It happened over the weekend so I am not sure if all of you out there saw this, but Trump held a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, Saturday night. It was mostly the usual Trump rally, with attacks on the media, claims the 2020 election was stolen, and various other nonsense you’ve come to expect from a Trump rally. However, then it ended on a different and more disturbing note.
Literally, a bunch of notes.
this is one of the most bizarre things I've seen at a Trump rally. All it is missing is passing around Kool-Aid right after. pic.twitter.com/BmPOztb7kA
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 18, 2022
Then, people started doing what is in the feature image of this post. Doing this odd raised-hand one-finger salute. Bizarre, and a bit unsettling, but definitely also part of a recent trend of Trump and QAnon going through a process of full merger.
This, of course, is not good. I will also take this time to point out that all of the people who were crying “alarmist” in reaction to those who were writing about the cult-like tendencies of Trumpism need to wake up. It was always wishful thinking to dismiss the cult-ish aspect of Trumpism but now, it takes a striking level of naive to still think that.
Playing music like that at the end of a rally is very similar to an altar call, and having a QAnon theme playing during while there is a portion of the crowd doing raised-hand salutes brings to mind other fascist movements. Along with the raised hands and creepy Q music, he was also ranting about the “downfall of America” and using rather violent imagery.
It is not isolated to Trump rallies. Turncoat General Michael Flynn’s Re-Awaken America tours, along with Creep for Jesus Franklin Graham’s touring rallies and Seninent Sludge Pile Charlie Kirk’s “Great Awakening” events for GOP politicians, are happening in parallel. Kirk’s events are referred to as revivals.
I’ve seen this sort of thing over and over again I can anticipate the pushback to what I am saying. Sure, not everyone had their hand up, but will that be true in future Trump rallies?
But they are a bunch of buffoons, just like Trump, so what’s the big deal, you say? Yes, I know, the video of the militia guy nearly shooting his buddy in the head during training. But this crowd also includes people with military and law enforcement training, thanks to a years-long project to infiltrate the military and law enforcement to get that training. LOL, you scoff, what a bunch of lefty conspiracy theory nonsense. Except the George W. Bush Department of Justice raised the alarm about this SIXTEEN years ago.
And yes, Trump is a buffoon, but so was Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet, Amin, etc. They are all hilarious and goofy until they are killing and imprisioning. History tells us this.
When extreme politics and cult-like fundamentalism combine, we know the result. Things happen like flying planes into buildings. The Trump rallies and others have blended religious fervor, white-centered patriotism, and calls for violence into a noxious stew that we have not seen before in recent times in the United States. At least not at a political rally for one of the biggest figures in a political party.
Their beloved leader is declaring his political enemies to be literal demons. He keeps telling them, over and over again, that their way of life will be eliminated, perhaps even they themselves will be eliminated. Figures like Trump, Kirk, and Flynn are also filling these people with the idea that they can fight back against it, that they have the power to resist if they all pull together. Add into that end time prophecy that is believed as the gospel, literally, by these people, and how MAGA leaders are encouraging their followers that they can play a major role in bringing about the “End Times.” It all adds up to something very frightening, and ignoring it will not make it go away or prevent any future terror attacks or attempts to overthrow the government.
I have read several times over the last year that in any given society, about a third are open to authoritarianism. Much of the time, this is latent, but events can bring this out in the population. As this Twitter thread points out, people think of authoritarians as these monsters that lurk in the shadows, but that is just not true. They are our neighbors, the nice lady who always helps out with the church picnic, the guy who loans you his lawnmower, the smiling person at work, and yes, even your relatives.
1. When the rise of Nazism happened, Nazis were not all 6 foot tall super soldiers who carried guns. They were the nice old lady next door, the house mother who plays with her kids, the store clerk who would give you free stuff, etc. pic.twitter.com/sswbi9tLGH
— 🇯🇲Black🇭🇹 Aziz 🇳🇬aNANsi🇹🇹 (@Freeyourmindkid) October 26, 2018
I think some of the resistence to not seeing the clear signs in front of us, and the stakes for our nation, is based around people not wanting to think it is possible in America, and that their friends/neighbors/family members are capable of it. History tells us that is simply not true, and we ignore it at our peril.
The last word goes to The Boss, which a song that is ironic in some profound ways given what happened in Youngstown this weekend.