Dear Trump Supporters: It May Be Just a Red Hat to You, But to Us It’s So Much More

Andy Ostroy
4 min readJan 23, 2019

Donald Trump burst onto the political scene in 2015 spewing anger, hatred and racism. As a 3rd-rate real estate “developer “ and reality TV host he was utterly ill-equipped and unqualified to be president. But he understood branding more than all of the other candidates combined. He stole the “Make America Great Again” slogan from Ronald Reagan, slapped it on a red baseball hat and the rest is history.

The controversial hat garnered worldwide attention again over the weekend when many MAGA hat-wearing students from a Kentucky Catholic school, attending a pro-life march in Washington, DC, got caught up in a viral media spectacle outside the Lincoln Memorial which found 16-year-old Trump-supporting white student Nicholas Sandmann and 64-year-old Native American activist Nathan Phillips in a tense face-to-face standoff. Phillips was attending the Indigenous Peoples March.

On the left there are accusations that the teens mocked and disrespected Phillips in an aggressive, racially-insensitive manner. (i.e. simulating Tomahawk chops). On the right there’s been unequivocal support from the boy’s mother, conservative media and even the president, who on Tuesday posted this self-serving tweet:

“Nick Sandmann and the students of Covington have become symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be. They have captivated the attention of the world, and I know they will use it for the good — maybe even to bring people together. It started off unpleasant, but can end in a dream!”

Sandmann’s own defense is that he did nothing wrong, was not acting aggressively and was merely trying to “defuse” an explosive situation as he and his fellow students were under verbal assault nearby by four Black Hebrew Israelite protestors. He and his supporters, including his mother, have disingenuously used this verbal assault as justification for his and his pals’ behavior towards Phillips. They claim the real victims are the kids.

But the tape doesn’t support that contention. Video of the entire roughly 90-minute episode, while indeed proving the kids were targets of vile homophobic, racist verbal attacks, also shows as many as 50–75 Covington Catholic High School students, many recording the encounter on iPhones…

Andy Ostroy

Director, producer, podcaster, writer, resistor, non-profit-supporter of women filmmakers