Sedition Made Me Do It!
Elmer Stewart Rhodes III is a big fan of Jefferson Republicans and The Last of Mohicans. Another Reader's Request about how he faces federal charges, and it isn't just because of his name.
(Reader’s Request is now Ask Me Anything)
It's that time again to throw out a lesson from our Reader's Request. We thank Elise for asking:
– What the heck is all this sedition stuff? Was John Adams a jerk?
I'm glad you asked, Elise. Let's dive in!
We are well beyond the first anniversary of the insurrection of the Capitol building, and a commission has been formed. The Justice Department is lumbering through 700 arrests with the expectation that another 200 will occur soon. Attorney-General Garland told everyone to chill out regarding the pace of the investigation, and we are grateful to take delight in a recent arrest.
Get Him, Merrick
The Oath Keepers founder and Chief Pooba, Elmer Steward Rhodes III, and ten other compatriots were indicted for sedition a couple of weeks ago.
What can we charge the two men who continued to name their sons Elmer Steward? Fraud, maybe? Is meanness against the law? It should be in this case. Like naming your son Sue, right Johnny?
As of this writing, Stewart remains in jail, most likely because he wears a patch over his left eye, and we must be diligent when it comes to pirates or a random Congressman from Texas.
If convicted, Rhodes faces, I believe, 20 years in an American prison for plotting against America in violent ways to prevent official things like elections from happening.
Despite a mountain of evidence from his own words through text messages that they plotted a new civil war, Rhodes claims he is innocent. He and the other Oath Keepers assert they were in town to provide security to Trump loyalist Roger Stone. Why? I have no idea.
But they claim they sat outside the Capitol while others did the rampaging.
The Oath Keepers (The OK'ers) were founded in March of 2009, roughly two months after the country inaugurated a communist, socialist, and fascist, who also happened to be black, president. They aim to protect the Constitution and America, acting like real-life G.I. Joes. They have guns and uniforms and other weapon-type stuff.
However, The OK'ers WELCOME! Video suggests the movement began in 2004 when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. There are numerous Fox News clips where reporters speak to these guys who argue about the death of people inside the Superdome and how the federal government caused it by denying their freedom to leave.
I guess it took them five years to organize.
I remember G.I. Joes being way quicker than that.
You won’t need to watch the video; I did it for you before YouTube threw it into the cyber garbage can. It laid out their principles as an American flag was featured in the background.
A list of 10 things OK'ers won't do scrolled over the top. I can't remember what they wouldn't do, but one should have been taking an oath to stop naming your kids the same name after the first time.
Curiously, the video is played over the music of Trevor Jones's Main Title, the theme song to The Last of Mohicans, a movie that has nothing to do with Americans, let alone the Constitution.
Don't get me wrong, I like the music, and the film was pretty good, but when you are scrolling through 10 things you will not do for your country while the American flag is in the background, you don't think about the British and their Indian allies as they fight the French and their Indian allies.
You're probably thinking about Daniel Day-Lewis right now. U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!
Here is some vital background information on Elmer Stewart. He graduated from Yale, became a lawyer, then got disbarred all of this BEFORE The Last of Mohicans music tribute. I feel like he could have used Okay History at some point earlier in life.
I'm not sure what happened to his eye, but I do know that Rhodes had a vision of keeping President Two Scoops in power. Fantasizing that perhaps others would not agree and react violently, The OK'ers stashed weapons all over the city like a Branch Davidian scavenger hunt.
They got caught. They got charged with sedition. We are waiting for the outcome.
What does John Adams have to do with this?
In the late 1790s, the United States, Britain, and France were in this musical chairs routine, except for war. America vs. Britain with the French helping the Yanks, France vs. Britain going at each other. France vs. the U.S. was about to happen; which side would the Mohicans choose?
Only Daniel Day-Lewis would know.
In 1794, President Washington signed a treaty with Britain, who realized they could make more money off the United States, the stupid young country, rather than fighting with them all the time. The Jay Treaty improved relations while at the same time upsetting the French, who felt betrayed.
Two years later, Adams becomes president and tries to smooth things over with the French. Instead, word got out that France tried to bride American ambassadors, and all heck broke loose here in the States. It was the original Freedom Fries moment. We-Hate-France! We-Hate-France! We-Hate-France!
To move the plot along, we know Jefferson was a big fan of France, and since this is a drama, we have Alexander Hamilton making an appearance, and now you know I'm all fired up.
Everyone Yell At Each Other
Hamilton says Jefferson is a French lover and is helping overthrow the government. People start freaking out because numerous immigrants coming into the country favoring Republicans.
Probably because Federalists once declared the United States should not "invite hordes of Wild Irishmen, nor the turbulent and disorderly of all the world, to come here with a basic view to distract our tranquility."
Hey, that's not very nice. Tell me again, how is Alexander Hamilton, not a British sympathizer? Anyway.
Adams signed laws that increased the years dirty Irish men could become citizens and be denied jobs. One law allows the president to deport any noncitizen he wants out of fear. During this time, everyone thinks everyone else is a spy.
You Can't Print That
Federalists passed the sedition portion aimed mainly at newspapers making it illegal to say anything false and conspire against the Adams and the federal government. That meant many Republican-leaning newspaper editors were jailed, and even a congressman was sent to prison.
Jefferson and James Madison wrote resolutions in Virginia and Kentucky, claiming the federal government couldn't enforce laws that weren't in the Constitution. Which, by the way, they have sworn an Oath to protect.
Years later, in the 21 century, Founding Father Wannabees created a club focused on Keeping the Oath to protect the Constitution.
History is a little bit important, isn’t it?
Run it Back
Alien and Sedition Acts are massive infringements on the First Amendment, which protects speech, including even lying. The laws were removed once Jefferson won the election of 1800, and Congress returned with a new edition in 1918 when WWI broke out – but it was repealed two years later.
So, Elise. Adams was kind of a jerk because he went after his political rivals while trying to circumvent the Constitution. Throughout our history, we have tried to tamper down criticism of our government when we perceive it not to be true. Of course, we have a huge problem with what truth is.
Hope this helps! Thanks for the question.
What says you? Drop a comment below!