Friday, May 3, 2019

My Encounter with the RedHats

This Sunday, I was shopping for curtains in Home Goods, when a woman and her teenaged son breezed past me in crisp, bright red MAGA hats. My stomach contracted and I literally became nauseated. Word to my friends living in red states- I salute you. I’m a California softy living in liberal LaLa land. I’m not exposed to open carry or MAGA hats. 

She walked past me again, and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. 
I stopped her.
I kept my voice calm.
I said, “Excuse me. Can I ask you a question?”
She looked surprised but she stopped and said yes.
I asked (calmly, I swear), “Why are you wearing those hats?”
She straightened, jutted her chin forward. “Because I want our country to go back to what our founding fathers intended, and I believe in the constitution.”
I nodded. “I’m curious. How did did you feel about Trump banning an entire religion from our country, since that violates what our founding fathers intended and the constitution?”
She changed the subject to a Fox News talking point. “Well, Sri Lanka just banned women wearing hijabs, but when the President tried to do that, everyone attacked him!”
I said, “Look around you in this store. Do you realize that the majority of people here have been negatively affected by Trump’s policies? Do you realize they may feel hurt by seeing you wear those hats?”
Defiantly, she said, “We’ve been wearing these hats all day and no one has said a thing!”
“They may not have said anything, but I assure you they were thinking and feeling things. I know I am. I actually felt sick when I saw your hat. Many of the people here may even feel threatened by seeing you in that hat.”
She shot back, “Well, they threaten US.”
I said, “Wow. You’ve been threatened? That’s terrible! Who threatened you?”
Her son broke in and said, “This isn’t about politics- this is about God.” He pointed to the sky.
I looked back at the mom, “Do you actually believe trump is a Christian?”
“The guy who cheats on his wives with porn stars is someone you look up to?”
She said, defensively, “I wasn’t there. I don’t know that any of that actually happened. And I don’t judge anyone.”
“How about immigrants? Do you judge them?”
She cut me off, “I stand 110% with the President and appreciate all the good he has done for this country!” And with that she stormed off. 

I just stood there in shock. Angry. Shaken. Had they gotten this ideology in church? This was how she was raising her young son?

I kept pushing my cart, thinking about the fact that yes, one way or another, trump will eventually be gone, but these people will still be all around us, and we will have to go on as a country with the knowledge that we are broken and divided. 

I didn’t change anything by talking to MAGA lady. She is firmly entrenched in her position, and raising her young son to be the same. I am firmly entrenched in mine, and am raising my young son to be the same (and already raised two strong young progressives). 

So what’s the moral of the story here? I have no idea. Maybe if anything, our country has begun a long-needed conversation, and my run-in with MAGA-lady was just a tiny part of it.  Or maybe it was a complete waste of breath. I only know if I didn’t say something, I would have felt worse. 

I also thought about making blue hats that say MAKA: Make America Kind Again.