Part 2 of a KBI Series.
Cindy Costanzo – attending the ultra-MAGA, ultra-Christian ReAwaken America Tour in Miami this weekend – would like to bridge the divide that has separated Americans into the intractable camps of left and right, red and blue.
“We want freedom for everybody – the Democrats, the trans people, whomever,” said Constanzo, who is from North Palm Beach and has 14 grandchildren.
Her friend from West Palm Beach, Karen Adomi, said she would happily sit down with someone from the left of the political spectrum. “Showing love is what’s going to unite this country.”
But then she adds a caveat: “But loving somebody and allowing them to change the Biblical dynamics and precepts of our nation, that’s another thing.”
When it comes to fear and loathing for Joe Biden, there is nothing like the ReAwaken America Tour – where VIP tickets cost $500 at former President Donald Trump’s resort in Doral. Equal parts campaign rally, right-wing fear mongering and huckstering. There were 3,000 in attendance and a reported million streaming the conference, headlined by Gen. Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser.
Fear of nanotechnology in vaccines. Fear that teachers, liberal pastors and the transgender community are indoctrinating children. Hate for “globalists” like Bill Gates and “The Joe Biden crime family”, and on Saturday, even the newly announced head of Twitter, because of her ties to the Davos World Economic Forum, another bogeyman to the conspiratorialists attending.
“The person that he [Elon Musk] chose is a real eye-opener, and we’re gonna wait and see here, and I think we’re gonna see some changes, not necessarily for the better,” Flynn said.
Conspiracy theories are free range here: 2020 election fraud, Jan. 6 was an antifa set-up, the “deep state” is after the Trump family.
Inside the MAGA Roadshow
Part 1 – Lara and Eric Trump preview the Republican attack for 2024 at Flynn event
Part 2 – ReAwakening attendees want to mend the American divide, even as the conference wallows in hucksterism, conspiracy theories and an impressive Christian-themed alt-media machine
Part 3 – Anti-trans speech goes to extremes on Flynn’s tour
Invest in Local News for Your Town. Your Gift is tax-deductible
Costanzo didn’t hold back her disgust for the Biden Administration.“The last two years have literally destroyed every concept that I’ve ever had about freedom and our country,” Costanzo said of the Biden Administration.
Eric Trump, in his speech, doubled down on the “Biden Crime Family,. referencing a floundering Congressional investigation into foreign money received by the president’s relatives.
“Biden’s got into business, when their father became vice president of the United States, and the amount of money that they made off of this country and off of all of us, is astronomical,” Trump said.
Those attending the event – mostly white, but representing all ages and races, as well – were exceedingly polite and the camaraderie was real. But they adhered to a message so far from the mainstream media that it could be described as a parallel information universe.
A thriving alt-media machine, present in droves at the conference, has created an extraordinary information bubble with podcasts streaming non-stop on platforms like on Rumble, Clouthub, Twitch and complemented by a number of print products.
There is a level of infrastructure that is far deeper than just a cable TV news channel, a thriving cottage industry that few Americans even know exist.
The ReAwaken America Tour (16 stops in 16 cities since Biden took office) is the brainchild of anti-vaccine crusader Clay Clark and retired Flynn, who was pardoned by Trump for lying to the FBI about his conversations with a Russian diplomat.
“There has been an assault on families going on in this country for decades,” Flynn told the crowd on Saturday.
It is all wrapped up in old-fashioned Christian revivalism with pastors and praise bands leading the crowd, which often raised their hands in affirmation. On Friday, baptisms were performed in a small kiddie pool as those munching on Trump resort hotdogs sat a few feet away.
“Only Christians can save America,” said conference speaker Floyd Brown, who runs the conservative website The Western Journal.
CNN reported that Eric Trump told organizers to pull speakers who have promoted anti-Semitic views. Still there were the Roger Stones and the Mike Lindells along with alt-right stars like Mel K and controversial preacher Greg Locke.
The conference was swirling with people looking to make a buck.
A booth at the entrance had a sign reading “Free the Jan. 6 political prisoners,” while others hawked products from My Pillow, water filtration systems, playing cards, crucifixes.
Two of the headline speakers have promoted the use of ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine over vaccines and both were selling supplements. There was no acknowledgement the COVID-19 vaccine was developed in Operation Warp Speed, led at Trump’s direction.
Clark implored the crowd to download Trump’s Truth Social, which is sinking financially, causing his net worth to fall $700 million.
Many interviewed echoed what Lara Trump said during her speech Friday: “This isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats or about left versus right. This is good versus evil.”
Missing from the event were outward displays from the more extreme right-wing groups. No Proud Boys. No Moms for Liberty. No booths for County Citizens Defending Freedom, a group with ties to Flynn that has been active in Miami and Key Biscayne politics. If they were there, they were traveling incognito.
Others expressed a sentiment that the current divide in America is being fostered by globalists and oligarchs – Trump excluded, of course.
“Divide and conquer is the agenda,” said conference attendee Suzanne Solomon of West Palm Beach. “Globalism is the antithesis of nationalism. It’s the new world order.”
JOHN PACENTI is the executive editor of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV. You can reach him at [email protected]