialists than like constitutionalists. That’s why we are here, right now.
If we are to pull our country back from the brink, right now, all of you must make a decision of what you are. Are you Republicans only? Or are you constitutionalists first?
How many here have sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic? When you swore that oath, what did it mean to you? Were you willing to give your life? Are you still willing to give your life? Does it ever expire? You are still bound by that Oath. When you vote for an oath-breaker, someone you know is not going to follow the Constitution, what does that make you?
It is enough of compromise, it is enough of being willing to sacrifice the Bill of Rights on the alter of expediency, on the alter of political correctness, or on the alter of safety. Liberty comes first.
When I served as a paratrooper, I swore to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I did not swear to simply obey the commands of anyone who happened to be in the White House or anyone who happened to be over me as an officer. I swore to defend the Constitution. My first duty is that. It says nothing in there about safety. Liberty is not safe. It is fool’s gold to seek safety first over liberty. What did Benjamin Franklin say it was? “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” That’s the bottom line.
So, why did I start Oath Keepers? I started this organization to buy you more time. As Travis said, ”it is going to take more time to reestablish this Republic.” This next election will hopefully be a good start, by kicking all the bums out, frankly. Any oath-breaker, I don’t care what party they are in.
To buy you some time, I decided to go and talk to – reach out to and talk to – my brothers who are still in service – police, military, firefighters -, all who swore that oath. Now why would I go talk to them? Because they still have honor! The
politicians don’t have honor, by and large. I have been to D.C. [and worked there], I went to law school, I have clerked for the Arizona Supreme Court, I have seen up close what they do.
It is like watching sausage being made, you don’t want to see that personally. But, what I saw is, by and large, the political class in this country and the legal class, the legal elites, all of them, willfully violating the Constitution almost every day. They have utter contempt for it. They have no honor, no integrity. They know what they are doing. They have knowledge, they know the Constitution. They are doing it willfully. So I focus on those who still have courage, who still have honor.
But I have to make sure they have the knowledge, because courage and honor without knowledge is not enough. They are kept intentionally ignorant. All of us were in public school. Were you taught your heritage in public school? Were you taught your history? Were you taught the Constitution?
If you go ask the average beat cop or the average soldier, sailor, airman or Marine if they have read the Constitution, unfortunately, you are probably going to get a “No.” And here is the thing – they are taught about the laws of war, they are taught about what is right and wrong to prevent another My Lai Massacre, or Abu Ghraib. They are taught those things. But they are not taught about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That would be fine if they were only used abroad, then they would only need the UCMJ and the laws of war.
But when they are deployed here at home, as they were in Katrina, they were running right up against your rights as American citizens under the Bill of Rights, against those protections of your natural rights. So, if they are going to be deployed here at home, and believe me they will, they had better know the Constitution. It’s the supreme law of the land. They swore an Oath to defend it. How can they possibly defend it if they don’t know it?
So that is the mission of my organization. To teach them about the Constitution and make sure they understand that that oath is not just a good idea, it’s not just tradition, it’s required by the Constitution itself by Article VI, where it mandates that every officer of the United States government and the State governments swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution – from the President down to the local Dog Catcher. All of them must swear this Oath.
So, I am hoping I can buy you some time. Because, you know what? The Marxists, or call them what you want [my favorite term for them is “government supremacists”], including their counterparts in the Republican party, cannot destroy this country unless they have the compliance and the willful participation of the military and police. They cannot do it without them. So I am hoping to buy you some time.
What are your obligations, though? Well, one thing, I hope that every one of you who is a veteran will understand that you are still bound by that Oath. You must support and defend the Constitution, to the best of your ability. You are no longer under orders, but you are under your obligation. You swore a sacred oath, a sacred oath to Almighty God to defend the Constitution.
How do you do that as a veteran? Well, first of all, you don’t vote for oath-breakers. You don’t vote for people that you know have demonstrated their contempt for the Constitution or a willingness to “go-along to get-along” and compromise. When it comes to Constitutional principles, they are supposed to be also bound by their Oath and not compromise. Don’t vote for them.
If someone is running for office and they are not tested, they haven’t been in office before, how do you know who to support? Well, first of all, ask them some questions about the Constitution. If they can’t answer basic questions about our structure of government, then they don’t belong in office. Once again, if they don’t know it, how can they possibly fulfill their obligation to defend it? They can’t. Ask them some pointed questions.
