Cults we never heard of; Twitter’s arrogance; and society's growing cancel culture has run amok

By Gary Abernathy

Most Republicans have probably never heard of the cults that are allegedly giving marching orders to the GOP

As someone who took a break from journalism to work for about 15 years in Republican politics – including for two state parties and three members of Congress - I still feel relatively connected to the majority of the most-read GOP sources of news and information, and fairly knowledgeable about the most influential party leaders.  

So, let me share some quick facts. The first time I ever heard of QAnon was when the mainstream media started writing about how influential it is. The first time I ever heard of the Proud Boys was when the mainstream media started asking President Trump to denounce them because they were so influential. The first time I ever heard of Alex Jones was when the mainstream media started writing about how important and closely followed he was.

The same is true for most of my Republican friends when I ask them, “Did you ever hear of (fill in the blank) before the media started writing about them?” Only occasionally is the answer in the affirmative, and that’s usually along the lines of, “Yeah, but I don’t really know anything about (him or them).”  

I’m not saying these people and groups don’t wield influence over some Republicans. They clearly do, and the results aren’t pretty, ala the despicable attack on the U.S. Capitol by fringe rioters who became President Trump’s Frankenstein Monster and whose actions provide critics with an excuse to paint most of the GOP and all Trump supporters with the same brush. What I am saying is that in my opinion the vast majority of rank-and-file Republicans never heard of these people or groups until they read or heard about them from their mainstream media outlets, and still don’t follow them at all. Unlike what some in the media would have us believe, neither the GOP in general nor most Trump voters specifically are, for the most part, in the clutches of any of these supposedly all-powerful, cultish gurus. But it makes for a good storyline as part of the effort to marginalize and malign the party as a whole – a concerted effort which we are witnessing in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Twitter has no respect for the people we elect to represent us, and it’s becoming more chilling with each passing day

Twitter – in addition to silencing the president of the United States – over the weekend suspended the account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) who the Associated Press describes as a supporter of QAnon conspiracy theories.

Look, I don’t know much about Greene. She sounds a little out there to me, but that’s just based on what I’ve read. But she’s a duly elected member of Congress. Half the members of Congress make me scratch my head (hello AOC), but I wouldn’t support taking away their most important communication tools.

Twitter didn’t respond to the AP’s request for comment because, you know, it’s kind of a big deal and doesn’t have to. But the AP reported, “A statement from Greene’s team on Sunday included screenshots from Twitter which appeared to show the company informing the congresswoman she had violated its rules and would be prohibited from interacting with content on the site for 12 hours.”

This is ridiculous, and truly chilling.

Cancel culture reaches absurdity with calls to remove Trump from ‘Home Alone II,’ but here are more ideas

Our cancel culture’s top target is Donald J. Trump. His longtime enemies would love to erase evidence of his existence from the historical record. Among many examples are calls to digitally remove him from his brief appearance in “Home Alone 2,” where he gives directions to young Macaulay Culkin.

Culkin, being woke now, supports removing Trump from the less-than-classic John Hughes follow-up to the first incarnation of the “Home Alone” franchise. Culkin’s sentiments, however, are commendably being countered by actress Kristy Swanson, who tweeted last weekend, “If Cancel Culture is really going to have Donald J. Trump removed from the John Hughes movie ‘Home Alone,’ then in support of MY PRESIDENT, I’d like to have myself officially removed from the John Hughes’ films, ‘Pretty In Pink’ and ‘Ferris Buhler’s (sic) Day Off.’”

Swanson’s tweet was an excellent way to point out the absurdity of efforts to edit or revise past films, books or other works of art to make them more politically correct, and the outrageousness of cancel culture overall. But if this works, it opens up some promising possibilities. Can we digitally remove Alec Baldwin playing Trump for the last four years on “Saturday Night Live” and replace him with Darrell Hammond?