Principalities & Powersrnby Samuel FrancisrnRoads to RevolutionrnFor at least a month after the mass murderrnin Oklahoma Cit}’, the official sentinelsrnof the federal leviathan threwrnthemselves into a state of panic that wasrnprobably unprecedented in the country’srnhistory. It remains unclear how much ofrnthe hysteria and paranoia they injectedrninto their own minds they actually believedrnand how much they simply fabricatedrnin a desperate effort to smear theirrnenemies in the national outback and preparernfor a concerted crusade of politicalrnrepression. But what became obvious inrnthe bombing’s aftermath is that thernelites entrenched in the mcgastate andrnits fortifications in the dominant institutionsrnof culture and the iriedia arc conringrnto resemble the doomed defenders ofrn15th-century Constantinople helplesshrnwatching the Ottoman hordes swallowrnone province after another and inexorablyrnproceed toward a capital inhabitedrnb’ an isolated and terrified populacernof court functionaries, eunuchs, andrncourtesans. If the popular contemptrnfor Washington that surfaced in lastrnyear’s congressional elections excited thernanger and fear of the nation’s rulers,rnthe Rorschach Test of Oklahoma Cityrnseemed to drive them over the edge intorna condition close to full-blown insanity.rnThe unspoken premise of theirrnresponse to the bombing was that thernentire American people had gone crazy,rntucking semiautomatic weapons underrntheir windbrcakers, concocting fertilizerrnbombs in their backyards, signingrnup with militias, hate groups, and fundamentalistrnchurches, and harboringrnthe darkest conspirac}’ theories aboutrnthe LInited Nations, the Jews, the BATF,rnand IIillar Clinton. No one was safe.rnThe sinister accomplices of Timoth’rnMcVeigh were everywhere, and indeed inrnthe days following the bombing, the FBIrnreceived no fewer than 8,000 “tips” identifyingrnthe mysterious “John Doe # 2 ” asrnthe man down the street, the fellow inrnthe supermarket, the guy in the next motelrnroom last night. Reporters solemnlyrnasked House Speaker Newt Gingrichrnwhether he thought his mild criticjucs ofrn”big government” had contributed tornthe act of madness in Oklahoma, and atrnleast two prominent black journalistsrntried to blame the massacre on whiternmen in general. Gun control groups triedrnto implicate the National Rifle Association,rnwhile the New York Times, thernWashington Post, USA Today, the majorrnnews magazines, and countless punditsrnand self-appointed “experts” on extremismrnsought to connect gun owners,rnhome schoolers, the religious right, taxrnresisters. Confederate Flag defenders,rnlargely nonexistent “white supremacists”rnand neo-Nazis, and, most of all, the ominousrnand sinister “militia movement”rnwith the bombing.rnForemost to use the atrocit- for politicalrnpurposes. President Clinton, in whatrnwas perhaps the most repellent act in hisrnlow and unnotablc career, exploited anrnostensible commemoration of the victimsrnof the massacre to link conservativerntalk show hosts to the kind of languagernthat supposedly incited the bombing,rnand a few days later he tried to smear thernNRA with the same opaque accusation.rnIn the meantime, he concocted a frighteningrnlegislati c package that enhancesrnthe police powers of the federal governmentrnto levels that Felix Dzerzhinskyrnwould have envied, all for the purpose ofrnspying on and controlling his more outspokenrncritics on the right under thernguise of “fighting terrorism.”rnOf course, the entire delirium wasrnfounded on a false but never-questionedrnassumption—that the bombing was inrnfact the work of anyone on the “right” inrnany sense. Mr. McVeigh, who has exhibitedrnserious mental problems since hernwas a teenager, had no connections tornany right-wiirg group or movement. Hernhad apparently attended one meeting ofrnthe so-called “Michigan Militia,” alongrnwith his pals, the Nichols brothers, one ofrnwhom had started blabbering sentimentsrnthe militia members found objectionablernand was promptly told to leavernand not come back. None of them wasrnever a member of the Michigan Militiarnor any other militia group, as the MichiganrnMilitia itself quickly announced, andrnsome weeks later Mr. McVeigh’s lawyersrnstated that their client firmly denied anyrnmembership in any such organization.rnNevertheless, for weeks, virtually everyrnnewspaper in the country repeatedly insertedrninto every news story the sentence.rnworthy of Lyndon LaRouche, thatrn”McVeigh has been linked with the militias.”rnBut as a matter of fact, the onlyrnreal “link” that existed between Mr.rnMcVeigh, the other main suspect, TerryrnNichols, and any organized group wasrnthat the’ had both served in the Arm)’rnand in the Persian Gulf War. Mr.rnMcVeigh’s zest for blowing up Iraqisrnhelped earn him speed’ promotion tornsergeant and a chest full of medals, and itrnperhaps tells us more than we want tornknow that the unprovoked slaughter ofrnIraqis bv American forces in that warrnseemed to elicit the only talents Mr.rnMcVeigh possesses and that the Armyrnseems to have been the only institutionrnin Mr. McVeigh’s life in which he yvasrnable to do anything well. If it’s a “link” tornOklahoma City you’re looking for, thernPersian Gulf War seems to have providedrnsonre excellent schooling.rnWhether the regime’s campaign ofrnsmear, terror, and repression will succeedrnin silencing its enemies and criticsrnremains to be seen, but regardless ofrnthe delusions and misconceptions thernregime’s watchdogs hac invented, the)’rnalso, perhaps unintentionally, managedrnto uncover a real and important truthrnabout the major social and political divisionsrnthat are beginning to redefinernAmerican political culture. The truth isrnthat, even though the Oklahoma Citrnbombing was apparenth the work of arnsmall and isolated band of crackpotsrnunconnected to any larger organizationrnor movement, the ruling elites of thisrncountrs arc sitting on top of a politicalrnbombsiiell that is considerably larger andrnmore dangerous to them than anythingrnSergeant McVeigh could pack into arnrental truck.rnIn their zeal to expose the alienationrnand resentments that supposedly fed thernbombing, the national media did in factrnreveal at least parts of this truth. Thus,rnWashington Post reporter Dale Russakoff,rnin a news story of May 5, interviewed therncitizens of Meadville, Pennsylvania, onrntheir reaction to the bombing and theirrngeneral vieyv of the nation and the worid.rnWhat he discovered was an authenticrnpopulist counterculture that defines itselfrnoutside and against both the federalrngovernment and the dominant culturalrnmainstream of sitcoms and fast food.rn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn