Military people proudly appeared with the emblems of their groups – American flags with the stars replaced by the Roman numeral III, spots that read “Oath Keepers.” All-right types wore the Pepe the Frog masks, and QAnon supporters could be seen in T-shirts urging people to “trust the plan.” White supremacists brought their variant of the Crusader cross.
And then there were thousands of Trump supporters with MAGA equipment – flags, hats, T-shirts, thermoses, socks. A flag portrayed President Trump as Rambo; another presented him riding on a Tyrannosaurus rex and carrying that kind of rocket-propelled grenade launcher seen on the streets of Mogadishu or Kandahar.
Uniting them is a loyalty to Mr. Trump and a firm belief in his false and discredited insistence that the election was stolen. The absurdity of many images – patches that read “Zombie Outbreak Response Team” for example, only masked an affection that inspired hundreds of the crowd to launch a deadly attack on Congress.
“It’s often all a caricature – it’s like military fan fiction – until it’s not, and it crosses a very dangerous line,” said Joan Donovan, research director for the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School.
“It’s fun until it’s scary,” she said.
These are some of the groups and their insignia.
Out in power were right-wing militias like the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, whose symbol, the Roman numeral III, could be seen on sticky notes and flags. Both groups are anti-government, pro-cannon and today consecrated Mr.
Others on the right who share the militia’s anti-government views often signal their faith with the Gadsden flag, a yellow banner dating back to the American Revolution with a rattlesnake and the phrase “Do not step on me.” Dozens were waved at the Capitol last week.
And then there is the Confederate battle flag. A man carried the banner for secession and slavery through the Capitol halls on January 6th.
Boogaloos distinguished themselves by wearing their signature Hawaiian shirts. A group of proud boys appeared in orange hats.
Both Boogaloos and Proud Boys include racists and anti-Semites, though the direct white supremacy tends to hold a lower profile. Some carry crusader crosses or Germanic pagan images that have become popular on the racist and anti-Semitic fringes. Others have adopted an “OK” hand gesture as their own.
Pepe and ‘Kek’
The frog Pepe, the smiling cartoon toad that has become a widely recognized symbol of the all-right crowd, was a common sight.
Also on display were the green-and-white flags from Kekistan, the fictional land that is home to the deity “Kek”. In the meme-driven culture of the all-right, a satirical religion has sprung up around Kek “as a way to troll liberals and self-righteous conservatives,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups. “He is a god of chaos and darkness with his head on a frog, the source of their imitation ‘magic’, which the all-right and Donald Trump owe to their success.”
The flag is partly derived from the Nazi flag, a design that is treated as a provocative joke in all-right circles.
This conspiracy theory erroneously claims that there is a cabal of Democrats, deep-seated bureaucrats and international financiers who use their power to rape and kill children, and that Mr. Trump was elected to defeat them.
Canard is intricate and confusing, but its iconography is clear and was plentiful: There were shirts with the letter “Q” or slogans like “Trust the Plan”; signs that say “Save the Children”; and flag with the abbreviation “WWG1WGA”, which stands for “Where We Go One, We Go All.”
Alongside the violent, the overtly racist and paranoid, there were thousands of devoted Trump supporters, some of whom even brought small children. The audience was filled with people in the MAGA regalia, and Trump flags were everywhere. Most just said “Trump”; others were a little more strange.
Comics and science fiction
The skull-like symbol of Punisher, an anti-Marvel cartoon hero who was a criminal, was a common sight. It has become a popular emblem on the far right in recent years and is sometimes used by police officers to signal each other without having to wear badges.
There were people waving the South Vietnamese flag, which disappeared decades ago when the North won the war. But now it is alive again, adopted by some on the American right wing as a symbol of anti-communist resistance.
Then there was the Zombie Outbreak Response Team. A man wearing a sticker with its emblem was photographed inside the Capitol. His face is veiled in the picture and he has not been identified. But the zombie team’s website describes its members as “preppers and survivalists preparing for all worst-case scenarios.”