Progressive writer gives friend a MAGA hat ultimatum—friend wisely chooses hat
You don’t have to be friends with anyone, but if you’re going to be friends with someone, you should probably meet them where they stand. If you’re going to be friends with someone, you should love them as they are, and not try to change them. Zack Ford, writer for Think Progress and wokeist extraordinaire, thinks so much of his friendship that he gave one of his old friends an ultimatum: his friendship, or his friend’s MAGA hat. The friend chose the hat, and Ford was offended, but the friend was right, and Ford is just an ass.
This whole story came to light in Ford’s own newsletter, Fording the River Styx. He wrote about the incident with some measure of pride and self-congratulation at his fortitude in unfriending this old friend. The story goes that an old friend of his from high school appeared on his feed wearing a MAGA hat, while holding her baby daughter. The picture had a wholesome feel to it, and Ford couldn’t deal with the hat amidst all this wholesomeness. He reached out to his friend, an evangelical Christian, to explain to her just how damaging her hat was.
…seeing her proudly wearing a MAGA hat in public — and with her daughter no less — violated this accord deeply. It’s not just a hat. It’s a symbol of all of the oppression and injustice the Trump administration is responsible for. It’s an endorsement of caging kids, banning Muslims, firing trans people, and dozens of other ways Trump has undermined our democracy — up to and including the fascist military display that graced the National Mall last night. More than anything, “MAGA” represents the idea that some human lives are worth more than others.
When we get to the point that we are quibbling over symbols for which the meaning to one person and the meaning to another person differ so drastically, it’s no wonder that we can’t have lasting friendships. The hat as a symbol to the friend, and as a symbol to Ford, don’t have any similarity. Like the hat or not, it’s a hat, it’s fashion, and its meaning seems to be entirely in the eye of the beholder.
And if Ford believes that MAGA “represents the idea that some human lives are worth more than others,” he’s probably okay with the concept, just not how he believes it’s here applied. He was pretty vocal about the whole bakers have to decorate cakes even if they don’t want to thing because presumably the customers’ right to their beliefs is more important than the bakers’ rights to theirs.
I explained all of this to my old friend. To those inclined to reject the humanity of any particular group, a MAGA hat is a symbol of affirmation — license and encouragement to continue holding those beliefs. To members of those many rejected groups, it’s a threat — a warning that such prejudice is welcome in that person’s vicinity (and may come from them directly). It’s unacceptable to me to be subjected to that symbol from someone with whom I hypothetically have mutual trust.
All this from a hat, as though wearing a hat means all of those things. It’s not any more of a threat than Ford’s threat to pull his friendship. Friendships have been falling apart all over the place in the Trump era. We’re all so sure that we’re right, and that the very fate of the world depends on us being right, and that this righteousness means we have to point out and punish anyone and everyone who we think is wrong. On my Facebook feed, I see friends all the time worrying about how to still deal with family who they disagree with, or how to talk to friends with whom they disagree, or how to make sure everyone knows that the rich and varied hell of the worldscape, as everyone sees it from their own perspective, isn’t their fault, because they have the right views. Ford gave his friend a choice, his friendship or the hat. Presumably, he felt pretty righteous about this.
I gave my friend an ultimatum. I told her I wouldn’t unfriend her so long as she apologized for wearing the hat and promised me I wouldn’t have to see it in my feed again.
Righteousness is not the answer; it literally never is. Righteousness is itself intolerant. The problem with the demand for an apology is that, in this era of constant hand-wringing and mea culpas for every little infraction, apologies are meaningless. Not only do they not represent an actual repentance, they are not treated as such. Apologies are simply considered evidence of guilt, and not a path toward repentance, or changing one’s behaviour.
When she claimed I was trying to police her beliefs, I corrected her, pointing out that my conditions only regarded the hat, not her position on any particular issue. When she claimed that she’s equally offended by the Pride flag, I corrected her again, explaining that objecting to a symbol of inclusion is in no way comparable to objecting to a symbol of exclusion and that she was making a false equivalency. When she said, “If I can’t have an opinion about something then I guess I don’t really live in a free country,” I knew there was no longer enough common ground for us to have a relationship.