I have a story, well maybe I shouldn’t tell it, well I’ll tell it. I had lunch with a prominent candidate when he was first getting ready to run. I asked him some pretty basic questions about the Constitution and he couldn’t answer them. So, I handed him a pocket Constitution and said, “Look, guy, go read it, learn it, and we will talk again.” I’m not knocking the guy, he is no worse than anyone else out there, most of them won’t know it. So ask the questions, make sure they know it. If they don’t know it, don’t support them.
What else can you do? As a veteran, you have the responsibility to become fully involved with your community. Every one of you. It is not enough just to vote. Our forefathers intended that we would be the militia, that we would be the local security for our countrymen, for our communities. We have abdicated that responsibility to professionals, professional police, professional military. I love Dave Freeman [Nevada State Chapter President and retired Las Vegas Metro officer] and other cops out there -there are a lot of good cops out there – but, it was supposed to be our responsibility. The sheriff was supposed to call upon us as posses. That’s what the sheriffs down in Arizona should be doing right now.
But don’t wait for the sheriff to call you up for a posse. You have an obligation right now to go volunteer. Go start a Sheriff’s Auxiliary or a Police Auxiliary if you don’t already have one, join your local search and rescue team. Get CERT certified, that is Citizens Emergency Response Training. Go do those things you can within the institutions we still have left.
And you should be pushing for a real citizens militia, here in the state, by state statute – an official body. You should be doing that. We don’t have it anymore, it has been atrophied. What do we have? We have a National Guard. Where are they? Most of them are overseas, right? So that leaves a vacuum of power here at home. And then when there is an emergency, who comes into that vacuum? FEMA does and now NORTHCOM. Now we have a Northern Command over the United States. And they act as though the states don’t exist. They act as though there is just one big giant federal government over all of us.
So, if you are going to restore this Republic, you must do it from the bottom up. Participate in those institutions that are left, revitalize the ones we have allowed to atrophy, such as the militia, which the founders considered was what? “necessary for the security of a free state.” We have let it wither away.
What would happen – let me ask you this – what would happen if there was an economic collapse right now in this country? What would happen?
(from audience member, “martial law”)
Well, they might try it, but where is “martial law” in the Constitution? You won’t find that term anywhere in there. The emergency clauses in our Constitution are; habeas suspension by Congress, Article 1 Section 9; and also Congress’s power to call forth the militia to suppress insurrection, repel invasion, and to enforce the laws of the Union. It is the militia, you, who are supposed to be taking care of internal security, not the standing army. The standing army and navy are for external threats. You see nothing in our Constitution about declaring martial law.
You know what martial law is? Martial law is simply the will of the commander on the battlefield. It is what imposed on conquered Germany and conquered Japan after World War II, for example. MacArthur imposed martial law on Japan. That’s martial law.
Where in the Constitution does it say the American government can declare war on it’s own people? Or treat them like a conquered enemy? It is nowhere in there. It doesn’t exist.
Their (our founding fathers) way of handling an emergency was for you, in your state militia under command of your governors, to take care of yourselves and each other. Not to look at the President as a supreme commander over you. He is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he is not the Commander-in-Chief of the American people. Do you understand that difference?
That was the founder’s answer, to that ancient question, “Who shall guard the guardians?” They wanted you to guard yourselves. So take back that responsibility. Start right here at the local level and work your way up.
Vote for a good squared away sheriff. You’ve got to have a good county with a sheriff who is a constitutionalists. If you have a sheriff who is sitting on -right now Gillespie [Clark County Nevada Sheriff] is sitting on the working group at DHS (the Department of Homeland Security) called The Working Group to Counter Violent Extremism. Do you know who else is on that panel? The Southern Poverty Law Center. The chairman of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Cohen, is on that same panel, that’s who is on there, along with a bunch of other leftist organizations. You might want to ask Gillespie why is it he is participating in the politicization of DHS?
Because what is happening is, all that power structure that was put in place after 9-11 is now being turned inward on you. Are they concerned about Islamic terrorism, or who is DHS now looking to as the number one “threat” to national security?
Constitutionalists, Tea Party people, Ron Paul supporters, Chuck Baldwin supporters, Constitutional Party members? Almost anybody who dares quote the founding fathers or talk about the Constitution is now considered a “threat.” Are you a threat?
