I’ve never been to a CPAC (that’s the Conservative Political Action Conference), and I doubt my publication would ever pay me to cover the annual airing of grievances, and judging by this year's festivities, a mostly maskless affair. Attendees got to see a whole slew of lib-owning, from vaccine conspiracies and food brand CEOs making false claims about a stolen election to one bitter Betty and an off-key Mel Gibson impression-meets-RATM tryout, a veritable keg stand of liberal tears.
One of the stranger sights you could have taken in at the Orlando conference, however, was the distinctive stage design, as many pointed out that it closely resembled that of an Odal rune.
If you have a weirdo uncle who collects Nazi uniforms, then you might easily recognize the insignia. The Anti-Defamation League designated the rune as a symbol of hate, and it was co-opted by the National Socialist Movement in favor of the Swastika. And why? Well, it’s a lesser-known symbol from Nazi Germany, and the party recognizes that they have a branding problem, as most folks don't want to elect a neo-Nazi to office. The rune is said to represent the blood and soil movement in Germany and celebrates a "mythic Aryan past." Two of the Waffen-SS units also wore the symbol during WW2.
CPAC organizers denied that this was intentional or that there was any broader meaning beyond the stage design.
“We have a long-standing commitment to the Jewish community,” tweeted Matt Schlapp, the chair of the American Conservative Union, “Cancel culture extremists must address antisemitism within their own ranks. CPAC proudly stands with our Jewish allies, including those speaking from this stage.” The Hyatt also tried to distance themselves from the organization, saying they do not tolerate such hateful symbols. Ultimately, they allowed the event to proceed once CPAC denied the symbolic usage of the rune.
Anywho, what a pickle! Classic CPAC.
If you’d like to read more about Odal runes and their usage by the Nazis (and the Alt-Right movement), you can read this piece by Steven Heller.