There’s something deeply wrong with our culture when it becomes unsurprising to scroll past yet another person in a MAGA hat being accosted or assaulted. We’ve all seen the viral imagery of Trump supporters with swollen eyes and people at protests getting hit. In a recent and particularly disturbing instance, a clip went viral of a 14-year-old boy who allegedly had been wearing a MAGA hat being brutally jumped and beaten by classmates on a school bus. The family of the boy and the school superintendent dispute the reasons behind the attack. But violent attacks on Trump supporters happen all the time.
This is a real phenomenon that is becoming normalized and if you are shocked or unaware of it, you are probably only paying attention to news outlets that stand to gain from outright ignoring it.
The second and perhaps equally disturbing component to this phenomenon is the mainstream media’s unwillingness to cover most of these incidents at all. Googling these types of beatings will lead you to almost exclusively conservative websites. That’s a problem. It should not be conservative news when a Trump supporter is beaten. Meanwhile, there was absolutely no hesitation from the media when Jussie Smollett came out with his laughable and since-debunked claim of being beaten by crazed Trump supporters in Chicago.
Regardless of your own political worldview or feelings on Trump, you should be able to see the false narrative the media has been attempting to paint. It is much more convenient for us to believe in the conservative caricature who is going to jump out at you with a noose, rather than the simple reality that not everyone who feels differently than you about the President is an evil person. But of course, it takes a lot less effort and thought processing to write off half of the American population as bigoted and evil.
In a time where liberals and conservatives feel and objectively are more divided than ever, I hope that one of the few things we can come together on is the notion that no one should be physically harmed for their political beliefs. None of us should want to live in a country where you are in literal danger for wearing a hat of support for the sitting President. It is the height of melodrama that the MAGA hat is practically treated as a KKK symbol in some parts of the country. Many folks seem thoroughly dedicated to maintaining this constant level of hysteria.
It seems as if rabid anti-Trumpers will do anything to convince themselves that after 2016, members of the LGBT community and people of color were thrust into a world where they have to fear for their lives when they leave the house. I can only speak from my own experience as a transgender woman who has never been assaulted verbally or physically on the basis of my gender identity. I was, however, assaulted multiple on the streets of Hollywood when I wore a MAGA hat as a social experiment for my YouTube channel.
Both assaults occurred within the timespan of one hour, by separate individuals. It is the only time in my adult life that I had experienced violence and it truly awakened me to the sad state we are in as a country. Regardless of what the media had told me, I realized that it was indeed more dangerous for me to walk the street as a Trump supporter than as a transgender woman. Who would have guessed?