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April 19: The Far-Right's Day of Infamy
LONG SHADOW Episode 2: "The Revolution Begins"
Today is April 19th, one of the most famous—and infamous—dates in American history, a day marked by revolution (the battles of Lexington and Concord), tragedy (the fiery end of the 1993 siege in Waco, Texas), and terror (the Oklahoma City bombing, two years later in 1995). Today is the 30th anniversary of the end of that Waco siege, which left dead 76 members of an apocalyptic religious sect.
There is a much bigger connection between these events than we typically understand, which was part of the reason that I’ve spent the last nine months working on the second season of my podcast LONG SHADOW: RISE OF THE AMERICAN FAR RIGHT, to try to tell the story of how intertwined these events truly are.
I hope you’ve had a chance to listen to last week’s first episode (Apple, Spotify, YouTube), about that Waco siege, and in today’s second episode, “The Revolution Begins,” we rewind to look at the early origins of the modern far-right, how it grew out of the roots of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party, and was transformed by a terrible novel known as The Turner Diaries.
Plus, you’ll hear what to me was perhaps the most moving story I came across in the entire series: The story of the innkeeper near Ruby Ridge, Idaho, who ended up feeding the army of federal agents, Neo-Nazis, and militia groups who descended on that small rural town during another, also infamous siege a year before Waco.
And we set the ground for some surprises in next week’s third episode, which will focus on the Oklahoma City bombing.
Throughout the season, you’ll hear these themes of tyranny and revolution—and, without giving too much away, it won’t surprise that you in Episode 5, we tell the story of the start of the Oath Keepers and founder Stewart Rhodes and how, long before he was part of the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6th, he rallied his militia group that famous green of Lexington, Massachusetts.
This whole season at some level is about how the events of April 19th turned into a myth that has powered the far-right and inspired it to try to overthrow our government and threaten our democracy.
Listen here to the second episode on Spotify or on Apple Podcasts:
I hope you’ll have a chance to listen in the days ahead.
PS: You’ll also hear in today’s episode Dr. Kathleen Belew, the fantastic and brilliant scholar whose work on the modern far-right has been groundbreaking. I’ve long been a fan of her writing, work, and tweeting — her book BRING THE WAR HOME is one of the critical volumes for anyone trying to understand this world — but I got to speak with her for the first time as part of this season, and, wow, she was one of the most fascinating interviews of the entire season for us. If this episode is the first time you hear of Kathleen Belew, follow her.