Trump Catapulted America into a New Era of Radicalization
He is using social media and the pulpit of the White House to advance his demagoguery and pave the road to ruin.
By Ayman Mohyeldin
Three days after the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, I received a message from an old high school friend. The message read: “Ayman, I am sure you have seen the news. I made a public statement about the death of my sister-in-law Rosanne Boyland from Kennesaw who died on Wed. at the Capitol. My wife and I believe she was radicalized in a very short time inside of 6 months […] would you be willing to hear her story?”
My immediate reaction was shock. I had been intensely covering the insurrection on the air as part of our wall-to-wall coverage on MSNBC, but I had not yet connected the dots of who Rosanne Boyland was, nor where she was from. Soon after I reconnected with my friend who initially messaged me, Justin Cave, I would learn that not only did Boyland grow up in my hometown but that we had also attended the same high school a few years apart.
I was also surprised that Cave had used the word “radicalized” to describe the transformation his sister-in-law had undergone. Boyland was not a political person. She avoided crowds, and before last year she had never voted in an election. So how did she go from that to becoming a foot soldier in a movement that threatened the very essence of American democracy?
As I would learn, everything Boyland would come to believe — her fervent convictions about Donald Trump and QAnon, which drove her to fight and die at the Capitol that day — she had come to believe in just a few short months before her death, according to her family.