All that’s missing is Janet Reno and an FBI sniper with a penchant for pregnant women. In 1992 the militia phenomenon was growing in reaction to Bill Clinton’s Presidency.The sniper reference is to the the FBI standoff with white supremacist Randy Weaver in Ruby Ridge, Idaho in 1992. Bill Clinton's presidency didn't yet exist in 1992, nor did Janet Reno's stewardship of the Justice Department.
They'd only just started, in fact, when the 1993 siege of the David Koresh cult's compound in Waco, Texas occurred. It had already been underway for weeks before Reno became Attorney General. MacLure describes that siege as a "massive abuse of power and misuse of the law," adopting, outright, the insane characterization of it offered by the insane militia fascists, then, with no apparent sense of irony, complains that Clinton, during his administration, supposedly found it so easy "to lump Conservatives together with the militias and paint us all with that brush the left loves to use."
If one wants to avoid being lumped in with crazed fascists, it's a good idea not to parrot the bullshit of said crazed fascists. At Waco, there was a doomsday cult led by a madman, the lot of them so batshit crazy that they eventually burned themselves alive, women, children, and all. They were manufacturing and stockpiling a massive and completely illegal arsenal of grenades, explosives, machine guns. No responsible government charged with protecting the public could allow something like that to go unchecked; the very suggestion that it should aligns MacLure with the crazies, who, unsurprisingly, say the same thing about the incident as MacLure. They spent years saying it, in fact. Waco became a rallying point for reactionary loons with guns. A pair of them--Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols--were so outraged by the "massive abuse of power and misuse of the law" that they decided to blow up a federal building in Oklahoma and murder hundreds. They chose the anniversary of the end of the Waco siege as the date to set off their bomb.
These kind of armed reactionaries aren't, in the abstract, the fault of the conservatives. Every political movement will have some small faction of crackpots. The conservatives do bear a great deal of blame for them, though. Nearly the entirety of the American right checked out on legitimate political discourse a few decades ago. The conservatives' decision to refuse to acknowledge the existence of legitimate differences of opinion and to, instead, portray their political rivals as subhuman monsters who want to destroy America (and anything those rivals do as being in pursuit of that goal) created the environment that both built and maintained the armed reactionary movements. When the right was in power, during the Bush administration, the fascists were running the governments, and as Bush's popularity on the right soared, these movements withered to nearly nothing. Now--what a surprise--they're on the rise again.
And what was the conservative response when, early in the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security presciently warned about a potential upsurge in right-wing extremism? To denounce the administration for bashing conservatives and portraying them as a threat. To align themselves, yet again, with the insane reactionaries.
America's prominent conservative figures today do things like tell the public the President is a Muslim, a fellow who isn't even an American citizen, a man who is trying to institute Bolshevism in the U.S., and who pushes for government panels aimed at killing the elderly and the infirm, and even when their followers take their apocalyptic rhetoric seriously and begin threatening the lives of those in government, committing vandalism, adopting intimidation tactics, they choose to amp up the rhetoric, rather than dialing it down, and accuse the victims of overplaying and even outright manufacturing the incidents for political gain. Everyone can see where this is leading, and the conservatives just keep driving it in that direction.
To put the matter bluntly, American conservatism needs to get its shit together in a major way. Its present course is homicidal.
UPDATE (19 April, 2010) -- A gaggle of gun-nuts chose this, of all days, to gather in and around Washington D.C. to demonstrate against federal gun control efforts. The astute follower of American politics, reading that, will no doubt immediately ask, "what gun control efforts?" The momentum, in the states, is directed toward undoing past state-level gun control measures (over half the states having done so in the last two years), the U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down a strict D.C. gun ban on 2nd Amendment grounds, and there hasn't been a single serious federal gun control effort in 13 or 14 years. During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama declared "gun control" to be, in effect, a dead issue, and, in fact, participants in the rally held, today, in a pair of parks in Virginia were able to openly carry firearms because of a law signed by Obama, yet 50 or 60 demonstrators, most of them armed, gathered there to protest for a right no one seems to be doing anything to even try to take away. There was a much larger unarmed rally of the same character at the Washington monument in D.C.
Ye humble editor is an opponent of gun control measures--given the power, I'd erase most of them from the books, which sometimes puts me at odds with my fellow liberals. It's been my observation that gun control is more of a city/country issue than liberal/conservative--urbanites of whatever political stripe tend to be the main backbone of its support. I'm a country boy, though. When I say "gun nuts," that's not to be interpreted as a shot at supporters of the right to keep and bear arms. It's aimed at a particular sub-culture who are so disconnected from reality on this issue that, even while they win at every turn, they see themselves as so persecuted that they feel compelled to organize and show up at events like those today (which were, admittedly, tiny). Not that there's any harm in this sort of demonstration. It's just that there's absolutely no reason for it. Far more disturbing (and certainly marking them as even nuttier) is the fact that they chose today to hold it, the 17th anniversary of the end of the Waco standoff, and the 15th anniversary of the OK City bombing by a pair of crazed reactionaries angry over it. Organizers insist they chose the date not because of any of those things, but because it was the anniversary of the "shot heard 'round the world" that launched the American Revolution.
Of course they did.