Yes, I’m a threat, a threat to their agenda! I’m not a threat to my fellow citizens or my nation. But I am an opponent, a die-hard-to-the-death opponent, of what they are trying to do to my country. So, I guess that makes me a threat.
But, my fight is with my voice and with my pen. The pen is mightier than the sword. And the greatest weapon I have is one the Founding Fathers gave us in their wisdom – it is that Oath. Other countries, that Oath is to the king. That’s how it was in their time, they broke that tradition. Even today, you go to Canada or Australia or to England and ask them who the Oath is to? They’ll say, “to the queen and her progeny.”
The Founders, because the supreme law of the land is our Constitution, they made the Oath to the Constitution itself. There is no sovereign here except who? (audience: Us) Right, you are sovereign. So that is why the Oath is there. That is a powerful weapon.
By simply reminding the military and police that they swore an Oath to defend the Constitution, I am screwing up the plans of the political elites. They don’t like it. That’s why, back on April 19th, we had Bill Clinton getting up and talking about the current “threats” and the possible “new Timothy McVeigh” and of course he was slandering everybody in the Tea Party movement. But he named two groups. He named Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters. The Three Percenters are hard core gun owners that are not going to give up their rights. But the other side was Oath Keepers. They don’t like what we are doing. We are messing with their “muscle.” They want the military and police to be ignorant of the Constitution. They want them to be obedient to whatever orders come down from above.
If I get them [military and police] to wake up and see that their oath is to the Constitution, if they go home and read it and study it, now what do you have? You have people of courage and honor, who understand their obligation and they know the Constitution. They can’t be fooled after that. And what are they going to do? Are they going to be cowardly and do just whatever they are told? What do you think? Do you think so?
They are willing to fight in combat and die. Do you really believe they are just going to be cowards all of the sudden, and knowing what is right, still do what is wrong? No. If we wake up enough of them we will prevail because “they” can’t do it without them.
So, I’m going to close with just this one thought:
This is your last chance.
I am not saying that there won’t be a long hard fight after this. But if you don’t stand on the Constitution, and do what the Founding Fathers intended for you to do, if you don’t stand in the breach right now, then there will be no recourse but to arms after that. We are not a third world country. We are not Russian peasants. We are not Chinese peasants. We will fight for our liberty if we have to. But none of us hope that comes. We should hope that it doesn’t.
But if you don’t get out there right now and get busy and kick the bums out of office, then you will have left your brethren no other choice. So it is do or die. This is the time.
You have a lot of people out there who are looking at the Republican Party and wondering whether they are going to bother voting Republican because they feel like they have been betrayed so many times by politicians with that label by their name. So, you have to convince them that you are sincere constitutionalists, that should be your bedrock. If you can do that, you can turn it around peacefully. If you do not do that and you put into office those who are going to compromise yet again, you will have burned that bridge, and you will have left us no recourse.
ADDITIONAL NOTE FROM STEWART: I ran out of time in that speech. If I had more time, I would have told them that if they don’t do what is right, and elect to office real constitutionalists, they will not only very likely kill this Republic (which simply cannot afford yet another cycle of fake-conservatives and fake constitutionalists who gut the Bill of Rights, wreck our economy, and grow the power of government), they will also kill the Republican Party once and for all.
Many millions of Americans now look upon the Republican Party with suspicion and contempt after watching nearly every Republican office-holder (with the notable exception of Congressman Ron Paul) break their campaign promises, and more importantly, break their oaths. The people of this nation are starting to wake up to the reality that the vast majority of Republican politicians and party leaders are nearly identical to their Democrat elite counterparts on the other side of the political aisle. Such Republicans are part of what Angelo Codevilla refers to as “America’s Ruling Class” in his recent essay, America’s Ruling Class — and the Perils of Revolution. http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/16/americas-ruling-class-and-the/print
That Ruling Class of political, legal, academic, “non- government-organization,” and media elites in both major parties has utter contempt for the people, for our Constitution, and for our Republic. I like to describe the two major parties, under those ruling elites, as a two headed monster, or as being like two puppets – one in the right hand, and one in the left – of the same puppet master group of elitists.
Unless constitutionalists are successful in “taking over” the Republican Party within the next two years, then traditional, constitutionalists Americans (what Codavilla calls the “Country Class”) truly will have no political party in any meaningful sense (one that is, in the short term, capable of sweeping oath breakers out of Congress, as the Jeffersonians did when they effectively swept the Federalists from power in “the Revolution of 1800”).
