Make Yourself Great Again! A group of millennial bros find salvation in the teachings of Donald J. Trump.

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Rotten
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Make Yourself Great Again! A group of millennial bros find salvation in the teachings of Donald J. Trump.

Postby Rotten » Sat May 21, 2016 7:13 am

On a morning in March, a 30-year-old computer technician named Nathan was tapping at the keyboard in his Pittsburgh home when he had a breakthrough with his support group. He wasn’t in rehab. And this wasn’t exactly AA. Nathan told me that for years, he’s fought alcoholism and an addiction to crystal meth, without much success—until he discovered the online self-help network that changed his life, a Donald Trump-themed discussion forum on the website Reddit. It was there that, two months ago, after weeks of reading messages of self-improvement and positive visualization, Nathan declared he had been saved, pecking out a message of hope and encouragement to his group under the title: “Quitting Drugs Because of Trump.”

“Trump has inspired me,” he wrote. “I’m getting sober and doing my bit to Make America Great Again. Thank you Donald!”

Nathan, who did not want his last name to be used for this story, is one of a substantial number of young men tapping into a growing informal online network: A dedicated denomination of self-improvement, built on the “teachings” of one Donald J. Trump. From his books, public statements, and general attitude toward the world, they’ve extracted a highly motivating philosophy of positive thinking and the virtues of self-love and brazening things out, as real men do. Their numbers are unknown, but the trend exists in the form of dozens of their posts flourishing online, bouncing across Trump discussion threads and Twitter and the right-wing blogosphere, peppered with buzzwords and moments of epiphany. “Donald J. Trump has already won, and changed my life,” declares one poster. “How Donald inspired me to be a great American once again” proclaims another. And many more: “Trump inspired me to change my life.” “Story of how Donald Trump changed my life around.” “Donald trumps campaign has changed me.” “Trump saved my life!” “Hey Brigadiers, stop wasting your time and learn what this is. Make Yourself Great Again!”

In a phone conversation, Nathan told me that he had been able to turn his life around thanks to Trump’s “high energy” persona, his refusal to give in or be pushed around—and his declared abstinence from alcohol, tobacco or drugs. “I’ve had an ongoing fight to get off drugs, but this is the most successful I’ve ever been,” he said. “I was given the strength and the resolve of spirit to not buy drugs again.” He took a deep breath. “Through the Trump campaign.”

When Nathan posted his message to his Trump discussion thread last month, he was smothered by a wave of positive responses, each a variation on a familiar theme. “I’m also quitting booze for many reasons, Trump being one of them,” commented one user. Wrote another: “It might sound lame, but trying to be more like Donald has led to positive changes in my life.” A commenter described his own years-long drug habit, chiming in, “After reading 2 of Trump’s books I decided it’s time to quit.” And then, about two-thirds down, the prevailing leitmotif appeared:

“I just tell myself ‘it’s time to make myself great again.’”

In gargantuan, all-capital letters: “MYGA!”

MYGA, of course, stands for “Make Yourself Great Again,” a riff on the Trump campaign slogan that appears frequently in these posts. Nathan’s message, and dozens like it, are appearing as a new strain of Trumpism on forums like Reddit and 4Chan, and echoing on darker corners of the Internet like the white nationalist forum TheRightStuff. Posters take turns soliloquizing on the lessons of self-reliance and perseverance from Trump’s life story, from his childhood and adolescence, to his early days as a struggling businessman, to his seemingly constant high energy as a 69-year-old man who refuses to drink or smoke (and who required the same of his children).

“Instead of an AA meeting, what you’re seeing here are good habits being broadcast as popular. It’s cool to make yourself better, to be trying to improve yourself, because of Donald Trump,” Jon Sharpe, a 36-year-old lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, told me. After seeing a tide of inspirational Trump-themed messages, Sharpe formed a Reddit group and called it MYGA, intending to vacuum up the people and posts espousing the philosophy. (His other Reddit adventures include moderating the forum HottiesForTrump.) He later spiked the idea, partly for lack of time, and partly for redundancy, citing the esprit de corps that already exists organically on Reddit. “You get the satisfaction that I’m part of this club,” Sharpe explained. “I’m doing something because of this, and everybody’s around to pat you on the back and say, yeah, this is awesome. Make yourself great again.”

MYGA posts cover topics as wide-ranging as they are banal: Themes include going to the gym, asking out beautiful women or asking for a raise. In one post titled, “Life Tips I’ve Learned from Watching Trump!!” an Illinois man lists a dozen areas of personal improvement in which he looks to Trump, including “Being a great parent” and “NO DRUGS AND NO ALCOHOL.” In a now-deleted post, a user noted that watching Trump inspired him to get into the “gym 5 times a week from 0,” adding, “no more pot, cigs, cut drinking a lot.” Finding Donald Trump, writes another poster, “inspired me to become the high-energy person I used to be,” adding, “I decided that I want to get back into running 10k races. ... Remember guys, you can’t make America great again without feeling great yourself.”

“We take Trump’s energy and just magnify it,” Nathan told me. “We’re constantly feeding on each other’s energy. It’s great. It’s fantastic. It’s positive.”

The most common thread in the world of MYGA is a feral obsession with Trump’s domineering maleness. In posts and interviews, MYGA writers express varying degrees of the idea that the Trump campaign is helping them become real men—in similar terms as their understanding of Trump’s unapologetic, aggressive vision for the country.

“He’s this alpha kind of guy, and I do think that resonates with young men,” a 21-year-old professional athlete from Idaho and a MYGA poster who uses the name HighlyVenomous, told me. (He didn’t want me to identify his event, but instructed me to describe it as “extreme sports.”) Sharpe said the same. “He comes across as an alpha male. He’s sure of himself, and whatever flaws he does have, like his hair, he doesn’t care, and he runs with it,” he said. “Mainstream politics requires that sort of demure attitude, you have to almost apologize for whatever good you have. Trump doesn’t do that.”

“The Apprentice really showed me what a world class alpha male looks like and operates,” writes one poster in the Reddit thread LifeProTrumpTips. “As a group of dominant alphas you can achieve impossible things.”

As the MYGA crowd’s open obsession with dominance, manliness, and alpha-status suggests, the gospel can quickly turn down a dark corridor. The deeper one ventures into the strange world of MYGA, the more the country’s problems become laced with an array of white-male-themed anxieties—men are apologizing for their maleness, the users say; policies are lifting up the weak and punishing the strong; and culture at large is becoming more feminized. Go deep enough, and you’ll hit the so-called alt-right movement, an online waystation where MYGA has thrived most principally as an ideation of male virility. (The world of the alt-right is best known for creating the “#Cuckservative” hashtag—a racially tinged portmanteau of cuckold and conservative, created to call out those who are insufficiently far-right.)

[continued]
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/ ... z49CqPadxY
Last edited by TheDeamon on Sat May 21, 2016 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Make Yourself Great Again! A group of millennial bros find salvation in the teachings of Donald J. Trump.

Postby TheDeamon » Sat May 21, 2016 11:05 am

Make Yourself Great Again?

Oh joy,, not just a bunch of people waxing nostalgic, but delusional as well(They probably weren't all that great to begin with. But then, there are plenty of success stories out there where ignorance actually was a critical key to their success, not that they'll normally state it that boldly). I do strongly suspect a large part of the online version is trolls though. I'm sure there are a few "true believers" but when dealing with a population of hundreds of millions, seeing thousands of people fall out of the crazy tree on a particular item isn't shocking. Seriously, finding 10,000 people in the US who honestly believe that way is on the order of 0.0031% of the entire population, most mental illnesses in the DSM have a suspected incidence rate well beyond that.

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