Not Sure How Phineas Priesthood Escaped My Attention
The 1990’s were weird times to develop ones political persona. I was left-leaning since becoming thoroughly disillusioned when the Iran-Contra clusterfuck came to light, which was only driven home by a 1988 election that turned into a referendum on whether ACLU-card-carrying l-words could ever quite love Mom, the flag, and apple pie, enough for the estimation of real he-man Uncle Sam types who supported an “out of the loop” “wimp”.
But I think my opinion got hardened by my understanding of the existence of right-wing militias and my ever-lowering opinion of the Christian right. See, I started noticing that the right-wing religious freaks like Falwell and Swaggart and Robertson always supported Republicans. But the PTL scandals that erupted in 1987 made it pretty clear to me that these types of people were basically carnies making a dime off of people’s thirst for gnosis. So why wouldn’t they superciliously shill on behalf of the team of law and order and no fun with your fun parts? I watched the OKC bombing by Christian Identity white supremacist Timothy McVeigh. I noticed that Ruby Ridge and Waco had a strong religious/anti-government paranoia aspect. I tracked with interest the long story of the capture of Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph, who had more than a little help from his friends.
These people were out where the buses don’t run. That wacky militia-tinged disinfo game is why I don’t actually find the nonsense, unreality-based burblings of Steve Stockman or Louie Gohmert as hilarious as some people do—I get that there are real people for whom the possibility of being secretly micro-chipped with the number of the beast by the government is a real thing. And I mostly just think it’s sort of like ignorance on steroids, you know? The reality for people raised in movements that tell them that everyone outside of the movement is a liar, is that it produces brains exceptionally good at finding lies in all the things regular people, schools, universities, scientists, government figures, mainstream news reporters, and so on, say. It would be exhausting for me to counter that much countervailing evidence. But they can deny it outright and feel really satisfied that they did. You can’t hardly argue with people like that. They have to step on the rake and slap their selves upside the head on their own to come around.
I saw the story of Larry McQuilliams originally as just kind of a sad case of someone simply losing their shit in a pretty flagrant way—firing more than a hundred rounds at various buildings and so very fortunately, not harming actual people (other than giving them one hell of a scare). Understanding now that he might have viewed himself as a kind of soldier/martyr—not unlike a al-Qaeda shahid, genuinely unsettles me. Somehow, even if such terrorists were active in the 90’s, I never came across that term—Phineas Priesthood—before. But I think I might want to pay attention to that current, now, especially as racial tensions and distrust in government seem to be on the rise.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)