If any of us got a DM out of the blue from an old high school friend letting us know that our clothing offended them and they wanted us to not ever let them see it again, how would any of us react? Certainly not with an apology or a promise to make sure they never saw that clothing again. The idea of a person who would withhold friendship based on our clothing choices, or the beliefs they believe those clothes represents, makes the complainer a great candidate for someone to not be friends with anymore. Also he corrected her with regard to his perception about her beliefs, but when she corrected him about his perception of hers, he simply believed her to be intransient.
We have free speech, but we don’t have freedom from accountability for that speech. Anyone reading this is free to wear a MAGA hat, but you can’t both wear a MAGA hat and claim to “love thy neighbor.” You can’t both wear a MAGA hat and claim to respect me or millions of other Americans. You can’t both wear a MAGA hat and believe that you’re not reinforcing hate and oppression against others. We’re way too far past such naivete at this point, and I certainly want no part in helping you to convince yourself otherwise.
This is the real kicker. In policing his friend’s clothes, and claiming to not police her beliefs, he is assessing her value according to his perceived tenets of her stated religion. If he were to dig a little deeper, he would find that the concept of loving thy neighbor is not about judging people for not loving you, but about you, yourself, loving others.
In a little church called Saint Clare’s last weekend, where I’d never been before, I heard the good father deliver a homily on a similar topic. He said, in short, don’t let others’ behaviour become a basis for your own. Don’t be always reacting to how others act, but choose your own course, in accordance with how you wish to behave. You can’t change others, you can only change yourself. Ford was out of line in demanding both an apology and the removal of his friend’s hat. Friendship is not about imposing terms and conditions, it is about acceptance, love, and compassion. If Ford couldn’t open his heart to his friend, his friend is probably better off without his friendship.
Monday’s march for the 2nd Amendment in Richmond, Virginia went off without a hitch. Contrary to early reports that “swarms” of “white nationalists” would be descending upon the Virginia state capitol to protest gun control laws enacted by the commonwealth’s General Assembly, most—if not all—of the gun rights activists remained orderly and self-composed.
Gun rights marchers expelled speakers who called for violence. In one instance, an antifa member “Goad Gatsby” called out a neo-Nazi named Jovi Val, who allegedly wore a swastika to the event.
Despite the peaceful protest, NBC reporters portrayed the event in negative terms, and even lied about it. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes claimed in a broadcast that the rally sent an “explicit and implicit message” of “don’t you dare enact our policies, if you do, we will use these guns against you.” If anything, the Framers would be proud of seeing Americans generations ahead of them stand up for their God-given rights to defend themselves against the tyranny of an overbearing government.
The media’s message is that standing up for your rights is a violent action in and of itself—it’s a narrative that continues to be propped up. Writing for the men’s publication, disgraced New Yorker fact-checker Talia Lavin says that “the threat of violence in Richmond,” and the few arrests of alleged neo-Nazis planning violence that were made prior to the event “sent other groups into hiding.”
A Canadian neo-Nazi is currently being prosecuted for his alleged intention to commit violence in Richmond. He recorded a video calling for “violent revolution” ahead of his failed attempt to participate in the gun rights rally.
According to Lavin’s spin, the thousands of protesters attending the rally (which includes activists from the Black Panthers movement, pro-gay rights libertarians, 2nd wave feminists, and many others who support the right to bear arms) only “grumblingly abided” Governor Ralph Northam’s state of emergency declaration. The description she uses to describe the marchers is biased, to say the least:
“But just outside the legions of police barricades, twice that number of people roamed the streets of Richmond bearing a bristling mass of rifles, from AR-15s to massive Barrett sniper rifles. Some wore skull masks; others waved Confederate flags. Members of hate groups like the League of the South and the American Guard, as well as the Proud Boys, mingled openly; some of the latter were wearing patches that said “RWDS”—an acronym for “Right-Wing Death Squad.” Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones gave a speech from a Terradyne battle tank.”
