People should be able to wear what they want without being harassed or assaulted
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
It’s okay to hate other people’s political beliefs. I’m definitely guilty of rolling my eyes a little bit when I hear an opinion I don’t like, and I’m sure many people who read this Opinions section have done the same. Like I said, it’s totally fine to take issue with other people’s beliefs or to have any strong reactions to them, especially when they wear those beliefs on a hat or T-shirt. However, when your reaction is to harass or assault the person because of it, that’s where I draw the line.
Recently, a video of a Van’s employee allegedly saying “fuck you” to a 14-year-old boy wearing a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hat in a Kansas mall went viral. This video was uploaded on February 17 and the employee has since been fired, but it’s not the only story of people becoming hostile towards strangers wearing political apparel, especially with the infamous MAGA hat.
Even in Canada the hat has been the source of much controversy. In another video filmed at Mount Royal University in Calgary two students have a confrontation because one of them is wearing a MAGA hat. The video ends with a third person forcibly taking the hat off the student, which I think is an inappropriate way of dealing with the situation.
I’m using the MAGA hat scenarios as an example, but they could be wearing any hat and my stance would remain the same. People should be allowed to wear any clothing that supports their political beliefs without persecution. It’s our right to express ourselves freely, even if it means we’re exposed to ideas we may not like. Sure, you can have a conversation with them about it, but to forcibly take it off, yell at them, or assault them in any way is wrong in my opinion, no matter what side you’re on.
I see tolerance as a two-way street. We can’t expect others to be tolerant of our beliefs and opinions if we are not tolerant of theirs. In the past I’ve written articles about why I dislike “feminist” clothing, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to cuss someone out or tell them to take it off because that’s not my right. To do so would be a violation of their rights to express themselves, and a dick move on my part. If I have the right and freedom to wear anything I want, even clothes that present my political beliefs, then everyone should ultimately have that right.
People can wear Trump merchandise in the same way that people can wear merchandise of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or any other political figure. You can’t pick and choose which political ideology is okay to put on a hat or a T-shirt just because you don’t agree with or have a problem with their viewpoint. You may not like it, and you may want to hit them in the face because of it, but that’s the price we pay for our right to free speech.