September 27, 2022

Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the extremist group the Oath Keepers, might suffer from delusions of grandeur after he compared himself to the late Nelson Mandela, who led the resistance to South Africa's policy of apartheid in the 20th century, during which he was wrongly incarcerated at Robben Island Prison for many years.

Mandela was the first Black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. In contrast, Rhodes, charged with sedition, tried to overturn the 2020 election with a mob of anti-government extremists.

My favorite story about Rhodes has to do with his eyepatch. The pro-gun nitwit dropped his firearm and shot himself in the face.


These supposed threats are, in fact, part of the central conspiracy theory advocated by the antigovernment movement of which the Oath Keepers is a part – the baseless claim that the federal government plans to impose martial law, seize Americans' weapons, force those who resist into concentration camps and, ultimately, push the country into a one-world socialistic government known as the "New World Order." In 2013, the group announced the planned formation of "Citizen Preservation" militias meant to defend Americans against the New World Order.

With Rhodes at the helm, the group continued to promote their own version of vigilante justice by providing voluntary and sometimes illegal security during tense situations in America, after a terrorist attack and during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and by taking part in multiple standoffs against the government. Rhodes had his group patrol the polls in an activity they called Operation Sabot during the 2016 presidential election. Rhodes and Oath Keepers supported Donald Trump during his presidency.

Sure, the leader of the racist militia group is just like Mandela, whose government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by fostering racial reconciliation. Just like Mandela.

Rhodes is a Yale graduate. He could have done anything with his life. That bonehead could have helped people, but no, he's in prison on sedition charges.

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