A Terradyne “battle tank”? Really?
Firstly, the Terradyne is a glorified SUV. And second, even APCs aren’t tanks. Those BearCats the police use? Yeah, those aren’t tanks either. Come on, journalists—you can’t keep confusing Remington 870s for AR-15s.
Digression aside, the mention of “skull masks,” “massive Barrett sniper rifles,” and “Confederate flags” paints a less-than-friendly picture of the march. But as video footage of the march itself exists, it’s a false depiction of a peaceful event that’s very easily dispelled. We can watch the footage too, you know.
One can see now why Lavin was forced to resign from her position as fact-checker at the New Yorker after falsely accusing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent of having a Nazi tattoo. The tattoo in question was a Maltese Cross, often seen in paramedic and firefighter insignias. One wonders if she will issue a correction properly describing the event from an unbiased, fact-based perspective.
Lavin then concedes, or more accurately laments, the fact that no one was shot at the event, describing it as “a frankly extraordinary turn of events given the sheer amount of weaponry, the density of the crowd, and the weapons stuffed casually into backpacks or held loosely in the crooks of pale arms.”
“Pale arms.” The subtext is clear: white people who stand up for their right to self-determination are prone to acts of violence.
There’s an old saying made popular by gun rights activists that holds true, especially following the media’s inability to reconcile the abundance of firearms with the lack of violence: an armed society is a polite society.
Diverging, or at least pretending to diverge from the mainstream view that “man with guns = bad,” Lavin opines that both “fringe-right publications” as well as the mainstream media declared the event a “peaceful protest.” Why, it seems that reality may indeed have a conservative bias. None of this matters to Lavin, of course, who argues that violence was only “narrowly averted” because some wingnuts from a neo-Nazi organization called The Base were arrested prior to the event.
This is, of course, a poor read on the event. While neo-Nazis may have in fact been planning to enact violence at the Virginia state capitol, the fact remains that the estimated 22,000 people who walked for their right to bear arms had nothing but peaceful intentions. Also worth noting is the fact that the 22,000 figure, provided by Richmond authorities, is whittled down to a mere 6,000 by Lavin in her piece. Surely giving readers the impression that more than a few thousand people care about their 2nd Amendment rights is a fact that would fly in the face of her narrative that it’s an issue only dangerous neo-Nazi skull masks care about.
The piece is full of “what ifs” and “could haves”—what if The Base members weren’t arrested? They could’ve killed thousands of people, surely. Wouldn’t that feed ratings for an entire news cycle?
“There was, it was true, an absence of immediate bloodshed,” continues Lavin. “But what abounded, in that armed and insurrectionist sea of humanity, was the promise that bloodshed might happen at any time, should the will of the mob be thwarted.”
The promise of bloodshed isn’t a promise being made by those defending the 2nd Amendment. As the events in Waco and Ruby Ridge tell us, the only real bloodshed would be caused by a government overreaching and tyrannical in its nature. The right to bear arms is what prevents such violence from being enacted unto the citizenry. Thus always to Tyrants.
Jessica Yaniv was arrested for the assault of a Canadian journalist on over the weekend. According to Keean Bexte, the journalist who was assaulted by Yaniv on camera outside of the B.C. courts on January 14, 2020, Yaniv spent time behind bars on the charge of assault. She may face up to five years for the assault.
There was widespread speculation that Yaniv was arrested over the weekend, but The Post Millennial and other outlets were unable to verify the claims at the time. Bexte, being the alleged victim in this particular case, was able to confirm the arrest Wednesday afternoon.
When reached for comment, Bexte said, “Yaniv has been ordered to cease all contact with me, both directly and indirectly. I can’t wait for the day when Yaniv is put away for the long haul. He is dangerous and unpredictable.”
Even if Yaniv is behind bars, the civil litigations brought by Bexte and Hamm against Yaniv for assault and defamation respectively can proceed. According to Bexte, Yaniv would be court-ordered to appear for the civil litigations as planned.
Yaniv was released back into the community after the arrest and will appear in court in February. She will also appear in court in February for two prohibited weapons charges.
