MAGA vs. BLM hats

posted by Jeff | Monday, August 24, 2020, 12:00 PM | comments: 0

There was a lot of noise about something that didn't actually happen regarding Goodyear and its dress code requirements. The allegation was that the company explicitly prohibited "make America Great again" clothing but allowed "black lives matter." The company said that the presentation slide wasn't real, but that the company did have a policy prohibiting political candidate clothing, and the previous slogan is obviously part of Trump's campaign.

Regardless, let's explore this. The president famously denies that "MAGA" is coded racism, which is wholly absurd for anyone who observes common sense, but he simultaneously believes that "BLM" is in fact some coded phrase that is diametrically opposed to the idea of making a nation great. If anything in the universe reinforced his dog whistle, it's this.

We've been over the fact that BLM is not a call for trivializing white people, and that the reason it exists at all is that black people are consistently more likely to be injured or killed by law enforcement, or incarcerated disproportionately to white people. Since 2015, the number per capita of black people killed by police is 2.5 times higher than that of white people. This is objectively true. If your response to BLM is "all lives matter," you aren't listening. No one is suggesting otherwise, but the crisis is with the minority population. BLM is a call for equality and justice under the law, and if you truly believe that the law is important, you must conclude that equality is a cause to champion.

If you embrace MAGA, what time exactly do you want to return to when America was great? Just moving backward in history from today, was it when gay people couldn't be married? When segregation saturated our society? Jim Crow laws? Japanese internment? Women couldn't vote? Irish immigrants and Catholics were discriminated against? Slavery? I'd love to hear what made the US great previously. It's obvious that MAGA is a call to people who embraced the racism and segregation. You'll never hear that crowd referencing the space program or building the railroads or stories of immigrants bootstrapping their new lives in New York City. And by the way, that kind of nationalism, romanticizing a fictional past, is right out of the fascist playbook.

You can try to rationalize it all you want, but MAGA is symbolic of hate, and it would be even if it was just by association to a racist president. Just as you may refuse to see why the phrase "black lives matter" is literally a fight for life, and be empathetic toward the people it affects, "make America great again" is deeply painful to the same people who have no memory of that greatness, only oppression. To refuse that acknowledgment is to exercise privilege that you were born in to.

So if you insist on making this just about a difference in opinion, no, it's not that. It's never OK to embrace a racist opinion. There is no moral equivalence here. One is a movement to restore an order that oppressed much of the population, the other seeks equality.


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