12 January 2021

Militias - Obsolete Products of Our Violent Past

It makes perfect sense that you would refuse to marry a guy who acts like a two-year old. It makes no sense that you would refuse to marry a guy because once upon a time - back when he was two - he acted like a two-year-old.

Which brings me to our violent past. The US was founded by white supremacists. The militia mentioned in the 2nd amendment were armed groups that were sort of government, sort of not government groups who captured and returned escaped slaves and drove indigenous people off their homeland through genocide. Killing indigenous women and children - which militia regularly did - was something the federal government preferred to do through militia rather than official troops, an apparent quest for plausible deniability. (Although by the time of Andrew Jackson - himself a violent Indian fighter - the federal government no longer worried about distancing itself from these policies.)

We are supposedly no longer governed by racists. Militia supposedly do not officially coordinate with the US military to intimidate, incarcerate or kill minorities. And yet we have more guns than people and within the next week or two militias will take up arms against democratically elected officials, will storm capitol buildings across the country in defiance of the will of the people who regularly vote for our politicians and policies.

Even if militias were the Model T of their time (the Model T was an amazing product but no one wants to drive one today), we need to revisit this odd notion encoded into our constitution. One of the reasons that government generally gets a worse Yelp rating than business in this country is that people never deify Model Ts and insist that we all should drive them in deference to the divinely inspired Henry Ford. Products continually evolve and old models are discarded. In government? We're still left with the deification of militias.

We're no longer two. We're over two hundred. It's time to get intentional about the future we want to create with less reverence for the past that earlier generations created. As Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." Armed militias accountable to no one seems like an idea we should have grown out of by now. But they'll have a chance to prove me an alarmist in the next little while; I certainly hope they do.

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