What is the #WalkAway (referring to the Twitter “hashtag”) movement, and who started it?
Brandon Straka is an artist, and a gay man, who lives in New York City. He was devastated when Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump. He was one of those people who posted crying videos on Facebook, lamenting the end of the world as he knew it.
Over a year later, Straka posted another video that has since gone viral and has given rise to a new movement. “I became a liberal because I am against racism, I’m against judging people based off of their sexual orientation or their gender. But what I started to see happening more and more all the time were these very same behaviors sort of in the reverse of what is stereotypical.”
It was because of this realization that Straka was inspired to create the #WalkAway campaign in June of 2018. #WalkAway is a social media movement that “encourages lifelong liberals and Democrats to walk away from their party and explore conservative politics with an open mind.”
Straka feels, “The left practices tolerance and diversity, but in a superficial way, with no regard to individual thought or personal belief. If you express an opinion that’s outside of what their ideology is, there is no tolerance and there is no diversity.”
“I don’t think that being hostile towards heterosexual people helps gay people,” he says. “I don’t think that being hostile towards men empowers women. I don’t think that being hostile towards white people empowers black people.”
Straka grew up in a small town in Nebraska, and he knew a lot of people who voted for Trump. “I was really on a quest to try and understand why they voted for this man who was deemed a racist and a bigot.”
When Straka dug deeper into the media’s coverage of Trump, he discovered a lot of inconsistencies, however, that disturbed him.
“I started to see that I had been incredibly unkind and judgmental towards all of these people in the country who I thought were horrible people, because the media had made me believe that these people were terrible people, when in fact it wasn’t true.”
Straka reached out to liberal friends and family, asking if they understood how the mainstream media was manipulating the public’s perception of President Trump. As a result, he found himself being shut out. “People were starting to disengage with me, they were starting to cut me off in real life. They were starting to cut me off on social media. There were all these different things that people were saying about me in order to be able to justify that I had sort of walked away from the camp and walked away from the groupthink.”
According to Brian Prowse-Gany and Joyzel Acevedo of Yahoo News, “For Straka, the turning point had come. As he sat down to write what he calls his definitive manifesto, it dawned on him that perhaps he could create a video campaign that would inspire others such as himself, former liberals who no longer identified with the left’s ideology, and also conservatives who felt their image had been misconstrued by the media, to tell their own stories their way.”
“Soon after, he posted a video on Facebook and Twitter, where it quickly went viral. In it he says, ‘Once upon a time, I was a liberal, but liberalism has changed, and I will no longer be a part of an ideology or political party that represents everything that contradicts my values of unity, equal opportunity, personal empowerment, compassion and love.’”
“The #WalkAway campaign page on Facebook now has thousands of video testimonials, and Brandon says this is a clear sign that the Democrats are in trouble. ‘If any of them [the individuals in the Democratic Party] went to the page and watched the video testimonials of the people telling them exactly where the Democratic Party has gone wrong, I mean, this could actually be an incredibly useful tool for the Democratic Party.”
As could be expected, the biased mainstream media started to report that the movement was fictitious. They claimed that the #WalkAway campaign created “fake ads” using actors and models to portray supposed members, and that there even was some kind of Russian connection! What is it with democrats and Russians already? Straka has denied all of their accusations and added that, “No one ever reached out to me for comment, no one ever reached out to me to ask for my perspective as the founder of the campaign.”
Straka believes that the #WalkAway campaign is continuing to grow. He also believes democrat supporters have two ways forward: “Do I want to be in this different type of environment where we all don’t have to agree, but we do have to respect each other and treat each other with dignity? Or do I want to be in this other group where people are spitting on each other, throwing drinks in each other’s face, punching each other, screaming at each other, calling each other names, cutting off their parents, cutting off their friends? Which one is more attractive to you? What group do you want to be in?”
So, Mr. Straka believes there are two paths, or roads, that can be taken ideologically and politically, as do I. The situation causes me to recall a very famous poem by a famous American poet:
THE ROAD NOT TAKEN
By Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Let me know if you have chosen to #WalkAway, or not, or what your feelings are about this movement.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.” — Yoda
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