News & Politics

No, You Shouldn't Assault People for Wearing MAGA Hats (or Anything Else)

A pro-Trump supporter takes part in a "Make America Great Again" rally in Salem, Ore., on March 25, 2017. (Photo by Alex Milan Tracy) (Sipa via AP Images)

I get a lot of crap from enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump whenever I criticize him. I also get a lot of crap from enthusiastic opponents of Donald Trump whenever I agree with him. Often the two things happen simultaneously. Consider the following statement of opinion: I wish Trump wouldn’t tweet stupid crap every single damn day, but I gotta admit, Gorsuch was a good pick. This opinion makes me either a cuck or a Nazi, depending on which ardent partisan you ask.

Back in 2016 I begged the GOP not to nominate Trump, for the same reason the Democrats were beside themselves with joy when they realized his nomination was inevitable: We both thought Hillary Clinton was obviously going to win. We were both wrong, but at least now I get to enjoy living a world where Hillary isn’t president and the libs get owned on a daily basis.

The thing is, the fringes are no longer on the fringe. They’re the mainstream now. That’s why you have spectacles like this, from alleged conservative Jennifer Rubin:

Imagine hating Trump so much, becoming so unmoored from principle, that you do a total 180 on abortion just because you didn’t get the president you wanted.

Rubin also said Sarah Huckabee Sanders should be given a “life sentence” of public harassment, just for daring to work for Trump. This is insane. My whole life, the White House has lied to us no matter who’s occupying it. But we only hear this sort of unhinged rhetoric when Republicans are the ones lying to us. I don’t remember anybody cornering Jay Carney or Josh Earnest in restaurants over “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” Nobody picketed the Obama administration’s private homes over “Benghazi was caused by a YouTube video.”

Rubin’s fellow Democrat, Maxine Waters, has made similar calls for public harassment of Trump supporters. But now I guess it’s just a coincidence that we’re seeing intimidation tactics like the following, out in the real world. (WARNING: Adult language and #Resistance)

This happened at a Whataburger restaurant in Texas. The man shown here hasn’t been arrested, but he was fired from his job. And what did he accomplish? He didn’t help anybody or change any minds. He’ll get a few pats on the back from hardcore Trump-haters, and a few catcalls from Trump-lovers. Then everybody will move on, and this jerk will have to find another job.

This isn’t the first time someone in a MAGA hat has been assaulted. I’m sure it won’t be the last. And a lot of Democrats, the same people who insist Trump was somehow responsible for that newsroom shooting in Maryland last week, will condone it. Toxic rhetoric is only responsible for violence when the target is in your tribe.

I keep trying to look on the bright side. Social media and viral videos seem to be radicalizing people, but maybe they’re also making things seem worse than they really are. Maybe people aren’t actually this awful. But all this crap gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Political violence is wrong, no matter how angry you get at other people’s political views.

If everybody could just calm the hell down and treat people as individuals, not just members of one tribe or another, that would be great. The people in power setting us against each other aren’t the ones who will suffer the consequences for our actions. They see us as interchangeable pawns, but we’re under no obligation to prove them right.

The good news is that eventually, in a week or a month or two, everybody will forget about the stuff that’s making us hate each other right now. The bad news is that it’ll be replaced with other, dumber reasons for hating each other.

And now, feel free to call me a cuck or a Nazi, depending on your particular conglomeration of psychological problems.