About That Rude-Ass MAGA Kid: Seeing His Face is Like Looking in a Mirror

Bethany Roach

I actually crawled out of my bed to write about that punk-ass, disrespectful kid (hereafter known as The Kid) who has gone viral for his blatant disrespect of an elderly indigenous man, Nathan Phillips. The Kid was attending a pro-life rally in Washington, D.C. that happened to coincide with the Indigenous People’s March. I’ve made a conscious decision to avoid describing the video and scenario in great detail, but the pictures are everywhere. The Kid wears a “Make America Great Again” hat and invades the personal space of Mr. Phillips while The Kid’s peers cheer him on from the sidelines.

In a nutshell? This kid is being a complete asshole. There are no excuses, and there are no reasons in existence that justify this kind of behavior. But, watching the video and seeing his behavior put a different kind of pit in my stomach. It’s not coming from a place of hate, disgust or confusion. It’s coming from a place of familiarity. I’m sad to say that I recognize that kid. That kid is me.

My interest and involvement with politics started when I was very young, and I came by it naturally. My entire family was filled with active and staunchly conservative political pundits and activists. One of my favorite stories from my grandfather was about the time he was working on a campaign and found himself peeing in a urinal next to Ronald Reagan who said, “Whew! I was about to bust!” My parents listened to Rush Limbaugh, took me to rallies, and engaged me in political talks. I vividly remember hearing Bill Clinton swear that he “did not have sex with that woman.” I started my first political blog when I was eleven. Yes, at age eleven I had my first political blog, and it was fairly widely circulated.

I went to rallies, I worked Republican political campaigns, I posted social media quotes by Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and Ben Shapiro. I went to school in a t-shirt with an elephant and American flag printed on the front. I stood in the rain with signs. I condemned “THE GAYS.” I actually worked a phone bank campaigning for John McCain and Sarah Palin. I volunteered at our local Republican office answering the phones. Most of all, I said a lot of shit during that time that is in complete opposition to what I now believe and speak out about. I was a very different person, and when I had time to move away from my Republican family and live my life, my perspective really started to shift.

I say all of this to say that this incident, to me, isn’t even about The Kid. We’re all dumb when we are young. We’re all disrespectful. We all do things we regret. So yeah, while this kid is just now famous for being pretty dumb, his particular dumbness is part of a bigger story. It’s a symptom of a festering wound that is the vitriolic political climate in the United States.

It’s the sign of a nation that has never honored its indigenous people.

It’s the sign that there is so much human disconnect that children think it is okay to engage in this kind of behavior towards another person.

It’s the sign that we’re teaching our kids the wrong way to do what they believe is right (and this isn’t a bipartisan issue).

For me the biggest message here it’s the sign that we’re allowing our children to be the scapegoats for a group’s inappropriate behavior. It’s the sign that we’re wanting to blame “The Youth” instead of taking ownership of how ugly and toxic we’ve all made the nation these children live in. We’ve made it dysfunctional, and we’ve made it hateful. The Kids of this nation will always echo the adult behavior they witness. This confrontation is a mirror, and when we look into it, it’s reflecting a very sick nation back at us.

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