The spread of conspiracy theories that confound any evidence that they were developed with any semblance of reality whatsoever has been a hallmark of right-wing MAGA fanatics during the Trump era, a not-unsurprising result of following a man whose rise to political prominence is directly tied to the lies of birtherism.
Donald Trump provided a potent formula for aspiring GOP political hacks: mix anxiety with fear, add a dash of unproven or outrightly false claims, stir with a mass-media blender, and garnish with social media virality to ensure that low information voters will flock to this bright and shiny potion of hatred that you’ve concocted.
Congress’ youngest member, Representative Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), has taken Trump’s unholy recipe to heart.
His response to President Biden’s proposal for a federal program of “door-to-door outreach” to help convince Americans in regions with exceedingly low vaccination rates to finally get their jab is a textbook example of denouncing a Democratic effort to save lives by inventing a conspiracy theory that plays off of the deepest fears and prejudices of his intended audience in order to falsely discredit an initiative that could only save lives and help the nation’s economic recovery.
Congressman Cawthorn, in an interview conducted yesterday by Right Side Broadcast Network at the CPAC conference in Texas, painted a picture of the federal workers who would conduct the door-to-door campaign not as a group of public health angels, but as a marauding army of invaders intent on harming the populace and stripping them of their rights and, even more improbably, their possessions.
“The thing about the mechanisms they would have to build to be able to actually execute that massive of a thing — and then think about what those mechanisms could be used for. They could then go door-to-door to take your guns. They could then go door-to-door to take your Bibles,” Rep. Cawthorn told his right-wing inquisitors.
Never mind the fact that the federal government has sent people door-to-door for decades in order to conduct the constitutionally mandated census every 10 years without any of Cawthorn’s fears being actualized, guns and Bibles are potent motivators for reactionary defensiveness.
It’s not the real possibility of anything that Cawthorn uses as his fear-mongering bait that is the most frightening aspect of his rhetoric, but his use of lies and outlandish fictional predictions to combat a common-sense public health measure.
Luckily, Cawthorn was speaking to a news outlet with a minuscule audience, and his fan base is a tiny proportion of that of the twice-impeached former president, so his manure won’t fertilize too much ground.
Still, for every Cawthorn, there is another Republican wanna-be-Trump who is spreading similar misrepresentations and poisoning the public discourse about vaccines and the pandemic, making our nation less safe.
These people must be called out and corrected at every available opportunity and their cynical media manipulation countered once and for all.
You can see Representative Madison Cawthorn’s interview with the Right Side Broadcast Network in the excerpt below.
Madison Cawthorn says today that Biden’s plan to send people door to door to offer vaccines is really a plot to confiscate people’s bibles and guns. pic.twitter.com/h6CPdJwv9t
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) July 9, 2021
Original reporting by Bob Brigham at RawStory.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.