Make MAGA parody hats obsolete again

A vendor pulls a wagon full of "Keep America Great" and "Make America Great Again" hats through the throngs of Trump supporters at the Million Maga March in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 14, 2020. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

When I spot someone wearing a firetruck red baseball cap in public, my senses are immediately heightened. It’s a feeling I’ve grown slightly familiar with over the past four years. After the initial spotting, I squint to identify exactly what the hat’s logo says. 

Sometimes, my suspicions are correct — I’ll see the capitalized, white serif font screaming “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.” What shortly follows is the discomfort that I’m in the presence of someone who’s willing to publicly cosign President Donald Trump. 

To me, the messaging in MAGA hats represents an administration that has consistently spewed hatred. I associate it with a smug Nick Sandmann, smirking in Omaha elder Nathan Phillips’ face. From this month alone, I associate it with attendees of the Million MAGA March, standing alongside advocates for the Proud Boys as they protest a “rigged” election. 

So why the hell would you want to make a MAGA parody hat?

You know what I’m talking about. Your average MAGA parody hat evokes that nauseatingly iconic bright red and white. It’ll occasionally swap out a word or two of Trump’s detestable slogan.

If only I had kept a tally of my public run-ins with MAGA hats or potential MAGA hats over the years. There are, of course, those moments where people sporting an unrelated red cap are profiled for a brief moment. But a more disappointing subgroup of these run-ins is the lowbrow MAGA parody hat.

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Let me get one thing straight — anything that starts off with “Make America” is tainted to me now. Nothing’s stopping the bile rising in my throat after I feast my eyes on those two words. And absolutely nothing that follows those words will achieve the comedic payoff you were hoping for. There are numerous ways to poke fun at the Trump administration and its supporters, But customizing the “blank” spot in this Zazzle template is not the way to go.

Some of these parody hats don’t stick to the language of the original, though. All it takes is that classic red with white text, and I’ll be suspiciously squinting at you in public. One hat on Etsy adhered to the classic style, but with text that read, “Made Ya Look, Black Lives Matter.” This hat was sold over 15,000 times. 

I understand this might be an attempt for a sick “gotcha” moment aimed toward Trump supporters. But all it does is trivialize a real movement. Is this actually achieving anything in the name of police reform? 

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In the same vein of trivializing systemic issues, this Etsy hat crosses out the traditional slogan’s “Great Again” so it instead reads, “Make America arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.” Manuela López Restrepo, another Diamondback writer, has already condemned the memes about Breonna Taylor’s death. And I must ask again, is this accomplishing anything? 

These parody hats are a cheap shot. They never make me laugh, chuckle, chortle, not even a small giggle or sucking back of air. I may experience a quick moment of relief, but that’s it. They’re never as clever a prank as you think.

Despite Trump’s ongoing Twitter temper tantrums about voter fraud, his administration will soon be a thing of the past. Let’s make America great and say goodbye to the parody hats, too. Why would you want to trick somebody into thinking you stand for his presidency, even for a brief moment in time?

We’ll probably still feel the aftershock of Trump for years to come. And, based on events like the Million MAGA March, I don’t think supporters are throwing their hats out anytime soon. But you should throw out that tone-deaf parody cap.

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