Terry McLaughlin: A movement or much ado about nothing?
The #Walkaway Campaign began in May with hairstylist Brandon Straka explaining in a YouTube video why he was leaving the Democratic Party.
By July 12 this movement had 112,000 members. One week later, that number had increased to 149,221 — a gain of over 5,000 former Democrats per day who have taken to social media to explain why they have turned away from the Democratic Party.
CNN’s recent headline “Russian bots are using #Walkaway to try to wound Dems in midterms,” among other media reports, seems to imply that some in the media are characterizing this movement as much ado about nothing. Is it?
Dubious about this movement himself, Scott Adams, the creator of the “Dilbert” cartoon, decided to research and study the thinking behind it. On July 3, he presented his own YouTube video dissecting the foundation of the #Walkaway Campaign as he saw it.
Two years prior, Adams had predicted that Donald Trump would “punch a hole in the universe,” and through it “people would be able to see reality, sometimes for the first time.” Adams believes that when Straka “poked his head out of that hole,” he saw Democrat leaders using fear to manipulate people. In his video Straka states “They will insist that you are a victim doomed to exist within a system that is rigged against you … that you are a victim of systematic oppression … that you are a victim of your circumstances, and no amount of hard work or motivational action will ever allow you to overcome your victimhood or the privilege of those around you.”
Adams professes that President Trump also uses fear — but he believes it is fear of people outside of our country who “in many cases have actually killed people — like ISIS, and terrorists.” When discussing border security the President often points to MS-13 who, Adams reminds us, “are real people. MS-13 actually kills people.”
Adams states plainly that legal immigrants to our country, as a group, have a lower than average rate of crime and are a welcomed addition to our population. He believes that the rate of crime among illegal immigrants, however, is higher than their percentage of the population, so the fear presented by the President is directed “almost entirely on people outside our border who are actually dangerous … real people who really are hurting people — things you should be worried about.”
What Adams theorizes Straka realized is that the Democrats’ version of fear is a manufactured fear of our fellow citizens — fear of each other.
Adams continues, “Close to 100 percent of the fear that people have for this President is based on non-objective media coverage … I’m talking about the irrational fear that makes people vomit and shake, because that’s what people are experiencing.”
“This is a real medical problem — they have lived for 18 months in total fear. Where is that fear coming from? Well, they’ve been manipulated into believing it’s coming from the President, that it’s because of the things he’s doing, the things he’s thinking, the things in their imagination he might do … Those things all come from the press — that’s not coming from the President.”
Adams continued to study this movement, viewing videos such as the one from a woman who is a self-described liberal married to a Navy veteran who voted for Trump. She says, “I was horrified that our friends now say I married a racist, homophobic, misogynist, horrible man. My Facebook page is just cancer, people hating each other. I won’t be voting for a party that accuses everybody of being racist.”
Adams concluded that what Straka started “is far more important than I imagined … He figured out that Democrats are manipulating people into this permanent unhealthy, very physically and mentally unhealthy, state … The Democrats, for their political benefit have caused the entire left to be in physical and mental distress for two years … Does policy matter to you when you realize that your own team has made you deeply unhealthy for two years, intentionally, for their own gain?”
Then Adams asked “Do you believe that Chuck Shumer and Nancy Pelosi are as afraid for the future as they have made you, the voter, feel? Not a chance — and you can tell just by looking. Have you watched an actual anti-Trumper, a regular citizen, who has fear of the future of the country because of the President? This is no joke — their fear is physical, they are physically shaking — you can see it in their eyes. There is a real deep fear. And who put it there? Their own leaders. Do their leaders share that fear? Not a chance.”
The members of the #Walkaway Campaign are not necessarily turning to the Republican Party, but they are rejecting the idea of victimization. They are declaring their freedom as individuals, free from irrational fear. As Candace Owens of TurningPoint USA put it, “They are awakening to the self-actualization and fierce can-do spirit that is at the very core of the American experiment.”
But don’t accept a cartoonist’s theory of this movement. Investigate it yourself at http://www.WalkAwayCampaign.com. Watch videos posted by thousands of members and see if their message resonates with you — or if it is just much ado about nothing.
Terry McLaughlin, who lives in Nevada City, writes a twice monthly column for The Union. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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