There is talk circulating in parts of Oklahoma’s tea party community about forming a volunteer militia to fend off further intrusions by the federal government. The notion is a how-to in ways to damage what’s generally been a healthy movement here, and further marginalizes one long-shot gubernatorial candidate.
Many pundits have portrayed all "tea partiers” as ultra-conservatives who hold extreme, anti-government views, when in truth many who have attended tea party rallies here and across the country are people of all political stripes who simply are concerned about the course federal policy has taken and wish to make that concern known. Ginning up ideas about forming militias only serves to strengthen the stereotype. That’s damaging to the tea party movement, not to mention that it casts Oklahoma in an unflattering light. State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, is seeking the Republican nomination for governor and has been an active part of the tea party movement in our state. Like many tea partiers, Brogdon is concerned about the reach of the federal government. But his openness to the militia idea is sure to backfire when Republicans choose between him and U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin during the GOP primary later this year. A co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party acknowledges that the militia idea is "scary” for many, but says, "When do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?” His frustration is understandable. This idea is not. The Legislature, which would need to recognize such a volunteer force, needs to make sure it gains no traction.