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the JCCF as representing Amy Eileen Hamm in litigation. Hamm is being represented by Carey Linde and lawyer Jay Cameron. The Post Millennial regrets the error.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ beloved mascot Gritty is being investigated by police after a father claimed that the big orange furry monster punched his 13-year-old son in the back.
Chris Greenwell took his son Brandon to the Wells Fargo Center for a November meet and greet photoshoot with the beloved, google-eyed mascot.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Greenwell claims that “Brandon playfully patted the mascot on the head after the photo was taken. As Brandon walked away, Gritty got out of his chair, ‘took a running start,’ and ‘punched my son as hard as he could,’ Greenwell said Wednesday.”
“We took Mr. Greenwell’s allegations seriously and conducted a thorough investigation that found nothing to support this claim,” said a spokesperson for the Philidelphia Flyers.
A police spokesperson has described the alleged incident as a possible “physical assault” that occurred “during a photoshoot with 13-year-old white male and Flyers mascot Gritty. The investigation is active and on-going.”
The hashtag #FreeGritty is now trending on Twitter.
The Ontario teachers’ strikes are proving to be more acrimonious than anyone expected. Elementary teachers have now opted out of writing report cards and have already begun to engage in rotating strikes.
The Ontario government, on the other hand, have offered up to $60 per day for parents who are feeling the fiscal consequences of the strike, and rumours of back to work legislation is being floated around the corridors of Queen’s Park.
The teachers’ strikes are deeply consequential and have affected the day-to-day lives of 13 million Ontarians who live in the most populace province in Canada. Due to the vast impact this strike, and the mainstream media’s lack of balance in the coverage (often siding with the unions and tecahers), The Post Millennial has compiled a list of things you need to know about the Ontario teachers’ strikes.
1. Ontario’s teachers are among the highest paid in the country
Ontario’s teachers are among the best paid in the country. In the Greater Toronto Area, for instance, top teachers can expect to get paid up to $96,000 a year. The average salary for a teachers in Ontario is $89,300 for elementary teachers and $92,900 for high school teachers. In contrast, the average Ontarian earns $55,000 per year.
2. Ontario teachers are taking more and more sick days
A 2017 study found that teachers have been taking more and more sick days over the past five years. On average, sick days have increased by over 30 percent. In 2020, another report revealed even starker results with teachers taking 70 percent more sick days than over a decade ago.
3. Teachers get a whole lot of time off
Ontario’s teacher’s have a pretty great job. Not only do they get paid a wage that is far higher than the average Ontarian, they also get a lot of time off. Due to breaks in the school year, teachers are allowed three whole months off, on top of the aforementioned sick days.
4. Teachers’ Unions are spending big bucks to win the PR war
So far, the OSSTF has spent $336,389 on Facebook ads alone. These ads usually attack the Ford government and have been running since June. In one week alone, they spent over $40,000. They’re also waging a war of words against Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce through the mainstream press.
5. The Ontario government has already made concessions, but unions won’t meet in the middle
Premier Doug Ford has offered numerous concessions to the teachers’ unions from the government’s initial demands. Ford, for example, offered to meet the teachers half-way on classroom size. This, however, was not good enough for the teachers, and they walked away from the negotiation table. They’re also refusing to do report cards and help out in after school activities, despite claiming the strikes are primarily for the students, not their pay cheques.
6. Ontario’s students are flunking math tests
If you’re going to teach mathematics to a new generation of students, you should probably have to prove that you have some basic ability to do so. This hardly unreasonable request, however, created some tension with the teachers’ unions. Despite EQAO tests showing all-time lows, the unions were upset that teachers had to score at least 70 percent in a math test.
7. Ontario’s debt is astronomically high
After a decade of Liberal government, Ontario’s debt stands at over $350,000,000,000. This figure constitutes one of the highest sub-national debts in the world. Due to this, the Ford government is trying to cut back public sector salaries, which means slowing down the rate at which teachers are paid. Teachers in Ontario also have what many experts consider to be a great pension package.