Brandon Straka has become something of a living meme since the US election of 2016. Like many Democrat voters and avid Clinton supporters, Straka was not only disappointed at the election result; he was also bewildered, angry and afraid. As an openly gay man, Straka was convinced that the US had taken a sharp turn towards state sponsored oppression and bigotry. Like hundreds of thousands of others, he believed that he was in great danger following the 2016 electoral upset.
Prior to the election, Straka was pretty much a run-of the mill, box ticking American liberal, and it was those professed values of inclusivity and compassion that led to his now famous #WalkAway journey. Although he was doing the usual crying and condemning on social media following the Trumpocalypse, Straka possessed enough self-awareness to realise he must've missed something really big to be so badly blind-sided by Clinton's defeat.
So began his quest to understand why millions of ordinary Americans had voted for a man the mainstream media had declared officially off limits due to his racism, bigotry, misogyny and stupidity. What was happening? Were all these voters just dumb, easily fooled, or were they all just secret racists?
Brandon started his quest for truth with an inbuilt advantage over many American liberals. Having grown up in rural Nebraska, he'd been around natural conservatives during his formative years. Thus he knew that whatever else they might be, the people he'd grown up with were more than just evil bigoted caricatures. That answer was just way too convenient.
In talking to the folks from back home, Brandon committed the ultimate group-think heresy of interacting with people who saw the world differently from himself. From there his red pill moment wasn't long in coming. One of his friends from Nebraska sent him a video compilation of Trump waving his arms around and goofing off, doing his well-worn impression of someone who's been caught in a lie. It turns out that Trump had been doing that exact same act for years, and not suddenly singling out a disabled reporter which was the way some sections of the corporate media had framed it.
That was when the trouble really started for Brandon. Realising that he was mistaken about just one small detail, he reached out to his friends for their thoughts on the issue. What he'd expected was a rational refutation, discussion or acceptance that Trump didn't abuse a disabled reporter on that particular day. However, nothing had prepared him for the hostility and vitriol thrown at him by people he'd thought of as his friends. His crime? Daring to even ask a rational question about Donald J Trump.
That was the moment Brandon realised something was seriously wrong, and that the supposedly intelligent people around him were incapable of basic objective thought or rational debate. He also came to learn the personal cost of modern heresy as the LGBT community he'd supported his whole life suddenly turned on a dime and viciously attacked him for even daring to wonder if the election of Trump was the end of the world.
As every heretic will testify, from that moment there was no turning back. Forced to confront the illogical hypocrisy that underpinned so much of his own world view, Brandon Straka's divorce from progressive US politics was rapid and irreversible.
Brandon has encapsulated his personal journey in a hugely successful viral video, which has in turn encouraged thousands of others to escape from dogmatic group-think and strive for a more authentic kind of intellectual curiosity.
It may be scary outside that cosy and warm collective, but that place is not as safe and solid as its proponents claim. Besides, it's amazing to breathe the free air of an unexplored intellectual wilderness. No wonder CNN won't invite him on!