“I don’t see anything wrong with that”: The Red Hat Defense has run its course

Laura Marie
4 min readJan 29, 2019

The unfortunate story of what happened when three groups with disparate motives converged in our nation’s capitol has sparked much debate about the role of viral video and the news media in provoking our collective outrage and obscuring the truth.

It has also made one thing abundantly clear: Trump supporters can no longer claim their MAGA gear as a neutral political symbol.

It’s incredibly polarizing, and anyone paying attention knows that already.

Photo by Jose Moreno on Unsplash

And yes, it is each person’s first amendment right to wear what they like. But let’s be realistic. If you slap on a hat that spells bigotry for a large swath of the U.S. population and then place yourself in a tense situation, regardless of your personal intent, you are going to get some push-back.

According to the latest reports, a group of black Hebrew Israelites started shouting racially combative insults at the Native Americans and the students. Naturally, I can’t condone that.

But. But.

The young man at the center of this controversy has stated that he doesn’t know why he and his friends were targeted for these comments. I have noticed a trend of people decked out in politico-controversial messaging — Trump supporters in particular — who “don’t know” why others choose to engage with them.

I have a pretty good idea.

We often see people blinking innocently, sputtering “I was just supporting the president. I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

I want you to think about the last time you were truly caught unawares that something you had said or done was ill-received by another person. Is “I don’t see anything wrong with that” ever the realistic response of a well-meaning but clueless person? Not in my experience. Instead, it’s the rhetoric of someone who is well aware that they are rabble rousing. And that’s fine. But let’s be clear: playing the “patriotic victim” card is the exact opposite of taking responsibility for the message you are putting out in the world.

Is it sad and telling that a simple presidential campaign slogan has become synonymous with racism and misogyny? Yes. Is it fair? That doesn’t actually…

Laura Marie

37 going on 99. Giraffe aficionado and nap enthusiast. I write about mental health, books, baking, and other randoms. Publishing monthly-ish.