YAF attends “No Hate in Our State” lecture, opinion by Emily Kokot

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Rocky Mountain College hosted the “No Hate in Our State” lecture in Losekamp Hall on Jan. 31. The event was an anti-white nationalism lecture given by Travis McAdam, the executive director for the Montana Human Rights Network.

Myself and two other members of the Young Americans for Freedom attended the event and were verbally attacked by a man in the audience.

I was wearing a Trump hat with the Presidential Seal in the front, Dylan Council wore a “Border Patrol” hat, and Isaac Clotfelter wore a Make America Great Again hat.

After discovering who the speaker would be and what his political views were, I was concerned that someone at the event would bash Trump or conservative views in general, and I wanted to be there to show my support of conservative values and our president.

There is a misconception that MAGA hats represent white supremacy, and my goal was to convince at least one person that a MAGA hat certainly does not condone such intolerance.

During the question and answer session of the event, an older man in the audience stood up and yelled at us in front of everyone, saying, “Thank you for coming. I hope you’ve been educated. I’m white too, okay! You are not better than anyone else! Get it through your heads!”

The majority of the audience then proceeded to clap and laugh at his verbal attack.

I feel that we were successful in convincing him that a MAGA hat does not condone white supremacy because we did not retaliate after being wrongfully humiliated and instead spoke with the man after the event.

Dylan explained that we are conservatives and not white supremacists. The man responded, “I believe that we are all the children of God and I believe that there is no one who is superior to the other.”

I told him that I agreed, and I like to think that he truly heard me; that he understood we are not white supremacists, nor are most good-hearted conservatives who wear MAGA hats.

I believe the division in this country is a result of lies such as these. I am not a white supremacist. I am a Christian and I believe in kindness towards all races. The man who singled us out knew nothing about us. This is the type of hatefulness and intolerance we are trying to stop.

He saw our race and our hats, and instantly believed we were white supremacists. What if we were a different race? Would he have called us white supremacists then? MAGA hats are not exclusively worn by white people. A MAGA hat represents our president’s motivation to establish equality and make this country a safe place for all Americans.

It represents an America that is economically strong and truly great for all Americans. President Trump is not a racist, nor is there evidence to suggest that Dylan, Issac and I are.

The speech itself was informative and taught us about a pressing issue in the state. White nationalism is certainly something to be concerned with and it should not be a politicized issue.

The majority of conservatives are loving, accepting people, and unfortunately, the media tends to portray conservatives differently.

For anyone who still believes MAGA hats are harmful or represent white supremacy, I encourage you to attend a YAF meeting and discuss with us why you feel the way you do.

We have meetings in the Selover Room every Thursday night at 6:30.

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