In the past, I have been pretty vocal on Facebook and several other social media sites about Covid and the present political situation in the United States. I have (had) a fair number of conservative MAGA friends up until I started answering their questions on Ivermectin - you know that Horse Paste stuff that is worthless in treating Covid. I lost a number of friends with MAGA beliefs because I told them things they didn't want to hear about treating Covid. One even had the audacity to tell me Donald Trump knew much more about treating the disease than I ever would and that I needed to quit misinforming the public. Never-mind that I've had a lot of training in infectious disease and lectured on the subject in something like 50 countries.
Anyhow, I am also a ham radio operator and these days I spend more time listening than transmitting. It seems like a lot of the hard-core MAGA's live in ham radio world and I've had a few run-ins with them over the 'facts' supporting their beliefs, some of which left me with worries of someone doing serious harm to my well being. As my photography career began to take off, I adopted a policy of not trying to piss anyone off for fear of driving away customers. So, I have been silent.
But the more I thought about it and listened to the MAGA hams out there in radio land, I began to realize that I was doing exactly what they want - staying silent so they can continue to promote and grow their unfounded views upon the rest of the world.
Lately I've been listening in on a group that calls themselves 'The Friendly Bunch Conversation Group' on 3.919 MHz every night from 7pm EST until about 10pm. What I am hearing there is incredible. It seems like the Friendly Bunch is friendly enough to those who believe in in the same MAGA-based BS that they do . Last night, I discovered a few really interesting things in listening to them. Right now in the news, everyone is pointing to the Donald's mental acuity decline because he keeps saying he ran against Obama in 2020.
That was not a gaffe. In listening to the Friendly Bunch, I came to appreciate that MAGA views Obama and Biden as one in the same person. Their discussion also brought up, as it quite often does, some mayhem that is going on in the world, to which someone eventually asks 'was the person black or white'? Of course, the respondent always says black to which a lot of 'uh hums', and 'that says it all' are offered by the plethora of Friendly Bunchers listening in.
Pure and simple, it is the same thing Rush Limbaugh did when he was still alive. He always called Obama by his full name, Barak Hussein Obama, emphasizing 'Hussein' for the fear and hatred it elicited in his listeners. Donald is smart. He is playing on his supporters fears by equating Biden with Obama to suggest that he is really running against the black radical in the next election, and this is usually followed with a diatribe to include the word 'rigger' as many times as he can. It really stokes up fear and keeps his base cememted together as I discovered in listening to the Friendly Bunch.
Also, by listening to the Friendly Bunch and a recent teleconference by my local US representative, Chuck Edwards, I realized that the boarder crisis is being used to scare everyone into line, and the Friendly Bunch has wasted no time in picking up on it. The line that the Friendly Bunch is promoting is that the terrorist group Hamas is infilitrating the Mexican Border and is headed straight to rural America to specifically target God-fearing Christians. This then morphs into a need to be prepared for the coming invasion of rural America by stocking up on as many guns and ammunition as possible.
As this happens, the Friendly Bunch conversation then goes into taking back America to preserve the good conservative Christian values that all good Americans abide by and the safety that comes with it. Wrestling leadership from anyone and everyone who does not believe as they do is of paramount importance. It is something else to listen to the Friendly Buch echo chamber of 'uh huhs', 'yes your exactly right' and Echo Echo Echo just to reinforce everyone staying in line ad thinking the same way.
Our local US representative Chuck Edwards is now doing pretty much the same thing. At his last town hall, he learned that a collection of MAGA living in Edneyville, NC is most concerned about terrorists coming in from the Mexican border with the intent of coming straight to Henderson County, NC to harm them. Since then, his constituent emails have been nothing but terrorist at the border fear because he discovered that this coalesces his voters.
The whole situation is absolutely unreal. Firstly, I'd like to promote my photography and share it to others. But something inside me says that if these MAGA extremists continue to go unchecked while we look the other way, artists like myself will ultimately end up in the same boat as artists did in 1400's Portugal when the only acceptable art was renderings of the Madonna and Child. They are, pure and simple, a bunch of aging, white male, SOB's with a chip on their shoulder thinking somehow they got the short end in life and never consider looking at their own role in producing their lot in life.