Back in February, I wrote a piece called “American Hope”. I pondered the era of optimism we found ourselves in post-election. I remember those heady, happy days, with the newly minted President Trump – and so many of us convinced that we would MAGA in the same way we got him elected, with hard work and by utilizing the voices of real Americans. I liked him, I supported him, but I can admit to myself that our feelings about things that are new (Including politicians. Perhaps especially politicians.) are often blurred by rose-colored glasses.
Today, a few months and many new articles later, I’m sitting in my hotel room in the state of New York, on day number 101 of Donald Trump’s presidency – and hope is still on my mind.
I flew in for work with Halsey News (and associated projects, coming soon!), and had a fantastic time meeting my business partners in person. I brought my 17 month old with me for his first international trip and first time on a plane (my second time!) and though travelling alone with a toddler is challenging, I’m glad I have him here with me. I wasn’t planning on writing this week, since it’s been so busy, but I already feel the words calling me home, and thought I should oblige, lest I get too rusty by the time I return to Canada on Tuesday.
I love America. I love the Constitution. I love the people. I love the history. I have a special place in my heart for the First Amendment, and, as a Canadian, a special longing in my heart for the Second. I love that American flags are everywhere, that the love of country is on full display, even in such a liberal state as New York.
I also love Dunkin Donuts coffee, as I’ve come to find out.
When I landed on Tuesday, our editor-in-chief Halsey English surprised me at the airport with a Make America Great Again hat (which I wore for a few minutes before getting nervous and taking it off). Our social media manager Justin Farrell brought his when I met him the next day, but naturally I forgot mine and we didn’t take photos. Oh well, next time, many MAGA selfies will be happening.
Today, I wore it out in public for the first time.
It was a benign experience on the surface. I wore it in the car, in a couple of parking lots, at lunch, and then picking up my coffee at Dunkin Donuts (did I mention I like their coffee? ‘Cuz it’s awesome). I also saw a car with a “Donald Trump Is Full Of Sh*t” bumper sticker that I totally was going to take a photo with, but unfortunately I forgot on my way out. Ah well, there are no shortage of leftist-bumper-sticker clad cars around here, so my time may yet come.
Found the commie-mobile the other day pic.twitter.com/ZiVmSeYYnb
— Stefanie MacWilliams (@StefMacWilliams) April 30, 2017
I didn’t get any nasty glares, let alone any rude comments. Most people just carried on as usual. The most I got was a quick second glance. Despite the fact that over 2.8 million people in New York voted for Donald Trump, I have yet to see a single MAGA hat. Is it just because the election is over, and we are no longer trying to get Trump elected? Is it because non-political-nerd people don’t feel the need to wear presidential campaign hats in public for no reason?
I think this is part of the reason, but more than that, I think people are a little bit afraid, even today, to openly show their support for Donald Trump.
While we celebrate the first 100 days (as silly of a measure of success it may be) of the Trump presidency (or, for the cynical, the first 100 days of Not Hillary Clinton), I also keep thinking to myself that we have put up with the so-called “Resistence” for the same amount of time. Actually, even longer, since those anti-populist, elitist, delusional haters of Democratic elections have been plaguing us since before the election even took place.
I agree with many in the leftist media that the country is divided. When we have millions of people who seem to be under the impression that Donald Trump is in cahoots with Vladimir Putin and plotting to electrocute gay teenagers and throw them in concentration camps, there is clearly a problem.
But the fix doesn’t lie with Trump.
"Just imagine what we could accomplish if we all worked together to rebuild this nation – this nation which we all so dearly love." – Trump
— Stefanie MacWilliams (@StefMacWilliams) April 30, 2017
Before I wrote the piece about American Hope, I wrote about What Progressives Need To Learn From Trump’s Victory (vintage me, from my pre-Halsey News days!). I disagree with some of what I wrote now, but I still think the core message rings true: there is more to Trump than Trump, and those who refuse to see this fact remain blind at their peril.
When I wore my Make America Great Again hat, I almost forgot it was sending a message about supporting Trump.
Don’t get me wrong – I still do support Trump. I still believe we are living in a time of great hope for the United States. I’m not “fake base” or whatever they’re calling it these days – just a writer, seeking truth, wherever that may be. If I had been an American able to vote, I certainly would not have an ounce of regret for voting for Trump.
However, I acknowledge the worries many on the Right have over certain developments in foreign and domestic policy since the inauguration. The rose colored glasses are off, we’re almost a third of the way through year one, term one, and though we still have the President Trump we voted for, many are noticing the imperfections and flaws (even if they are only perceived that way) that plague us all as human beings, leader of the free world included.
When I wear my MAGA hat, I like that I, even as a Canadian, am supporting Donald Trump fearlessly and publicly. I like that I feel I am showing a little bit of defiance against the small but angry minority which would paint me as something I am not based on my political views. It is a minority – and I hope more who support Trump will consider being just a bit more public, and making sure it’s clear that Trump is not some fringe “far right” leader, but a democratically elected President who seeks a better country for all Americans.
But to me, rocking a MAGA hat, while it is about supporting Trump, it’s about more than supporting Trump.
MAGA means Make America Great Again – all of us, right here, right now.
When I wear my red hat, I wear it not only as a sign of supporting Trump – but as a sign of supporting America as a whole. Supporting the millions of Americans who see the beauty in America – and want to make the country even better. Supporting the side of Freedom, Free Speech, and the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
I wear a MAGA hat as a sign of unity – a unity that welcomes all Americans (and even some feisty foreigners such as myself), Trump supporters or not, who love America and want to make it the best country it can possibly be.
I’m going to miss this beautiful country when I leave – I am so thankful that I will be coming back to visit soon.