The rise of militia members to elective office
It’s happening in Oregon.
Joseph Rice’s manner is a long way from militia stereotypes. The Patriot Movement leader does not present as a crazed gun nut, nor as a blowhard white supremacist. He’s genial, folksy, and matter-of-fact in laying out his views. But talk to him for long enough, and time and again the Patriot Movement leader returns to what really drives him: land.
Rice is running for Josephine county commissioner in south-west Oregon, and believes that the federal government’s current role in land management is illegitimate and even tyrannical.
His campaign is well-advertised around the county and appears well-organised. His growing experience in organising Patriot groups and community watch organisations has polished his skills in retail politics. He’s clearly done a lot of work to make himself politically palatable to conservative rural voters…
Taking notice of the trend, progressive watchdog group Political Research Associates even pointed to “a wave of Patriot-affiliated candidates in Oregon”.
Rice talks proudly of his connection with the Oath Keepers – a group which recruits from serving and retired law enforcement officers and military personnel. The group asserts that the oath taken by soldier and police “is to the constitution, not to the politicians”, such that serving personnel are obliged to disobey unconstitutional orders.
He’s also proud of his role in founding the Pacific Patriots network, which aims to coordinate members of various patriot groups in the Pacific north-west.