Red Hats Are the New Hijabs
Jeffrey Lord
by

Call it the tale of two head coverings.

On the one hand, there is the hijab, worn by Muslim women. In the case at hand, it is worn by Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. Of her head wear, the newly elected Congresswoman from Minnesota has said this:

“No one puts a scarf on my head but me. It’s my choice — one protected by the first amendment.”

CNN reported that Omar had said that wearing a hijab in Congress shows “the strength of our Constitution” and “the kind of inclusive societies we can all live in.”

And, of course, Omar is not the only Leftist defending the freedom to wear a hijab without being attacked for doing so. In 2015, the New York Times sympathetically headlined:

A Muslim Lawyer Refuses to Choose Between a Career and a Head Scarf

The story said this:

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — The apprehension usually hits the night before a job interview or a big court case, as Zahra Cheema, a young lawyer, looks at the colorful head scarves and flowing abayas in her closet and silently wonders: “Should I try to make myself look less Muslim?”

“That’s when I’m feeling the pressure,” said Ms. Cheema, who wears the hijab, a traditional scarf that covers her hair and neck, whenever she leaves home.

She ponders: Should she wear a long, American-style skirt or the more conservative, full-length abaya that she prefers? There are no easy answers for an observant Muslim woman navigating the workplace.

“Every time I walk into the room, the first thought is, ‘There’s a Muslim,” said Ms. Cheema, 25, the American-born daughter of Pakistani immigrants, describing that moment when she meets with a potential employer or argues a case in court. “I worry that essentially the hijab will override all my other merits.”

Stop right there. Rewrite lawyer Cheema’s statement this way: “I worry that essentially the fact that I wore a MAGA red hat will override all my other merits.” That, exactly, is the concern right now of those Covington boys and their parents. Will they be denied entry into a college, or a job, because they wore a MAGA hat in Washington at a pro-life march?

In fact Omar herself these last fews days, in typically Leftist style, tweeted out such a seriously wrong tweet on the Covington teens that it had to be deleted. Her tweet said:

The boys were protesting a woman’s right to choose & yelled ‘it’s not rape if you enjoy it’ … They were taunting 5 Black men before they surrounded Phillips and led racist chants … Sandmann’s family hired a right wing PR firm to write his non-apology.”

National Review’s David French devastatingly responded:

Vile tweet. The kid who made who made the rape comment wasn’t Covington Catholic. The black adults were viciously taunting the kids with racist and homophobic comments.

Oh and any sane kid would use PR help if he could to write the most important statement of his young life.

Bingo. So, thus revealed as defending homophobic racists who were taunting kids, Omar deleted her tweet.

But the far-left actress Alyssa Milano doesn’t agree with Omar’s view that anyone should be free to wear whatever head covering they choose without being attacked. Says Milano of the Make America Great Again red hats worn by the Covington kids in Washington:

“The red MAGA hat is the new white hood. Without white boys being able to empathize with other people, humanity will continue to destroy itself.”

You have to at least credit Milano for being bold. She is out front about her racism. Not to mention that she seems to mysteriously have not learned basic American history that says the men underneath the hoods of the Ku Klux Klan were, like Milano herself, progressives who supported the far-Left of the Democratic Party. As someone involved in the world of film, she seems to be blithely unaware that the racist film making heroes of the Klan — Birth of a Nation — was showcased at the White House by progressive champion Woodrow Wilson. Not to mention that she seems perfectly OK with the masks that cover the faces of the fascist Antifa members, borrowing the hide-your-face style while violently attacking others from the Klan.

Make no mistake. As with all double standards, the whatever-I-wear-on-my-head-is-fine-crowd has decided to label what somebody else wears as racist. And recall this? The slogan on the hat that Milano and others object to? Here it is, as said in — 1991.

“Together, we can make America great again.”

The man who said the words Milano considers racist was — yes — then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, words uttered in the course of his announcement for president. At his side was his approving, clapping wife. Milano, of course, was not only a Hillary supporter in 2016, back there in the mists of 2012 she posted this: “Bill Clinton, I love you so much. Like crazy amounts of love.”

