You hear the term #Red Pill a lot, recently. Maybe even more so since #Donald Trump took office. “Take the red pill,” they say. They, meaning the members of the alt-right, an offshoot of establishment Republicans and traditional conservativism who were inspired by then-candidate Trump’s fiery rhetoric and non-PC approach to governance.

Donald Trump’s harsh words calling illegal immigrants from Central America “rapists” and “murderers,” saying Megyn Kelly had had “blood coming out of her wherever” during a Fox News-GOP debate she moderated, and his continued bullying of the Republican field all the way to the party’s nomination, lit a fire under a sleeping segment of the nation, including myself.

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This is what we wanted. Not a racist, fear mongering demagogue, but a real person. Someone who spoke not with the measured words of a politician, but with the fervor of a prizefighter. We had measured and politically correct for the past eight years, and where did it get us? A loss of our nation’s vigor, a perceived impotence on the world stage… Had we truly gained the respect of our allies and the fear of our enemies under Obama, or were they applauding our acquiescence to a global effort of rolling over for terrorists and the true evils of this world? We tend to believe the latter is true. We wanted someone who could keep us firm to the values that made us great and kept our enemies scared. We knew Trump was a brawler, we knew it wouldn’t be pretty, but we knew he could get it done!

Take the red pill

Like in The Matrix, “You take the blue pill—the story ends… You take the red pill,” and you find the “truth.”

The analogy of the red pill is the perfect example of what it means to be part of this movement.

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You see the truth, you see the whole ugly thing. Maybe it’s not going to make you any happier, maybe the truth will hurt—and it will. But at least you’re living in the real world, and you stand a fighting chance in whatever might happen. You can prepare, you can fight, you can survive.

That’s what it means to “take the red pill.” You see the truth, you acknowledge that for better or for worse, you’re going to be on the right side of history. You don’t have to like it, but know you are now living in the real world.

What is the truth?

Here’s the truth: your government doesn’t like you. It will sacrifice you for the ideas they see as the “greater good.” They will protect the rights of illegal immigrants, refugees, and terrorists before the protect their own citizens from bodily harm, theft, and murder.

Make no mistake. In an ideal world, we want open borders! We want to get along with everyone; we truly believe everyone should have a place at the table. It’s not fun to block refugees seeking safe harbor from war-torn lands as many of our ancestors had long ago.

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But we don’t have a choice. Gutless leadership, political correctness, and an overblown federal bureaucracy over the past three decades have caused us to become a weak nation. We are not great anymore.

National security is inconsequential to the Washington elite—they’re too busy arguing about bathrooms and wedding cakes, and creating social programs that tell us what to think and say.

My story

I am a white, heteronormative male of some privilege in life. I went to very good schools, and I admittedly have had a lot of opportunities others did not. In my early twenties—just a few years ago—I felt like I wasn’t receiving the kind of success I felt I should have had at that stage in my life. I was adrift, mentally and spiritually. I was unhappy, and I wanted to blame other people for my unhappiness. I rationalized that although I had a lot of advantages in my life, I was being kept down because I did not subscribe to traditional beliefs within society. I was atheistic, and I consistently spoke up for gay and transgender rights (before it was cool) in rooms of people who probably were just there to have a good time. Yes—I was that kind of buzzkill at a party! I used to shove my enlightened morality in other peoples’ faces because what else did I have at that time?

I was a proud liberal, and I would provoke conflict with people with the intention of exposing their bigotry. Just so I could take the moral high-ground and feel better about myself. I was an unemployed writer, or freelancer, as I would tell my adoring fans on the left. I’d write about socialism and stories about aimless characters, and the people in my echo chamber would tell me how talented, sensitive, and enlightened I am. Looking back on those work, I admit the writing is good, but the ideas are so childish. And like the modern social justice warriors, anyone who disagreed with me was racist, sexist, homophobic, and definitely had a copy of "Mein Kampf" on their nightstand.

A little while later, I got an opportunity which opened up a new career path for me. I started making good money, so I no longer had to hide behind the idea that money was the root of all evil. Because now I could afford things! I became not only good but great at what I was doing. I developed a certain confidence in my professional acumen, and that translated to confidence in other areas of my life. I no longer had to hide or make excuses for my lack of success. I still had a liberal streak, but I no longer believed the world was out to get me. And I didn’t feel the need to put people down for believing what they believed.

