Tuesday, January 22, 2019

NO - The MAGA Ball Cap -Wearing Teens Howling And Chanting In D.C. Are Not "Innocent"

Image may contain: 5 people, people smilingImage may contain: 1 person, smiling, hat and closeup
Two versions of Trump MAGA hat maggots: L- The punk - Nick Sandmann-  who mocked a Native American Vietnam Vet Saturday, R- A run of the mill older Trumpie jackass.

"After observing the ongoing national tragedy of countless migrant teens and young children being herded into internment camps by the Trump administration, it’s especially rich to see the president’s disciples wailing and rending their sackcloth over the unfair treatment of a group of students from Covington Catholic High School."   Bob Cesca, 'Defenders of the MAGA Hat Youth Spare Us Your Concern For Children, Please', Salon.com

Okay,  let's first clear the air here: If you go out into a public arena   - apart from a campaign venue - wearing a red MAGA cap, then you are committing aggression. Call it "micro", "macro", "passive" - whatever the hell you want, but it is aggression though not overt.  It is also part of what is destroying whatever slender threads of civility remain in this ravaged land.

It is an unspoken signal you support Trump and his hate mongers and their hate policies and actions - from the federal shutdown to caging infants and firing bullets and tear gas at immigrants trying to escape drug gangs and terror. Wearing of the red MAGA ball cap also enables a facile means of aggression as it signals concordance with Trump's White Nationalist policies and a yen to intimidate others who also grasp the significance.  It is, in other words, the epitome of identity hate politics and messaging. It is in the same league as wearing an outright Rebel flag ball cap, e.g.
Image result for Confederate ball caps

Given that, I could not believe my eyes watching the Saturday evening CBS Weekend News which showed a young teen maggot  (Nick Sandermann) - in Trump MAGA cap and sporting  a shit-eating smirk - confronting a Native American Vietnam vet.  When Janice saw the image of the smirking punk on TV she screamed: "Look at that little piece of shit! Who does he think he is in that Indian's face?"  I said, "He thinks he's a Trumpie with all that implies and he dares anyone to knock that cap off his head."

The vet, Nathan Phillips,  was participating in the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington on Friday which coincided with the Right wingers' March for Life .  Phillips, a 64-year-old Native American man was singing and playing a drum as part of his Indigenous People's event.  Both  marches drew thousands, including anti-abortion protesters, with the March for Life including a group from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, KY. 
Videos circulating online showed the MAGA-capped  Sandmann staring at and standing close enough to Phillips to "violate his personal space".  This according to my abnormal psychology specialist niece Shayl, noting it was "demonstrably an act of subtle aggression" and the smile (or smirk) was absolutely not one of benevolence, but malice.  In Shayl's take, the kid was clearly either trying to intimidate the vet, grab attention or ape his older Trumpie fellow assholes (see image at right above), albeit less over the top. 
Other students, some wearing Covington clothing and many wearing "Make America Great Again" hats and sweat shirts, surrounded them, chanting, laughing and jeering.  Again, Shayl agreed their attire attested to a presence of aggression and intimidation not peaceful co-existence.
In a joint statement, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School apologized to Phillips. Officials said they were investigating and will take "appropriate action, up to and including expulsion."

Since the episode originally briefly  dominated the news cycle, more details have emerged with new videos, showing  multiple confrontations -  including involving another group of haters called "the Black Hebrew Israelites" -  which the Southern Poverty Law Center once described  as "obsessed with hatred for whites and Jews”   

These cretins appeared to have shouted insults at both the MAGA- hat teens and the Native Americans.  Evidently they are equal opportunity  haters with no qualms on which side they direct their venom.  

While the situation has now been seen as more complicated than first accounts disclosed,  causing many in the mainstream media to confer "Mea Culpas" on the Covington  boys, the MAGA hat wearing punks are by no means absolved of any wrong doing, as a recent Slate piece showed,  e.g.

The MAGA Teens Aren't Innocent Victims

As the author of the piece explains:

"There were dozens of Covington boys on the scene, meaning they vastly outnumbered both groups of antagonists. (A letter sent to parents about the school’s March for Life plans this year said 213 boys attended a few years ago.) Many of the teenagers in this background were clearly snickering at the chanting; some can be seen doing the “tomahawk chop,” a controversial gesture that originated in sports fandom (rather than Native culture) and is considered offensive by some. There’s no mistaking the core dynamics of the encounter: Sandmann smugly grins in Phillips’s face and declines to step backward, and he’s backed by dozens of boisterous teens who are jeering and mocking the much smaller group of Native marchers.

