Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) tweeted over the weekend to share a bizarre far-right meme promoting white nationalism through a depiction of sex work, and connected to threats of death to legislators.
Not everyone skimming Gosar’s timeline, or seeing a retweet, might recognize the slogan, but for those who do, it’s an alert to identify the poster’s sentiments. The line is “America First is inevitable.” A reader without the history of the slogan might think it’s just encouraging voters to support taking care of needs at home, but the truth is darker.
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) March 7, 2021
As seen above (and a screenshot will be appended below in case of deletion) Gosar’s meme is no great feat of wit. It’s just a person in a short dress leaning into a car window to offer services to the driver. His response text has been changed to request that she “tell everyone America First is inevitable.”
It’s an easy dogwhistle to scroll past without ever noticing — but if “America First” (which the Washington Post explains here was originally popularized by Nazi sympathizers in the 1930s) doesn’t set off enough alarm bells itself, here’s the history of the rest of the slogan.
Political Research Associates explains, it connects back to Nick Fuentes. After the deadly Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, Fuentes became a leader in white nationalist movements, boasting on that day to declare that “a tidal wave of white identity is coming.”
Now, Alternet reports, he has a podcast that promotes his America First ideology, and “America First is inevitable” is a motto.
According to the SPLC, Fuentes finally began being banned from some platforms after the Capitol protests also turned deadly, two days after he declared on air, “What are we going to do to them? What can you and I do to a state legislator besides kill them?”
While most of Gosar’s 100k+ followers may scroll past that meme without ever recognizing the line, those already connected to the extremist movement, those familiar with Fuentes’ rhetoric in particular, will see approval and support in it — an effective dogwhistle.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com