The viral incident that happened in Washington, D.C., on Friday, is sad: A “Make America Great Again”-hat wearing young white punk smugly and aggressively smiling in front of a Native American elder (it’s widely reported that he’s also a Vietnam veteran, although I’m not sure how important that is, frankly; I’m not into veteran worship, but I do respect Native Americans).
Slate.com gives a fairly tidy account of what happened:
Nathan Phillips, the Native American elder who was mocked and harassed by teenagers wearing “Make America Great Again” hats in Washington on Friday [where he was attending the Indigenous Peoples March], says the whole thing started when he tried to defuse an escalating argument.
Phillips told the Detroit Free Press the teenagers, who appear to be from Covington Catholic High School [which is in Kentucky, apparently], got upset by four people who were with a group known as the Black Hebrew Israelites. The group of Catholic students kept growing and they made the displeasure at what they were hearing, which, at least according to videos posted online, included some disgusting homophobic rhetoric, very evident.
“They were in the process of attacking these four black individuals,” Phillips told the Detroit Free Press. “I was there and I was witnessing all of this. … As this kept on going on and escalating, it just got to a point where you do something or you walk away, you know? You see something that is wrong and you’re faced with that choice of right or wrong.”
Phillips acknowledges some of the members of the Black Hebrew Israelites group were also “saying some harsh things” and one even spit in the direction of the students. “So I put myself in between that, between a rock and hard place,” he said.
Phillips said he quickly realized the situation was much more tense than he had anticipated. “There was that moment when I realized I’ve put myself between beast and prey,” Phillips said. “These young men were beastly and these old black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.”
Speaking to The Washington Post, Phillips said he realized he needed to get out. “It was getting ugly, and I was thinking: ‘I’ve got to find myself an exit out of this situation and finish my song at the Lincoln Memorial,’” Phillips said. “I started going that way, and that guy in the hat stood in my way, and we were at an impasse. He just blocked my way and wouldn’t allow me to retreat.”
In an e-mail to a local network, a student says they were simply cheering “to pass time” while they were waiting for their ride. “In the midst of our cheers, we were approached by a group of adults led by Nathan Phillips with Phillips beating his drum,” the student wrote.
“They forced their way into the center of our group. We initially thought this was a cultural display since he was beating along to our cheers and so we clapped to the beat.”
The student also improbably claims that the white student who stood in front of Phillips with a smug look on his face was simply standing “where he was, smiling and enjoying the experience.” A mother of one of the students reportedly wrote an e-mail to Heavy.com, saying they had been harassed by “black Muslims.”
It’s clear just from the facial expressions of everyone captured in the screen grab above that the MAGA-cap-wearing punk-ass was not “smiling and enjoying the experience,” but was trying to impress his fellow white fascists by being a colossal prick to a Native American elder.
His behavior was aggressive and courted violence, and yes, he and anyone and everyone else who participated probably should be expelled from the Catholic high school.
And yes, the Catholics sorely need to get their shit together.
I’ll never forget or forgive them for their hateful, ignorant, fascist support of 2008’s Proposition Hate. (They lost that war, of course; same-sex marriage is now the law of the land throughout the United States.)
The whole rampant Catholic sexual abuse of minors thing aside, now we have Catholic punks wearing MAGA caps in public (they might as well wear fucking swastikas), and it’s interesting that they should be at a “pro-life” (“March for Life”) rally when clearly, the only lives they truly give a shit are their own white, over-privileged, fascist lives.
Part of me says don’t expel these punks, but try to rehabilitate them, because expulsion might make them even worse; we already have more than enough white, right-wing domestic terrorists. (As Vox.com noted in October 2017, “Since [“President” Pussygrabber] took office, more Americans have been killed by white American men with no connection to Islam than by Muslim terrorists or foreigners.”)
But can these young, white-supremacist punks be rehabilitated? They get their ignorance, hatred and bigotry from their families and friends — and from the Catholic church, which apparently is A-OK with them wearing MAGA caps in public to represent the Catholic church.
How likely is it that these young fascists are going to reject the sick and twisted worldview — pure evil masquerading as “Christianity” — that has been shoved down their throats by their social support system?
In the meantime, public naming and shaming might be our best weapons against these budding domestic terrorists (yes, even if they are minors — perhaps especially if they are minors).