This Is What Courage Actually Looks Like

While Christian nationalists feign oppression here in the States, Russian women are beaten by police for protesting the war.

Ellis Brooks

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March 6th protester in Perm, Russia. (Photo: Rita Polishchuk / Meduza)

While anti-war protestors took to the streets in Russia, Ricky Schroder joined the People’s Convoy to protest mildly inconvenient mask policies.

“We’re not livestock,” he said, using his Instagram account to confront some imaginary entity. “Unless you’re ready to, I guess, kill us all, you better change your minds because we’re not going to live as slaves.”

Of course, Schroder isn’t actually enslaved. He’s just foghorning Christian nationalist rhetoric, a variant of white supremacy that seeks to replace democracy with an authoritarian government guided by “God’s law,” which, unsurprisingly, favors white evangelical Christian men and requires the oppression of everyone else. It’s an anti-democratic ideology that flatters the most fragile of egos, because to be a Christian nationalist is to be a perpetual victim of your own imagined oppression.

As a result, you see a lot of hyperbole and fantasy. It befuddles the average onlooker to see these grown men shriek about freedom while using their freedom to shriek because it is so clearly detached from reality. But this ideology has thrived in the United States for well over a century and continues to be the driving force behind actively destructive legislation, from book bans to the criminalization of bodily autonomy to the promotion of discrimination and violence against marginalized people.

But to Schroder, like all Christian nationalists, the real injustice is a mundane health policy. Because they don’t know what oppression is.

“You’re telling me I can’t come into this museum without a mask?” he bellows with righteous indignation in yet another Instagram video.

Thanks to the First Amendment, Schroder can safely join the People’s Convoy to act out his fantasies. Meanwhile, in Russia, anti-war protesters have been pushing back against their government with action that requires actual, not imaginary, courage. And journalists, who are experiencing extraordinary censorship with the sudden criminalization of accurate war coverage, are fighting to ensure these…

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Ellis Brooks

Writer. Historian. Harlot. Supremely sex-positive and pseudonymous. she/her