So unwittingly, Milano has accused both Clintons of being racists because Bill used the line to get elected and Hillary applauded it. Whatever.

But the game being played here is as simple as it is obvious. Leftists who are about controlling every aspect of American life are now doing to the MAGA hat what anti-Muslim bigots have tried to do to the hijab: branding it as a symbol of hate.

Yes, I have a red hat, purchased during the 2016 campaign. I have a collection of baseball-style hats — from CNN, the White House, one hat each from the USS John F. Kennedy and USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carriers. And more. But the one I actually wear is the umpteenth version of the latest Boston Red Sox hat, my beloved team’s navy blue hat with the red and white “B,” having worn them since childhood and my first visit to Fenway Park. When I feel really daring, I wear the Red Sox hat when I walk the streets of New York City. If you think the MAGA hat and the hijab are provoking, you have seen nothing until you wear a Red Sox hat in the heart of Yankee land.

As amusing — and all American — as wearing hats and head coverings of all kinds can be, the Covington kids episode has just illustrated (yet again) exactly how intolerant the American Left is. They will nod vigorously at Congresswoman Omar’s right to wear her hijab — but go out of the way to try and slam a red hat with a slogan used by not only Bill Clinton but Ronald Reagan as some sort of symbol of racist evil.

In addition to being a racist attack, the assault on the MAGA hat is a decided swipe at Christianity and specifically the Catholic Church. As Ben Shapiro noted over here at National Review:

We’re entering the age of mainstream anti-religious bigotry.

… Anti-religious bigotry has hit the mainstream, particularly among Democrats. Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) declared her candidacy for president this week, just after attempting to discredit judicial candidate Brian Buescher by asking him about his membership in the Catholic Knights of Columbus — a group in which Democrats including John F. Kennedy have held membership. Just five years ago, New York governor Andrew Cuomo suggested that pro-lifers weren’t welcome in New York. In 2015, Hillary Clinton stated that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed” based on the need for more liberal views of conduct. During the 2016 election, WikiLeaks released emails showing that John Podesta had agreed with a 2012 push against “a middle ages dictatorship… in the Catholic church.”

It is stunning to realize that leading elites of the Democratic Party are now busy trashing the faith of the first Catholic president, JFK. For those old enough to recall, in the 1960 election then-Senator Kennedy went to Houston to address the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, a group of Protestant ministers. The topic was the role of religion and JFK’s Catholic religion specifically. Among other things, JFK said this, bold print supplied:

These are the real issues which should decide this campaign. And they are not religious issues — for war and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.

But because I am a Catholic, and no Catholic has ever been elected president, the real issues in this campaign have been obscured — perhaps deliberately, in some quarters less responsible than this. So it is apparently necessary for me to state once again not what kind of church I believe in — for that should be important only to me — but what kind of America I believe in.

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials; and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew — or a Quaker or a Unitarian or a Baptist. It was Virginia’s harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson’s statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end; where all men and all churches are treated as equal; where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice…

Now? Now the party of JFK has done a 180. Democrats in and out of Congress are making it their business to target the Catholic Church — and the hellacious assault that has been targeting the boys of Covington Catholic High School is merely the tip of the iceberg.

The assault on the MAGA red hat is a vivid example of the Left’s outright racism and anti-religious bigotry. Congresswoman Omar is just fine with her hijab — to attack that is religious bigotry. But to attack Catholic boys and their red hats? The Left has no problem. Note well: Trayvon Martin was shot to death for, as the charge went, wearing a hoodie. The red hat is not just today’s hijab, it is today’s hoodie. No one should ever be murdered —literally or twitterly — because of what they wear. Ever.

In other words? The vicious assaults on the Covington boys are not really about hats. What the attack on the red hats of those Covington boys — not to mention the attacks on the boys themselves — is really all about is re-creating America as a racist country where people are not only judged by their skin color. It is about remaking America into a country where its Judeo-Christian heritage is vaporized, relentlessly attacked as some sort of dangerous cult.

A remaking of a country by people who are, in reality, themselves members of a seriously dangerous cult known as the American Left. A cult whose very first targets are religious and political liberty.

Not good.

Jeffrey Lord
Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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