The controversy surrounding the students from Covington High School does not appear to be waning. And, like it or not, it is the red MAGA hat that has made the situation into the firestorm that it is.
Without that hat, one wonders if this would have even been a story. The infamous red hats have become a symbolism of this new form of racism in America. Thus, it matters immensely that the high school student was wearing that hat when the incident went down at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
In the controversial video, a group of teenage boys from a private Catholic high school in Kentucky is seen engaging with a Native American elder beating a tribal drum. The media was quick to vilify the group of boys. Later videos released showed that there was likely more to the story. The new video demonstrated more context with the inclusion of a group of black men, identifying as Hebrew Israelites. In this longer video, the black men are seen to be the primary offenders by provoking the tension.
As new videos continue to emerge, the debate rages on as to who was at fault. It would be easy to give the high school students the benefit of the doubt in this situation. But that MAGA hat has become so synonymous with blatant racism that it is hard to paint the kids as innocent bystanders.
These hats matter and it was not a good look for a group of high school students representing the Christian faith to be donning this symbol of what is often criticized as white supremacy.
The hats matter because they represent a president who showed no shame in campaigning on a platform of building a wall around the country to keep Mexican people out. The hats matter because this president continues to spout this rhetoric at rallies and even in official addresses to the nation.
Much like the Confederate flag remains a symbol of hate and racism, these hats fall into that same category. The truth is that people choose these symbols to express their viewpoints.
The real story in all of these videos is how the country immediately snapped to judgment because of one hat that was worn by a high school student. It is because these hats matter.