Ten to 30 million “patriots” were to descend on the city that day, launching “Operation American Spring,” an epic demonstration aimed at ousting President Obam,a along with House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other government leaders.
OAS was the brainchild of Harry Riley, a retired Army colonel who was inspired by the Arab Spring movement. Riley figured if he could put millions of right wingers in Washington’s streets, the U.S. government would topple as it did in Egypt.
“I don’t think 10 million is high at all,” the colonel declared when asked if turnout estimates were optimistic. “The energy, determination, and willingness to have the ‘back’ of the United States Constitution has (sic) finally resonated with the call, ‘enough is enough’.”
Riley issued marching orders to his troops: “One million or more of the assembled 10 million must be prepared to stay in D.C. as long as it takes to see Obama, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi and Attorney General Holder removed from office.”
Riley wasn’t clear on what “removal” meant, but he had a plan for what came next:
“Those with the principles of a (one-term Rep. Allen) West, (Sen. Ted) Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, (Sen.) Mike Lee, (former Sen. Jim) DeMint, (Sen. Rand) Paul, (Wisconsin) Gov. (Scott) Walker, (Sen. Jeff) Sessions, (Rep. Trey) Gowdy… should comprise a tribunal and assume positions of authority to convene investigations, recommend appropriate charges against politicians … to the new U.S. attorney general appointed by the new president.”
So Riley’s OAS is a coup d’etat. After illegally seizing power, a gang of right wing extremists/Fox News talking heads would summarily judge the president and others who won office in free and fair elections.
“The goal is restoring the U.S. Constitution (and) removing the lawless leadership,” Riley goes on. “Will this be a cake-walk? No … some people may die because the government will not be non-violent. … If that’s what it will take to save our nation, do we have any choice?”
Yes, you do have a choice. Make your case to the American people and win an election. That’s what makes America and Egypt so drastically different.
If it’s as bad in Washington as Riley says, if his movement has the popular grassroots support he claims, he should send his legions of followers to the polls, not Washington.
But like Cliven Bundy, the deadbeat racist rancher, Riley abhors our form of government, a representative democracy conducted under the rule of law.
Last week, D-Day dawned bright and sunny in Washington. Tens of millions of patriots were to surround Capitol Hill and the White House and not leave until the country’s lawfully elected leaders were frog marched from office.
There was just one hitch: Only a couple of hundred showed up to overthrow the government.
Predictably, they were mostly white, mostly middle aged and actually surprised at their pitiful numbers.
“It’s a dismal turnout,” whined a Riley disciple.
What went wrong?
When you consume a strict diet of right wing propaganda to the exclusion of all other information and most especially facts that run counter to your own biased views, like Col. Riley, you might say and do delusional things.
For example, you would be absolutely positive there are millions upon millions of Americans out there just as passionate in their hatred of Obama and others we elect to run the government.
As you sit at your kitchen table feverishly writing and posting unhinged accusations and breathlessly dire warnings, you just know hordes of like-minded revolutionaries will heed your call, leave their jobs and families behind, and follow you to glory.
In public relations, we have a technical term for this condition: smoking your own exhaust.
Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.