I’ve seen someone wear a MAGA hat in public twice:
Once in Seattle at a tourist site – I assumed he (and his son) thought it would be funny to troll the liberal residents of Seattle (I’m not a parent so I won’t comment on the wonders of that parenting wisdom). I ignored them.
The second time was at a gas station in Tennessee – I chose a different aisle to go down.
In both of those incidents there was a strong inner dialogue going on that, admittedly, was judgmental. I think the words ignorant, racist, bigot and the phrase “NOT making America great” all filtered through my mind.
How Should You React?
Looking at MAGA hat wearers it’s hard not to just shake your head and walk away. Sure, it’s a free country and its not like it’s a swastika but those four words unleashed some strong emotions in me:
When I See MAGA I Feel
I feel all of the above and then some because to me, MAGA isn’t about “making America great again” America has always been a great place, with flaws, like any other country in the world. We try to remedy these as history progresses but we can’t shake that history.
To say that we need to make America great again is to say that some other reference point in history was a better time. And that is definitely not a place we should go.
It’s Also Too Easy To Assume the Worst
It’s also too easy to assume the person wearing the MAGA hat is some kind of monster who’s personally tearing kids away from their parents.
If I want someone to take my thoughts and opinions seriously then I have to listen and try to empathize with their perspective.
That doesn’t mean I listen or empathize with people who are blatantly spewing hate and prejudice. But it does meant that I should try to dialogue with people that support the administration. Sometimes my worst judgements are confirmed and other times I’m pleasantly surprised.
I firmly believe that we’re in this current political mess because we’ve allowed our politicians to divide us – they do that by reducing complex issues to bullet points and slogans and emphasizing our differences.
We don’t get out of this mess doing what we’ve always done – shouting at each other and seeing the other side as some kind of unique evil.
Next time – let’s talk. If you are as passionate and upset as I am you may need to learn how to talk – learn to spot when a conversation is escalating, learn how to de-escalate and learn how to dis-engage.