Most people don’t know how the viral “Stop the Steal” movement started. On Nov. 4, 2020, while at brunch, mentees of mine convinced me to use my network to start protests all across the country.
I was reluctant in the wake of the Trump campaign’s and Republican National Committee’s failed legal team. This was RNC Chair Ronna Romney-McDaniel’s job, not mine. “If you can help, why wouldn’t you?” We drove to my house and started calling activists from my decade-plus in politics.
We had a remarkable time. That was, until that day.
My life since Jan. 6 has turned into an American nightmare, but my faith is unbroken.
The son of a single Black mother who lived in Section 8 housing and an Arab father who abandoned us, I’ve known what it’s like not to fit in since I was asked “what are you” instead of “who are you” in the back of my elementary school bus.
Surviving adversity has been the story of my life.
So, being a Black Trump-supporting Republican and grassroots organizer comes easy to me. It’s what I genuinely believe.
Where many are conditioned to see villains, I, as a Christian and American minority, choose to extend grace because grace has first been extended to me. Be it with people like Kanye West, Jack Dorsey, Alex Jones, white or Black identitarians and, yes, former President Donald Trump — I see humanity and a greater opportunity to dispel caricatures of people, like me, who have been oversimplified in headlines, our intentions butchered.
There are all sorts of lies about me floating around on the Internet.
I’ve been de-platformed by Big Tech corporations, so I’ve been unable to correct the record or offer explanations of my conduct as the organizer of numerous peaceful Stop the Steal rallies to be more fairly judged.
No, I never planned or advocated for violence. No, Mr. Trump didn’t direct my actions or steer our grassroots Stop the Steal movement. No, I didn’t coordinate with members of Congress to jeopardize their safety or that of their colleagues. No, I never supported unlawfully stopping the Electoral College objections from being debated.
These lies have subjected me to credible death threats, false accusations of being in hiding from law enforcement, and thousands of dollars in security costs that I cannot afford. One of the most vicious lies is that I, a biracial Black and Arab American man, somehow participated in or led a white supremacist movement. I am a Christian. I’m opposed to ethnic supremacy in every form. I have a long history of fighting for civil rights and seeking to understand the other.
Individuals who entered the Capitol building did so against my pleas and ultimately prevented my lawfully permitted event from taking place on the northeastern Lot 8 of the Capitol grounds. My actions, working to get thousands away from the building, were caught and released on video. They also sullied the legitimate petitioning of specific Electoral College votes being challenged by numerous Republican members of Congress just as Democrats did in 2001, 2004 and 2017.
In 2004, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, objected to the electoral votes from Ohio, blaming shifting tallies and electronic machines, and citing the public’s confidence.
Are Democrats willing to repeal and rewrite the First Amendment under the guise of punishing Mr. Trump or Jan. 6-ers?
Partisan lies, Twitter trolls and Facebook algorithms have been weaponized against peaceful activists like me. After a successful cancel culture campaign that resulted in me losing all of my social media profiles, journalists often find it challenging to get in touch with me. Some republish these weaponized tropes against me.
While some individuals are exercising their rights to avoid testifying before the Jan. 6 Select Committee, I chose to speak to the Democrat-appointed committee. The process has been adversarial, if not outright hostile. I was even challenged during my 8-hour deposition about my peaceful motives because I dared to use “1776,” the date of our Declaration of Independence, in one of my tweets! Is the legislative solution to ban speech that some find objectionable, or should it be to increase security, whether there are demonstrations by the left or right?
I wouldn’t want this done to Black Lives Matter activists if Republicans win the midterms.
If democracy is dying, we won’t achieve the restoration of our constitutional republic by censoring Americans or mocking those who hold sincerely-held beliefs. Targeting political individuals instead of criminals and the government’s failures that day will weaken us.
There’s plenty of blame to go around and, with that, an opportunity to extend grace and heal as a nation.
How we handle the aftermath of Jan. 6 will determine whether this cold civil war warms or chills again. I pray for the latter and believe the American dream still exists.
• Ali Alexander has been a Republican political consultant for 15 years and is the civil rights activist who helped father the election integrity movement called Stop the Steal. He helped pioneer digital electioneering efforts, co-founded the tea party movement, and is well-connected within Christian and conservative Republican circles. Outside the Trump administration, his influence was felt on issues such as criminal justice reform, Section 230, and economic empowerment zones. He sat before the January 6th House Select Committee on December 9, 2021.