After turning away from left-wing politics, a former Antifa activist and Democratic politician are launching a new campaign to challenge what they see as pervasive anti-Americanism among the country's youth.
Gabriel Nadales, an Antifa protester turned conservative activist, and Barrington Martin II, a former Democratic congressional candidate, launched a half-million-dollar ad buy last week through their new group Our America, aimed at empowering young people across the United States to "celebrate a pride in, connection to, and a responsibility for our community and country." The organization, whose advisory team includes conservative commentator Deroy Murdock, will also spend $2 million to produce online content that promotes what they say are America's unifying values: patriotism, freedom of expression, respect, dignity, and equal opportunity.
"Our America is specifically here to give people the full faith and confidence to be able to speak confidently about why they love this country," Martin, who primaried the late Democratic congressman John Lewis (Ga.) in 2020, told the Washington Free Beacon. "When I say ‘I love this country, it's one of the greatest gifts in the world,' you shouldn't scoff at me when we are all Americans."
Just 58 percent of Americans ages 18-29 believe the United States is "one of the greatest countries" in the world, according to a Pew Research survey in December, compared with 75 percent of Americans across all age groups. Nadales and Martin aim to bolster patriotic views among young Americans by challenging the narrative, promoted by left-wing media, politicians, and activists, that America is systemically racist and oppressive. Left-wing pundits like MSNBC host Al Sharpton, for example, spent Independence Day criticizing the United States, saying, "We've gone from Jim Crow to Jane Crow." Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Mandela Barnes that same month called the founding of the United States "awful."
Still, almost 90 percent of Americans of all races "love" the United States, Our America polling shared with the Free Beacon shows. Yet the minority of the population who believe America is racist and evil are the loudest voices in the room, Martin said.
Nadales, who came to the United States from Mexico as a child, said his public school education encouraged him to believe that America hates immigrants like himself. Nadales said he was recruited by the left-wing movement Antifa, known for its violent rioting and looting in cities such as Portland during the Trump administration, before he graduated high school.
After he became disillusioned with the group's political extremism, however, he said he realized the far-left movement is a symptom of the division plaguing America.
"They're incredibly dangerous, and they represent what is wrong with America today that people are so divided that they're willing to go fight on the streets and recommend violence against one another," Nadales said.
Nadales said Our America hopes to provide an uplifting message about the United States, bridging political differences with peaceful civil discourse.
"The American dream is not about having a fancy car," Nadales said. "It's the idea that we are not subject to the government. We are free people who are masters of our destinies. We can make our choices and we have the ability to choose to succeed. Your life is up to you and no one can take that away from you."
Our America, which has 125,000 email subscribers after launching two months ago, will air its ads on TBS, TNT, BET, Univision, and MTV.