Will Someone Please Think Of The MAGA Brats? Oh, Half The Country? Cool.
There was a brief period after a random psycho shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin when most people agreed this was a bad thing. Then came Fox News and the rest of the right-wing kook media. They started whispering in the ears of white folks like the cartoon devil on their shoulders. Suddenly, the matter was more "complicated" and the dead victim became the villain in the minds of many.
Although fortunately no one died this time, we're still seeing something similar play out regarding the Covington Catholic School students captured in a viral video appearing to taunt Native American elder and veteran Nathan Phillips. It's not enough to just believe the perpetrators did nothing wrong. They must now become the victims of a left-wing hit job -- and that rude confrontational minority man! -- just like poor old Brett Kavanaugh, George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson, and on and on.
Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, or Ann Coulter are well-paid to fan the conspiracy flames and stoke cultural resentment, but now the alleged president of the United States is offering his services for free.
If only Trump's presidency could end up just a dream. We could all happily join Bobby Ewing in the shower. Remember when it was deemed "divisive" for Barack Obama to express regret for the death of Trayvon Martin and acknowledge that his son might even resemble him because of genetics? Things roll differently now. Trump is not president of the United States. He's tyrant king of the angry white people. That's what's so weird about this administration. The rest of us don't get a president. The referee is wearing the other team's jersey, so you can't help feeling like the game is rigged.
New York Times had a story today about the backlash against the viral video. If the dad from Heathers loved his "dead, gay son," the good folks of Covington, Kentucky, love their MAGA-hat wearing creeps.
The community south of the Ohio River began to see itself as facing a politically motivated siege. Families and churches swiftly circled to protect their young men.
Not surprisingly, the Times centers whiteness and humanizes disturbing behavior. Seriously, who approved the use of the hyperbolic term "politically motivated siege"? What's "politically motivated" about disgust over the mistreatment of an old man? This just enables the conservative narrative that no one other than them actually have any sincerely held beliefs. We only just "virtue signal," as a way of attacking "real" Americans.
Bill Gerdes first heard about what happened when the students pulled into the school's parking lot after the drive back from Washington. His son, who participated in the March for Life, had filmed the incident.
Using an expletive to express his outrage at the news media for its coverage of the students, Mr. Gerdes called the events a "nonstory."
A black person in Ferguson who cursed out a reporter over perceived media bias would be covered slightly differently. We'd also hear a lot about how bad a parent he was for making excuses to defend his son's bad acts.
"It should be reported how great these young men did in the face of these protesters who were trying to bait them," he said in a phone interview on Monday, calling the events a political attack against Catholics for their opposition to abortion rights.
"The left has an agenda," he said. "Facts don't really matter to them if it goes against their agenda."
None of this is true. This is paranoid gibberish. The students didn't do well in the "face of these protestors." They responded in kind, which was just dumb. I grew up in South Carolina. I've been on school trips to New York City and DC. Our chaperones even back in the 1980s had detailed instructions about how we were to behave in the "big city." Top of the list was never engaging with strange people, especially if they were openly hostile or aggressive. (A personal favorite item from the New York trip was the school chaperone's all-caps warning to never play three-card monte with anyone: "YOU WON'T WIN!!")
Let's take a moment to consider how flat-out weird it is that a school would take students to a political rally. A predominately black school that sent their minor students to a Black Lives Matter rally would be derided for their overt political activity and for potentially putting children in harm's way. Even if an all-girls school had attended the Women's March, women aren't entitled assholes so they wouldn't dream of engaging weird adult men. Unfortunately, most of their life post-puberty is about learning to
avoid weird adult men. If the Black Hebrews had shouted insulting names at them, they wouldn't have responded with cheerleading chants. They would've gotten the fuck out of there. Their chaperone, likely a woman with a brain in her head, would've insisted on it.
However, Covington Catholic claims there's "nothing the chaperones could have done differently." The irony is the students had an unintentional encounter with the Black Hebrews while waiting for their bus, but they were cruising for a bruising during the whole trip. The forced birth crowd claims they want to change "hearts and minds" about abortion, but these kids showed up at the March for "Life" like they were attending a sporting event and the playing field was a woman's uterus. They wore MAGA hats to show their allegiance as good Catholics to a thrice-married former casino owner. They knew damn well the hats were provocative, but maybe that's just white male entitlement in action. They believed they could march through DC like jerks without repercussion. There are about a million police officers in the nation but significantly more women who'd like to retain control over their bodies. You'd think an anti-abortion rally would be more contentious than one against police brutality, but Covington Catholic treated it like a trip to Disney World.
Naturally, in the age of cell phones and rampant male assholeness, it's a certainty that videos contradicting the PR spin for the students would eventually surface. There's this one:
And this one.
David Brooks reportedly claims in his recent column, which we will neither read nor link to, that the Covington kids incident is an example of how social media "destroys" lives. Brooks is dragged regularly on Twitter, and he still fills the New York Times's affirmative action moron slot. No white guy's life is ever going to end because he was cruel to women or minorities. The sneering Nick Sandmann will probably be on the Supreme Court shortlist in a few decades. During the Trump era, the "cruelty is the point," and a disturbing number will rush to protect those who are cruel in Trump's image
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."