Enter Trump

I remember having a conversation with my grandmother about Donald Trump in the Summer of 2015. He had just announced his candidacy, and my grandmother was already aboard the Trump train! I really only remembered him from his feud with Rosie O’Donnell in the early-to-mid 00s, and from that one year he headlined "WrestleMania." I always had a respect for the man—I felt he always commanded attention, and I liked that about him. But on this particular day, I brushed him and his candidacy off as a publicity stunt.

My grandmother and I argued. “He’s foolish,” I said. “He won’t go all the way.”

“You just watch,” my grandmother said.

Fast-forward to November, I caught one of the GOP debates on CNN—Trump was center-stage, Jeb Bush on his left, that dumb, lingering airplane in the background. I saw him dominate that night at the Reagan Presidential Library. Attacks came from all sides, yet nothing could stick. He was aggressive, he was sharp, he was glib. The rest of the Republican field bored me. They said the same things I’ve heard politicians say for the past 10 years. Trump’s approach was new—he didn’t have a politician’s filter. He was a bully, often crude. But to me, and to so many others, that translated as a definite strength. Finally, a candidate who fought for something! There was a vitality I’ve never seen in a political figure up till now in my short life. I knew that if he was this tough on the people in his own party, that he would certainly give our enemies hell!

I saw everyone on that stage try to take him down—and the media and special interests groups try the same behind the scenes. And every time they tried Trump would come back stronger, and his poll numbers would skyrocket. It told me the American people were finally seeing past the establishment’s master plan. On the Democratic side, I saw the same mobilization against Bernie Sanders. He didn’t handle it as well as Trump, and so he got demolished by Hillary Clinton, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and the DNC. One thing was clear to me: I couldn’t trust the establishment of either party.

If the powers that were had it their way (the Republicans and Democrats, the corporate media), it would have been Bush vs. Clinton. Again. And it wouldn’t have mattered who won because the result would have been the same as it was for all the Clintons and Bushes and Obamas over the past 30 years. Plus, the election and its aftermath wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting as it was!

Pill me, baby

So, when did I finally take the red pill, and why?

I would say it was early 2016. Around January or late-February. I started covering more and more of the primaries in my writings. I was deeply involved, and I felt like there were steaks now. I wanted to win, and I was surprised that Trump—now the likely Republican nominee—was the only candidate promising that. Like, how can a person run for the highest office in the land and not shoot for the very best?

After coming into political maturity during the beginning of the Obama administration, I felt like no president in my life had been consequential in any of the global affairs in my history. We read about Ronald Reagan conquering the evil empire in the 1980s, JFK’s masterful handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, FDR and the Depression, World War II, Lincoln, Jackson, ad Washington. Whatever the case, the part of history I was placed into was simply boring, led by beta males who would rather appease than lead with conviction and honor. And though there had been great opportunities for leadership in my lifetime, no leaders emerged.

Donald Trump, the bonafide #Alpha Male, the God-Emperor who promises to Make America Great Again, reminded people that it’s okay to have pride in your country. Being American doesn’t have to be a bad thing, in fact, it’s an exceptional thing. During the Obama era, it seemed almost a nasty thing to be pro-American and to be proud of our nation’s vast contributions to the world. If you subscribed to the belief of American exceptionalism, you were a white nationalist. You almost didn’t want to say anything good about your country for fear of upsetting someone. This is when the last layer of liberalism shed my skin. I realized a person could be in control of his or her destiny. It’s up to you whether or not you feel oppressed or empowered. You can only be a victim if you allow yourself to be victimized. Why give anyone that power over you? Why not take control, fight back! And I realize that under Trump, we can fight! Terrorism doesn’t have to be just another peril of living in a big city; we don’t have to live on our knees and bite our tongues in fear of saying something that may or may not offend someone. Much like how in my work, I can choose to be lazy or I can work hard and be rewarded for it.

Everyone has that basic level of control over their lives—and I felt like we’ve been sedated for so long by people telling us inaction is the best action, and the best way to defeat an enemy is to wait patiently by the river until his body washes ashore. It’s this widespread impotence, that the population itself just got used to rolling over for our enemies, our competitors, and even our allies to an extent. And Donald Trump woke us up!

That was when I took the red pill. When I realized how much my actions could mean, and what I—not a victim, but an empowered individual—could do in this world. The power that everyone has in this world truly is infinite.