About six weeks ago, a reader wrote in to give us the details behind Police Reports Illustrated: Red Hat Leads to Assault, which originally ran in January. She and her lover are friends with the report's ostensible star, who had on a Make America Great Again hat when he stopped to watch a protest in Capitol Hill, and got punched in the face for his headwear, repeatedly. (A frame from the comic is included above.) Her story is pretty funny, and we thought we'd share it, now that the incident has come full circle and her friend has been given a new, more reasonable hat that will hopefully be replacing the anger-rousing one, if only for the sake of protecting his face from further abuse...
Dear The Stranger,
We're writing you in reference to this Police Reports Illustrated:
We have the backstory and we thought it was interesting enough to share with you. The person donning the Trump hat in this report is our friend, Andy (not his real name). He had just left my lover's apartment on NYE where we were trying to watch The Room, but we could only stomach the first 15 minutes—if that much. Had we chosen a better movie, perhaps our friend may have avoided this unfortunate incident. Who knows? He left soon after our failed attempt at entertainment and bid us farewell before walking the short distance to his apartment... or so we were led to believe. Neither of us knew that our friend intended to wear his Trump hat as he dropped by the anti-Trump rally taking place nearby. We didn't even know he owned a Trump hat. Here's the crazy thing: he isn't even a Trump supporter. He voted for Hillary.
Since the incident, we've had many questions and ensuing discussions about his motives for wearing the damned hat in the first place. We still don't fully understand his rationale, but here's what we can gather. Andy is disappointed by the tendency of the left to demonize Trump supporters—some of whom might be fine people, according to him. His belief is that it's necessary to break down the political bubble we all find ourselves in and to get used to interacting with people who have different perspectives. So by wearing the hat to the rally, he hoped to present an example of a non-crazy Trump supporter to the liberals there. However, this basically makes him a crazy non-Trump supporter. The word he used was "normalize." He wants to normalize Trump supporters despite not agreeing with them.
As his friends, we've tried to engage him and basically try to talk some sense into him but he is steadfast in his reasoning. I told him that what he was doing the night he got punched amounts to trolling. He said, on the contrary, he's trying to engage people in discussion about opposing political viewpoints. I've tried making the argument that he is misrepresenting himself and the people he wants to help "normalize" by masquerading as a Trump supporter. I think he's engaging in "Trumpface" and it's utter foolery. A couple of nights ago, we were once again debating this bizarre tactic of his over some delicious honey toast in the ID when he made a declaration that made perfect sense. He said that he wants to see political discourse return to a less vitriolic state. To see people discussing their views without wanting to kill each other. We lamented how there is no outlet for people like us who are either more moderate or far more cool-headed than those who are populating the political extremes. Andy said that we need to "make America reasonable again." I totally agree with that sentiment and saw a way to help him channel his hat-wearing activism in a more productive direction. Me and my sweetheart had a hat custom-made for him that says exactly that. It'll arrive in about 2 weeks and we're hoping he'll like it enough to throw his old "make America great again" cap into the trash heap where it belongs.
I'm not sure what you can do with this story, but I think it'd be interesting as a follow-up and maybe to get a conversation going about what it means to Make America Reasonable Again. Feel free to get in touch if you're into that.
[Editor's Note: The hat has since arrived...]