Science

Deciphering the symbols of the extreme right in Capitol Riot

Militiamen proudly showed up carrying their group’s emblems – American flags with stars replaced by the Roman numeral III, spots reading “Guardians of the Department.” The alt-right species wore Pepe the Frog masks, and QAnon followers can be seen in T-shirts urging people to “trust the plan.” The Zealots brought their own alternate whites from the Crusader Cross.

And then there were thousands of Trump supporters wearing MAGA gear – flags, hats, T-shirts, thermos and socks. One of the flags depicts President Trump as Rambo. Another photo showed him riding on a Tyrannosaurus Rex and carrying the type of grenade launcher that was seen on the streets of Mogadishu or Kandahar.

Icons of the American far-right were displayed on January 6 during the violence at the Capitol Building. For many Americans, the astonishing collection of symbols, logos, and images was a striking aspect of the unrest, revealing an alternate political universe where violent extremists, vocal racists and conspiracy theorists march side by side with evangelical Christians and Trump supporters of the suburbs and the youth. Those who enjoy making memes to “own a libido”.

They are united by loyalty to Mr. Trump and a firm belief in his false and discredited determination to steal the election. The absurdity of many of the images – corrections that read “Zombie Outbreak Response Team,” for example – only failed the sincerity that inspired hundreds of the crowd to launch a deadly attack on Congress.

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