While I still hope those currently running the Republican Party will realize the gravity of our situation and finally do what is right (what is constitutional), I don’t expect it. The only hope is that there is an internal battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party going on right now between constitutionalists and the Neoconservatives – what they call themselves, by the way, and if you call yourself a “Neocon,” I urge you to reconsider. Is FDR one of your heroes? No? Well, according to the late Neocon leader Irving Kristol, in his article “The Neoconservative Persuasion,” FDR is one of their heroes. That should come as no surprise, since Neocons are most decidedly in favor of expanding the power of government in the name of security. I like to call them government supremacists right along with their counterparts in the Democratic party, because that is how self-described Neocons have behaved when in power. They are pro- big government every bit as much as are the current batch in the Obama Administration, just with a different emphasis and rationale for unlimited government power. So, if you believe in following the Constitution, why not just call yourself a constitutionalist? Or better yet, just call yourself an American, since all Americans should be constitutionalists and certainly all of us who swore that oath must be constitutionalists, lest we become Oath Breakers.
So there is a real-deal fight to the death going on right now within the Republican Party between the Neocons (along with squishy, “moderate” party loyalists) on the one side and the loose grassroots coalition of Tea Party people, 912 folks, Ron Paul Republicans, and just plain old constitutionalists Barry Goldwater style Republicans on the other side. There have been some victories, like in Nevada (where Tea Party backed Sharron Angle beat out old guard “moderate” favorite Sue Lauden in the primary, and now faces off against Reid). But also some distressing failures, such as Arizona Republicans once again sending the sell-out, demonstrated oath breaker John McCain back to the U.S. Senate.
It is a fight to the death because if the Neocons win, the Republican Party will be a dead party walking. Why do I say that? Because, if the Republican Party wins back power this November, but then simply carries on the accelerating destruction of our Republic as they had zestfully done during the Bush years (which has continued during Obama) – ripping down the Bill of Rights, grossly aggrandizing Executive power, helping the banksters to further rob the American people, eroding the sovereignty of the states, and spending like drunken sailors yet again, then all Americans loyal to the Constitution and to liberty will abandon the Republican Party forever, and it will finally die a well deserved death, having effectively committed suicide. Ironically, by abandoning principle, Republicans will have killed their own party. Party “pragmatists” take note.
If the Republican Party commits suicide, there remains a faint hope that constitutionalists, liberty loving Americans will be able to either strengthen one of the existing third parties enough to win elections, or that they will quickly form some new third party that is strong enough to do so (and an increasing percentage of the population supports the forming of such a new party). But that is a faint hope, because we are simply running out of time. So, that is why my speech to the Republican Party of Clark County, Nevada sounded so apocalyptic. Regardless of what happens in November, we are in for very hard and dangerous times. Even if we were to elect a staunch constitutionalists majority to office, the damage that has been done to our economy and our Constitution is so great, they would be lucky to save this Republic. And if we don’t do that – don’t kick the bums out and replace them with sincere constitutionalists – I fear that there will just not be enough time left to raise up a third party that can take power and then stop the destruction (which is accelerating every day, and which would continue even while that third party formed, and while it wound its slow way toward election).
I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t see the future, and so I will never give up. And frankly, as oath sworn veterans, we cannot give up, lest we fail in our duty. So, we must press on. However, it would be foolish to shut our eyes to how bad a situation we are in, or what may very possibly (or probably) happen. And it would be foolish to rely only on elections to fix things. We certainly should work for a peaceful restoration, and that includes participation in the political process, but voting is not the whole of our duty. We also need to prepare ourselves mentally, spiritually, and physically for the uncertain times ahead. As part of that, we should do all we can to strengthen ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, our towns, our counties, and our states so we may be as strong and resilient as possible, come what may. And that is as the Founders expected of us, after-all. They founded a Republic made up of citizens who took full, active part in their communities and in the fundamental institutions of a free people – demonstrating true civic virtue. They gave us a Republic. It remains to be seen if we will rise to the occasion and keep it. I will be writing more on how we may do so – and specifically about what Oath Keepers will be doing to help defend and restore the Republic – and I invite you to join me in the attempt. We are duty bound to try, to the utmost extent of our power.
For the Republic,
Founder of Oath Keepers
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