I have infrequently posted about Arizona’s most notorious far-right anti-government icon, former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack, and his conspiratorial Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, and the Oath Keepers, made up of former and current law enforcement officers and military personnel who believe it is their duty to defy what they deem to be unconstitutional orders.
Here is a profile of Mack from the Southern Poverty Law Center. ‘Army’ of Sheriffs to Resist Federal Authority.
The founder of the Oath keepers, Stewart Rhodes, made Arizona news after this: Oath Keepers: McCain Should Be ‘Hung By The Neck Until Dead’:
The founder of the Oath Keepers called for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to be “hung by the neck until dead” for treason last week as the president of the Arizona Senate looked on. Link to Video.
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, state Senate President Andy Biggs (R) and “constitutional sheriff” movement leader Richard Mack were all on hand at an event on May 5 in Tempe, Arizona. The stated topic of discussion at the event, which was hosted by a group called the Arizona Liberty Caucus, was the “Dangers of an Article V / Constitutional Convention.” [ “Liberty On Tap” event at the Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill at Tempe Marketplace.]
Rhodes recalled serving as a Nevada delegate for former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) during the 2008 presidential campaign. He accused McCain and the “GOP machine” of manipulating the convention to sabotage Paul’s chances of winning the state’s delegates, according to a video of his speech posted by Right Wing Watch.
“John Cain (sic) is a traitor to the Constitution,” Rhodes later said, misstating the senator’s last name. “He should be tried for treason before a jury of his peers — which he would deny you.”
“He would deny you the right for trial to jury, but we would give him a trial by jury,” Rhodes added. “Then after we convict him he should be hung by the neck until dead. But that was their candidate!”
Here is a profile of Elmer Stewart Rhodes from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Elmer Stewart Rhodes.
State Senate president Andy Biggs later told The Arizona Republic:
Biggs told The Republic he was the first speaker on the program and spoke for 30 minutes to 35 minutes. A panel was invited to talk about the need for a constitutional convention and Biggs was invited because he has written a book outlining his objections to such a convention.
He said he didn’t know who or what the Oath Keepers are, initially confusing them with “Promise Keepers,” a ministry for men. He added that he did not know Rhodes, and thought he was being invited by “an Arizona liberty group.”
Biggs said he doesn’t agree with Rhodes’ comments, but said he didn’t feel it was his place to speak up and denounce him.
“Good grief! Stop it with your free-speech rights,” he said, imagining what he could have said to Rhodes.
He said he wasn’t sure when Rhodes made his inflammatory comments but, “Your ears perk up when someone says something like that.”
Senator Biggs is a coward. The reason he did not speak up is not because of any First Amendment concern for what could fairly be characterized as a threat against a U.S. Senator. He did not speak up because the wingnuts in the room agreed with the speaker.
This kind of eliminationist rhetoric goes on all the time at these right-wing meetings. The Arizona media rarely reports on the hate groups operating in Arizona. Any elected official who associates with these hate groups should be considered disqualified from serving in public office.