If you have spent any amount of time in the political reaches of the internet, you have probably heard of, listened to, or seen a mention of Brandon Straka’s #walkaway movement. Thousands of people are abandoning the Democrat party and registering as Republicans. A quick search on social media will net you hundreds of videos of those who, for one reason or another, have abandoned the political ideology that, in many cases, defined them.
It is unfortunate that we find ourselves in a time where our political ideology can determine who our friends are, what family members we associate with, or even who is allowed to eat a meal in peace at a restaurant (Sarah Huckabee Sanders comes to mind). It has often been commented by members of the Democrat party that conservative leaning people are racist, bigoted, uneducated, homophobic, hateful, sexist, and xenophobic. Take every single quality that defines the most evil, and hateful parts of human nature, and attach it to a person, that is how the vocal members of the Democrat party view people that do not agree with them. So why would anyone decide to join a group of people that they have spent years, or even decades, believing them to be evil?
I’ve been conservative my entire life, with the exception of a few years of my childhood I suppose. The leftist obsession with group identity is something that I have always struggled to comprehend. Or, perhaps more accurately, I don’t understand why. Why does the left segregate everyone according to group identifiers? Be it race, sexuality, gender, or ethnic descent, everyone, according to the left has a group they belong too. You are not Just an American, you are an African-American, Asian-American, or Latino (or Latinx if you are on the extreme), even who you choose to be intimate with can determine your group identifier. Though all these groups are built around their differences, one thing they all have in common is that they are all expected to vote Democrat.
However, there is one group that is all encompassing. Republicans. Republicans are evil. It doesn’t matter how ethnically diverse the GOP is. Republicans of all colors, all sexualities, all ethnicities, are racist, xenophobic, sexist, gun-toting angry old white men, even if they aren’t gun-toting, angry, or white. Group Identification as a political tool only works when groups are pitted against each other, and the left has leveraged this to the extreme. It isn’t enough for the left to simply have an enemy in the Republican party, they must also have a victim the enemy exploits. This is why Democrats segregate everyone by group identifiers, it’s easier to pit one group against another if they don’t look the same.
There is a seething hatred that exists in the heart of the left, and it is born out of their own group identity ideology. The anger directed at those who leave the Democrat party and reject identity politics is vicious. You need not look further that the last few remaining days of the 2020 election to find examples of this all over social media, especially on Twitter.
Two years ago Brandon Straka founded a grassroots movement that, in my opinion, has impacted the electorate forever. Regardless of the election outcome, the #walkaway movement, which started as a slow drip, appears to have turned into a tidal wave. People formally assigned to Democrat group identifiers are suddenly finding themselves at odds with those groups. Supporters of the #walkaway movement posting videos on social media often say the same things, that the Democrat party has become consumed by hate, and driven by victimhood. What drove me to write this wasn’t the fact that so many people are beginning to realize that, it’s how relieved, and genuinely happy people who make those #walkaway videos are.
Aiming hatred at a particular group (in this case Republicans) requires a significant amount of emotional investment, but this is nothing compared to the emotional devastation brought by believing yourself to be a victim. The idea that you have been held down, that you were sapped of your potential because of a decision someone made in the halls of power hundreds of miles from you can make a situation seem hopeless. But it isn’t, because it’s not true. Neither is it true that Republicans are evil, homophobic, gun-toting, white supremacists. The realization of that can be seen on the faces of the people in those videos, as is the relief in discovering that they are not victims.
Many of the people posting on social media for the #walkaway movement also express a great fear at the idea of vocalizing support for a Republican, to say nothing of being seen at a Trump rally. The idea of being a gay person at a Republican rally surrounded by angry, armed, homophobic, old white men does not seem like something anyone would volunteer for. Yesterday, Brandon Straka did just that. This is what he experienced…
You could argue that people will always want a selfie with a famous internet personality, but I would argue that the reason those people where so ecstatic about Brandon Straka attending that rally was not because of his fame. But because they have for decades been accused of being ignorant, uneducated, racist, homophobes. Straka has shown the world that they aren’t any of those things, and they deeply appreciate that. I know that I do.