None of this might have mattered—and the clip certainly would not have gone viral—if Sandmann and many of his peers were not wearing red Make America Great Again hats. Racked reported in 2017 that the hats had become popular souvenirs among white teenage boys visiting Washington, in part because they invite “instant attention, instant discomfort, easy transgression.” Boston Globe columnist Renée Graham wrote last summer about seeing more than a dozen white teenage boys in MAGA hats at the National Museum of African American History & Culture. “Clearly, this was meant as a provocation,” she wrote. I’m inclined to believe that Sandmann, too, is smart enough to understand that the MAGA hat is not a symbol of peace and reconciliation, especially when the bill of that hat is inches from the nose of a Native American. "
The takeaway from where I sit? The Covington MAGA cap teens were involved in a subdued aggression and provocation.  They were fully aware that cameras were rolling and their handlers were also on the scene advising against physically reacting to the Black Israelite bunch.  Nevertheless the sneering (or smirking) kid  (Sandmann) was still conducting aggression  - whether or not he threw a punch.  As the Slate author aptly points out: "The MAGA hat is not a symbol of peace and reconciliation, especially when the bill of that hat is inches from the nose of a Native American."  

And as Shayl -   the new postdoc psychologist observed-   his proximity to Phillips definitely conveyed aggression given it encroached on the vet's personal space. In an ape interaction scenario, the intruder would have been leveled by the territory -violated ape, no doubts.
The smirk itself telegraphs he's convinced he's untouchable given no one can "prove" he's a hostile, racist actor.  After all,  he's just standing there innocently smiling at Phillips,  wearing a red MAGA cap. So what could be wrong?  Well plenty,  given that the red Trumpie ball cap is now the unspoken universal symbol of passive aggression against besieged minority groups everywhere.  By its very wearing  it inveighs against propriety, civility, racial equality and for white nationalism - whether the punks wearing them believe it or not. And no, this isn't "political correctness", don't even go there.   
According to Marcus Frejo, a member of the Pawnee tribe also known as Chief Quese Imc,  he had been a part of the march and was among a small group of people remaining after the rally when the boisterous students began chanting slogans such as "Make America great!" and then began doing the haka, a traditional Maori dance. In a phone interview, Frejo told The Associated Press he felt they were mocking the dance and also heckling a couple of black men nearby.   If this is so,  and there's little basis to dispute it, it means the white teens from Covington may have been the instigators.
One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the MAGA wearing imps doing the Haka dance and students loudly chanting before Phillips and Frejo approached them. The footage doesn't show any black person being being heckled, but one black man with a camera smiles as he shoots footage of the group.  My wife on watching it commented: "Jeez, this is almost as fascinating as watching the Zapruder film!"  Well, not quite!
We learned in the aftermath the high school's authorities said in a widely circulated statement:

"We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips.  This behavior is opposed to the Church's teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person."
So why didn't these teachings sink into the MAGA teens' craniums?   Did they not process that their MAGA caps were provocations in themselves?  I don't know but can only relate to some of the field trips we'd take at Monsignor Edward Pace High in Miami in the 1960s and such behavior would never have been countenanced.    Nor would the wearing of provocative apparel including ball caps with the Confederate flag on the front.  In one planned trip to Miami Beach a Pace kid, Tony Higbee, made the error of donning such a cap and he was informed by Brother Dominic "Either lose it or lose the trip."   Higbee lost the cap.

What it shows perhaps is how Catholic High schools can no longer impart enduring ethical or moral values to their charges, or even enforce basic conduct of civility like Catholic schools could in the past.  Perhaps Sandmann's Catholic high school didn't even recognize that wearing a Trumpie campaign MAGA cap to a rally in D.C. is not a sign of peaceful intent.  It is a full on display of white man aggression that comports with all of Dotard's hideous policies to date.  It would be like Mgsr.Pace High supporting the Confederacy - via allowing students to wear Confederate insignia 'Stars 'n Bars caps -  in the Civil Rights 60s.

But at the same time, as I've written before in many posts, Trump himself has defiled the nation's moral landscape as much as he's demolished what's left of civility and civil discourse.  So it isn't surprising his racism,  hatred for immigrants and belligerence have spread like a virus - including to young, impressionable male students who may believe it's cool to wear the red caps in public and do in- your- face chants and dances in front of minority groups.

Update:  The WaPo has since come out with an "expose"  that Nathan Phillips "wasn't really a Vietnam Veteran" because he  "didn't really serve in Vietnam itself".  He served from 1972-74  in the Marines during the Vietnam War.  But I call 'Foul!"  on these nattering Neolib nabobs dragging in an incidental (also incorrect) take that really bears no relevance here.  In that regard,  the WaPo seems to have missed the memo that the Pentagon subsequently designated that all those who served in the Vietnam era were Vietnam VetsThis  had been brought to my attention back in 2012 by my two now -deceased brothers , Jerry and Mike, who had  both served during the Vietnam War (Jerry in the Air Force, Mike in the Marines) but did not serve  in Vietnam itself.   This again underscores why such irrelevant facts ought not be interjected, obviously with the intent to impugn Mr. Phillips' account of his interaction with the  Covington Catholic High MAGA punks. 

See also:

The MAGA hat is not a statement of policy. It's an ... - Washington Post


"The bright red Make America Great Again baseball cap entered the popular culture as candidate Donald Trump’s political swag. It has transformed into an open wound, a firestorm of hate and a marker of societal atavism."



by Kali Holloway | January 21, 2019 - 7:10am | permalink

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