Proud Boys See 'Reopen America' Rallies As Chance To Recruit Fellow Idiots To Their Cause
The "Reopen America" rallies happening across the country have managed to attract all kinds, and by "all kinds" we mean anti-vaxxers, QAnon people, white nationalists, neo-Confederate groups, your average unaffiliated selfish Trumpist asshole who can't conceive of why they should have to go perm-less just because it might save a few lives, and, of course, people who are all of these things at once. Probably most of them are all of these things at once.
Thus, it should come as no surprise that the Proud Boys are also involved. You remember the Proud Boys — the Trump-loving, cereal naming, milk-chugging, violent street gang/fraternity previously led by professional bigot Gavin McInnes and known for wearing matching outfits, assaulting protesters, and talking about "Western Chauvinism"? They are known to be friendly with various white nationalists and white nationalist groups and say a lot of racist things but also insist they can't be racist because of how one of their members is married to a former friend of mine (no joke) who happens to be a black woman? Whom we haven't heard too much about since that guy and some other members got sent to prison for assaulting people? Who avoid masturbation while still managing to act like total wankers 100 percent of the time?
U-U-UHURU (Proud Boys) youtu.be
Yep, they're still around. And they're hoping to use these rallies to attract new members and supporters and propel themselves into being minutely culturally relevant again.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports:
On April 19, the Proud Boys announced a plan called "Operation: Reopen Florida", which included a series of rallies around the state on April 25 to "stand for freedom & against the democrat driven unconstitutional lockdown." The promotional poster for the event, posted on the group's Telegram channel and the Facebook page of Proud Boy president Enrique Tarrio, directs you to the group's online store. There, you can sign up for emails to hear more about their upcoming events and purchase clothing and other items that provide financial support for the Proud Boys.
Ah yes, the Proud Boys online shop — where for $50, you too could be the "proud" owner of this travel mug reading StopTheSlander.com (a website that does not actually exist) on one side, and "Alex Jones, Gavin McInnes, Milo Yiannopoulos, Proud Boys and Laura Loomer" written on the other.
Stop the Slander travel mug
The Proud Boys are also using these rallies to rally people to their other causes, like their war against Antifa. As such, they have declared the nurses and other health care workers blocking Reopen America jerks from blocking hospital entrances to also be Antifa.
If anything demonstrates just how politicized the debate over social distancing has become, it is how the Proud Boys chose to frame a widely circulated photo of nurses blocking cars of anti-lockdown protestors at an intersection in downtown Denver. "Antifa Healthcare Workers Clash with Anti-Lockdown Protesters in Colorado," a headline on the website of a Florida Proud Boys chapter reads.
They've also been prominent participants and creators of Facebook "Boogaloo" groups — rightwing terrorist sleeper cells planning to use the pandemic to spark a Civil War. In fact, the name of the page they created on Facebook after getting kicked off of the platform last year is "West is the Best II: Electric Boogaloo."
Of course, when they are not planning to kill us all, they are searching to find some semblance of mainstream legitimacy. As such, two of them are running for office, one already serves on the Fennville, Michigan, city commission, and others have used the rallies as opportunities to pose with congressional candidates like Michigan's Mike Detmer:
The Proud Boys' participation in anti-social-distancing rallies only serves to further cement their connection to the mainstream, as evidenced by the way Mike Detmer, a Republican Congressional candidate for Michigan's 8th District, jumped to their defense after he was photographed with two of its members at the Lansing demonstration. Enrique Tarrio apparently reached out to Detmer after he received pushback for posing with the hate group, prompting Detmer to post a Facebook video describing the Proud Boys as a group fighting for "all the things that you value in your Constitution." In an accompanying post, he listed and described all of the official Proud Boys tenets, including "Reinstating a Spirit of Western Chauvinism."
Yep! A Congressional candidate posting about "Reinstating a Spirit of Western Chauvinism" like it's a good and normal thing. Those tenets also include "venerate the housewife" on account of how all the Proud Boys think women shouldn't have jobs and should instead stay home and have their babies and make them sandwiches.
On the bright side, while the Proud Boys may attract a few new members here and there, and may even make an impression on a few aspiring lawmakers, their participation in these rallies will only serve to remind the rest of the country of what absolute douchebags they are.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse