The Look of Things: Getting Political

Posted by Kathy on Jan 21, 2019 in Uncategorized |

Maybe it really is all about the accessories.

A couple of days ago, students from Covington Catholic school in Kentucky boarded buses and headed to Washington, DC  to participate in the March for Life.

By now, you probably know that their field trip became a big news story when media outlets reported that a student wearing a “MAGA” hat disrespected and “stared down” Native American activist Nathan Phillips.

A number of my fellow-liberal buddies posted on FB about this incident. Many were harsh in regard to the teen in the forefront, Nick Sandmann. The vitriol spewed in these threads that followed reminded me of a witch hunt.

So I did what seemed appropriate. I viewed a number of videos, over and over again, each time trying to understand the situation and to be objective. Each time, I questioned why people were condemning the student. True, some of the other students appeared to be disrespectful. Not Nick. Participating in this perfect emotional/political storm was a small but vocal group identified as the Black Hebrew Israelites who voiced their own protests toward the kids in heated, harsh language, language that I will not repeat. At one point, they verbally harassed an African American young teen from the school group, who was subsequently and vehemently defended by his peers. Meanwhile, Mr. Phillips was beating a drum in the face of Nick, who stood, smiled at times, even looking down at the drum, probably anxious as hell and not knowing how to respond. At one point, I thought he was suppressing a laugh, possibly trying to be polite. I might have had to suppress nervous laughter, too.

But here is what Nick never did: He never made a remark. He never moved toward Phillips. He never did anything that in any rational thought process can be called even close to disrespect.

The whole thing left me wondering. A lot.

Would this have happened if the MAGA hats were not present? And by “this”, I mean would the media have made an instant call to judgment and condemnation? And by “this”, I mean would people across our nation have been up in arms, calling these kids entitled rich kids (or so, so much worse)? And by “this”, I mean what if the students were promoting female rights, or at almost any other kind of rally? I ask you who have condemned the kids here to imagine that they were wearing “pussy” hats (a term I find personally offensive) instead. Seem different?

Make no assumptions about my motive. I am not, and never have been a supporter of Trump, nor his presumptuous, ridiculous “Make America Great Again” catchphrase, now undoubtedly a handsome source of income for hat makers. I am Catholic, but socially liberal.

But I call it as I see it. This kid was framed. He was framed by a media looking for a juicy partisan-fest. He was framed by people who had an agenda long before Nick and some of his less mature buddies stepped foot on the bus in Kentucky.

And he was framed by what now has become an everyone-has-an-opinion knee-jerk (emphasize jerk) ocean of social media op-ed wannabes who have forgotten the golden rule.

I have some advice for all young people: In spite of the unfortunate way adults behave, do your best to stay kind and respectful. Stay strong in the face of false accusation.

And one more thing.

At the next March for Life rally?

Lose the MAGA hat.

6 Comments

Louis Philippe
Jan 21, 2019 at 9:17 pm

Very well stated, Kathy. Your objective overview of this incident, from beginning to end, is very much appreciated as is your powerful (but gentle, take-it-or-leave-it) message for readers on all sides to hold off on their knee-jerk over-reactions that leave political and emotional scars on unsuspecting good people. I’m thinking, though, that as a result of this incident, the red MAGA hats may become even more of a visible symbol to young conservatives. For these CCHS boys, it’s what brought them global attention, sweet victory and an empowering life-experience they will never forget or regret.

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Kathy Reply:

Thank you, Louis. We are all going for the same good things.

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A fellow liberal
Jan 23, 2019 at 7:50 am

It’s not easy to find other liberals who share this opinion. Your blog is a breath of fresh air. I want to indignantly ask why they should have to lose their MAGA hats, but the answer is obvious. Black boys can’t wear goodies. White boys can’t wear MAGA hats. We on the left are not much different from those on the right, after all.

Thank you for posting this. Feeling a little less alone tonight…

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Kathy Reply:

Thank you. Nice words. Sorry it took so long for me to see your comment.

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Marie
Jan 23, 2019 at 10:51 pm

❤️❤️well said

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Kathy Reply:

Thank you. And thank you for reading it.

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