I must admit, when I first saw the YouTube video I was a little bothered... the idea seemed to be that suddenly because Obama is in power we must be on the verge of a communist authoritarian state... my immediate response was, "where the hell where you for the last 8 years?!"
Reading Mr. Rhodes' comments here, it's clear you were vocal about the abuses of power under Bush 43, and I commend you for this. I tend to "lean to the left" (at least by the definition of the far-right) but while I'm very progressive, I'm a life-long libertarian who was strongly and openly opposed to many of Clinton's policies. I believe 8 years of the neocons and their crimes pushed me further to the left, but nothing can make me renounce the Constitution and my freedom.
Overall I like Obama much more than Bush or even Clinton, but his reluctance to quickly overturn Bush's "unitary executive" nonsense is very troubling to me.
I commend you for your efforts and your integrity. I pray your organization does not become a haven for the far-right movement which is clamoring for revolution not on the basis of watching a slow and steady erosion of liberties over the course of American history, but simply because liberals are now in power.
My family has been in this country since before the revolutionary war, we have fought on battlefields and toiled in the streets to make this country a better place and to preserve our inalienable rights.
I will keep an eye on your organization, if it is truly non-partisan and based on principles not power-grabbing, I will support your work and stand with you against tyranny should that awful necessity arise.
The above was left as a comment by David Clairborne on our post of our Declaration of Orders We Will Not Obey. David's is one of the more thoughtful comments submitted by someone who self-identifies as being on the political left.
Unlike others who jump to the conclusion that we Oath Keepers are simply angry because Republicans are no longer in power, or worse, assert that we are somehow racists because we dare oppose the actions of Obama (as though we are only angry that a black man is in the White House), David has the intellectual integrity to recognize the fact that I, the founder of Oath Keepers, was a very outspoken critic of the Bush Administration - especially when it came to asserted executive war powers.
And the same is also true for David Freeman, Jim Ayala, and others at the core of Oath Keepers, including active duty military and police. In fact, Dave, Jim and I all met while we were working as volunteers for Congressman Ron Paul's campaign. If any label fits us, the best one is "constitutionalist" and perhaps libertarian, but certainly not neocons. That also goes for the active duty men who have contribute to this cause - they are first and foremost constitutionalists. And from my experience with the hundred of people who have written us, as well as my conversations with those who gathered at Lexington, I think the best label that fits the great majority of them is also "constitutionalists" rather than party loyal Republicans. That should be no surprise, given the focus of this effort on our mutual oath to defend the Constitution, not any party.
I thank you David for expressing your commitment to defend the Constitution and for having the honor and integrity to recognize the sad truth that Obama has not denied, refuted, or recinded any of the extaordinary claims of "unitary executive" power that were asserted by Bush and his fake-conservative lawyers (who conserved nothing) such as John Yoo.
Sadly, this is what I and others at the core of Oath Keepers expected. For years now I have tried to warn Republicans that one day the shoe would be on the other foot, and all the powers that Bush claimed would be in the hands of their political opponents and would be used against them. Yet, even I have been surprised at how swiftly the Obama Admin. has turned the war on terrorism inward, on those considered to be on the political right. Bush built a massive internal security-state infrastructure, but Obama appears bound and determined to actually use it against us.
When there is a boot on the back of your neck, it matters little whether it is a left boot or a right boot. My goal over the years has always been the same, regardless of which party is in power: to keep the boot of tyranny off the back of our necks. Oath Keepers is simply the latest phase of that effort. It's not about party, its about freedom vs. tyranny. It's about the Constitution.
- Stewart Rhodes