It was exactly 161 years ago today that the first shots of the Civil War were fired -- April 12 and 13, 1861, with the bombardment of Fort Sumter. With our country more divided than any time since...well, at least the 1960s, if not the 1860s, I keep hearing allusions to another civil war; heck, as I first reported here, right-wing avatar Glenn Beck is even writing a novel predicting one. I've always been a little dubious -- and make no mistake, I still am -- of the mechanics of how an American civil war in the 2010s would work. How does the Texas Megachurch Army go to battle with the San Francisco Starbucks Brigade?
But today, on the civil war anniversary day, I see the first glimmer of how this could happen -- a state forming its own militia to resist Washington's authority.
Could that actually happen soon in the Sooner State -- Oklahoma?
OKLAHOMA CITY – Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.
Tea party movement leaders say they've discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers.
"Is it scary? It sure is," said tea party leader Al Gerhart of Oklahoma City, who heads an umbrella group of tea party factions called the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. "But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?"
If it's scary, why are you doing this? What's alarming is that several lawmakers are on board with this proposal, although reading between lines it looks dubious it could actually pass the state legislature and become law, especially since -- and I'm not sure how this could have happened -- the governor of Oklahoma is a Democrat. Still, you never know what can happen when an idea gets rolling. It seems to me that if the citizens of Oklahoma think Washington is overextending its power, there are other solutions -- at the ballot box in 2010 and 2012, for example. Has Oklahoma City, of all places, forgotten what happened the last time somebody there stood up to claim he was not rolling over for the federal government?