Blue-checkmarked journalist Zack Ford related a personal anecdote about his decision last week to cut ties with a Trump-supporting friend who refused to stop wearing her “MAGA” hat. His story, ostensibly shared as an example of how the “woke” should respond to “prejudice,” ended up getting him thoroughly “ratio-ed” and mocked on Twitter.
Ford, writing in his weekly newsletter that covers LGBTQ issues, recounted browsing Facebook and coming upon a picture of a high school friend wearing a “MAGA” hat on the Fourth of July.
According to the ThinkProgress journalist, though he and his Evangelical Christian friend had debated respectfully about their “significant disagreements” in the past, the “MAGA” hat – which Ford describes as a “hat that embodies evil” – was a bridge too far.
In Ford’s eyes, “seeing her proudly wearing a MAGA hat in public — and with her daughter no less” violated the unspoken “accord” the two shared.
“It’s not just a hat,” he said. “It’s a symbol of all of the oppression and injustice the Trump administration is responsible for. It’s an endorsement of caging kids, banning Muslims, firing trans people, and dozens of other ways Trump has undermined our democracy — up to and including the fascist military display that graced the National Mall last night.”
“More than anything, ‘MAGA’ represents the idea that some human lives are worth more than others,” Ford added.
Thus triggered, Ford issued an ultimatum to his Trump-supporting, soon-to-be-ex, friend, saying he “wouldn’t unfriend her so long as she apologized for wearing the hat” and promised he would never have to see it in his Facebook newsfeed again.
When the woman protested the demand, arguing that Ford “was trying to police her beliefs,” he “corrected her” by claiming that his conditions only applied to her wearing of the “MAGA” hat, “not her position on any particular issue.” He was not persuaded by his friend’s argument that she was equally offended by the LGBT pride flag, claiming that “objecting to a symbol of inclusion is in no way comparable to objecting to a symbol of exclusion.”
According to Ford, the woman’s reply – “If I can’t have an opinion about something then I guess I don’t really live in a free country” – led him to end the friendship.
The decision to cut off the relationship left him “emotionally wounded,” Ford claimed, but before severing ties completely, he gave his friend some parting words of wisdom: “Every time you wear the hat, you remember you lost a friendship over it. Every time.”
“I know for sure I’ll now think of her every time I see a MAGA hat, and I’ll fear its corrupting power even more than I used to,” Ford added.
Zack Ford gets ratio-ed
Ford’s tweet describing the incident met with an overwhelmingly negative response. It received nearly 6,000 comments and only 258 likes, comfortably qualifying for Twitter’s notorious “ratio.”
The majority of commenters slammed Ford, praising his former friend’s decision and claiming that he was the one displaying prejudice and intolerance.
It's not that she chose the hat over a friend. She chose freedom of speech and her convictions over intolerance.
— American Lee 🇺🇸 (@scroarty) July 8, 2019
“Hard to fathom the level of self absorption it takes to a) do this and b) write an article about it. I’m embarrassed frankly to have wasted 5 seconds of my life writing this reply,” wrote one commenter.
“It’s not that she chose the hat over a friend. She chose freedom of speech and her convictions over intolerance,” wrote another.
Trump derangement syndrome is real
Last year, therapists indicated a rise in what they unofficially diagnosed as “Trump Anxiety Disorder.” In a 2017 essay, clinical psychologist Jennifer Panning – who is credited with originally coining the term – described the symptoms of “Trump Anxiety disorder” as worrying about the state of the country, feeling helpless and out of control, and spending too much time on social media.
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