Maddow and Guest Frank Shaeffer Can't Discuss La.-Based 'Operation Exodus' Without Resorting to Reverse Race-Baiting

As did Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream.

I dream that my 10-year-old son of pale skin hue will one day grow to maturity in a nation where he won't be dismissed by liberals as some old white guy with a fetish for firearms. Rather, that my son will be judged by a still-revered belief in the singular importance of character.

Agreed, such an expectation is probably more delusion than dream, seeing how often left-wingers in positions of influence gratuitously invoke race.

Here, for example, is Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show this past Thursday talking about a volunteer law enforcement effort called "Operation Exodus" (the segment can be seen in its entirety here) --

MADDOW: These folks, these guys are volunteers in something called Project Exodus in Bossier Parish, La. The sheriff in Bossier Parish, Sheriff Larry Deen, put out a press release recently announcing the creation of this Operation Exodus group. It's now been reported by the Shreveport Times and that local reporting has been picked up nationally by Zack Roth at Talking Points Memo.

The department, the sheriff's department there, says that Operation Exodus is designed to build a local paramilitary force to deal with the threat of, you know, threats and stuff. In the words of the Shreveport Times, 'The Bossier Parish sheriff's office is launching a program called 'Operation Exodus,' a policing plan for an end-of-the-world scenario involving a mostly white group of ex-police volunteers and a .50-caliber machine gun, inspired in part from the Book of Exodus in the Bible. ...

... The way Operation Exodus is going in Bossier Parish is that the sheriff came up with this idea. He put out the press release and then the sheriff proactively contacted people who lived in Bossier Parish, who he wanted to join this little militia. And the sheriff chose 200 people, 195 of the 200 are white men. The sheriff is providing these people with shotguns and with batons and with riot shields. The sheriff has already started training them, as you can see (footage shown of training) in hand-to-hand combat. And then there's the war wagon, with the 50-caliber machine gun.

Sheriff Deen explains the need for this militia as follows -- 'As evidenced by recent terror threats, it is apparent that homegrown terrorists are in our midst. With the easy accessibility of the Internet, it is quite possible that these local and international terrorists can form a national or multiple-location attack on our nation at any given moment. And no matter whether we are a direct target or not, fear and panic will still permeate our community. Control will have to be regained to ensure the safety of our residents. That is where Operation Exodus comes into play.'

Followed by Maddow saying this --

MADDOW: See, the 195 white guys in town who were just given guns by the sheriff, they're supposed to reduce your fear. Same with the 50-caliber thingy on the war wagon thingy. 

And more along the same lines from Maddow guest Frank Shaeffer, author of "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back" and a Huffington Post blogger --

SHAEFFER:  Really what this is is just another evidence of the fact that there is a right-wing fringe in this country, sometimes tied to militia movements, sometimes tied to the religious right that I write about in my book 'Crazy for God', sometimes just loonies who essentially have given up on the United States government. And let me just add, as the father of a United States Marine who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, I don't take kindly to looking at a bunch of old white guys about my age with pot bellies grabbing 50-millimeter machine guns and putting them on pickup trucks to look like the technicals as they used to call them in Somalia, that a bunch of terrorists run around and causing havoc. It certainly doesn't make me feel safer, but in terms of the biblical tie-in, it's very obvious. ...

SHAEFFER: ... It isn't terrorism they're fighting, they're just putting together a little militia group here to flee the rulers they don't agree with, I guess, and kind of the Dick Cheney America, you know, we've given up on our government protecting us, we say the president is not doing his job, so we give a 50-cal. machine gun to some old white guy on a pickup truck and some shotguns to some good old boys and I guess they'll take care of it. ...

SHAEFFER: ... Look, we have institutions to take care of national emergencies. They're called fire departments, they're called the United States Marines, they're called the CIA and the NSA. These are the people who represent our elected government, whether we always like what they're doing or not. If a bunch of, if 200 people have to arm themselves, basically what they're saying is, we don't believe in the United States anymore. We don't believe in the military anymore. The guys up at Parris Island tonight who are sweating away in boot camp, like my son did, are wasting their time. We don't trust them to do their job and so, you know, we'll get some crazy old white coot on a pickup with a 50-cal. machine gun cruising his neighborhood to do God knows what ...

Good gosh, what is it about white people that sets Maddow and Shaeffer to grinding their teeth? And seeing how both are apt to mark the box labeled "white" on a census questionnaire, how can they bear to look in a mirror? (the horror, the horror ...)

The "biblical tie-in," Shaeffer claims, is an allusion to the story of Exodus with "the Jews, the people of God, fleeing an unjust ruler. So obviously it's a backhanded comment about the United States government, Barack Obama, what have you."

The press release posted at the Bossier sheriff's Web site described it a bit differently, stating the name Operation Exodus "was chosen for three reasons" --

The word 'Exodus' literally means 'going out' or 'departure.' For the Bossier Sheriff's Office, Operation Exodus is a 'departure' from our normal duties to amplify the protection we provide our citizens. As for the volunteers, they will be 'going out' of their way to help the people of the community. And the last reason it was chosen is because of its Biblical relevance. In the book of Exodus, the Israelites were totally on their own, learning to be self-sufficient and handle everything alone, just as the plan provides.

Not surprisingly, Maddow glides past aspects of the story and doesn't share them with her viewers. For example, there's a reason why Bossier County might sound familiar to people who live far from Louisiana. As reported by the same Shreveport Times story cited by Maddow --

Local residents may remember then-President George W. Bush's address to the nation was made out of Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City immediately after the (9/11) terrorist attacks. At that time, Deen's men and about 100 other patrol cars barricaded entry to the base to protect the president from what turned out to be the nonexistent threat of an assault on the base.

In other words, Deen and presumably many of those now involved in Operation Exodus have previous experience along these lines.

Operation Exodus was created, Maddow tells us dismissively, "to deal with the threat of, you know, threats and stuff." Which don't -- wink, wink -- actually exist, she insinuates. But the Bossier sheriff's initiative isn't limited to responding to civil unrest in the wake of terrorism, but will also "provide for self-sufficiency in the event of a manmade or natural disaster or a terrorist attack," according to Deen's press release.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Louisiana remain vulnerable to natural disaster, especially hurricanes that can ravage coastlines and cities and replace rule of law with anarchy?

Shaeffer, echoing Maddow's reverse-racism, also makes a bogus argument about the rationale behind the Bossier County volunteer effort. Shaeffer demeans this as an example of "Dick Cheney's America" with people who've "given up on our government protecting us ... If 200 people have to arm themselves, basically what they're saying is, we don't believe in the United States anymore. We don't believe in the military anymore. The guys up at Parris Island tonight who are sweating away in boot camp, like my son did, are wasting their time. We don't trust them to do their job ..."

Which is like saying that any person who owns a gun doesn't believe local police are doing their job. And while I'm sure there are those who believe exactly that and arm themselves accordingly, I'm also sure that many people own firearms based on the sobering knowledge that local police, and state police, the National Guard, the military, all the king's horses and all the king's men, cannot protect all Americans all the time.

And contrary to what Shaeffer implies, acting on this awareness is not un-American. That more accurately describes those who would disparage others for exercising their constitutional rights -- even allegedly loathsome white coots.

Jack Coleman
Jack Coleman
Ex-liberal from People's Republic of Massachusetts