MAGA Hat Bashing Is a Hate Crime [OPINION]
A woman who assaulted a man who was wearing a red MAGA hat at a restaurant in Falmouth a couple of weeks ago has had a date with karma. Seems 41-year-old Rosiane Santos has spent the last 25 years living in the U.S. illegally and is now facing possible deportation to her native Brazil. Aw, bummer!
Twenty-three-year-old truck driver Bryton Turner was simply trying to eat when Santos began harassing him over the hat before finally knocking it off his head. When police arrived she accosted Turner again, resulting in her arrest. Police discovered she is an illegal alien and handed her over to ICE. Turner says he didn't want Santos to get in trouble, he just wanted her out of his face.
There is an endless stream of photos and videos all over social media of people being verbally and physically abused for wearing MAGA hats. Not only is this outrageous, but it is a serious offense.
It's too bad that so many people are still having a tough time digesting the results of the 2016 elections. It really is. But attacking someone for their political beliefs is a hate crime and should be treated as such.
It's not cute or funny or entertaining to see folks berated or assaulted or their hats stolen or being slapped off their head because their political views are different than the assailants. What gives someone the idea that they have the right to do that?
Assaulting, intimidating and harassing someone for their political views is as repugnant as assaulting, intimidating and harassing them over their race, religion, gender or sexuality and should be taken seriously. It is not a joke.
Wearing a MAGA hat or any other type of clothing that makes a statement about an individual's political beliefs is free speech that is protected by the Constitution of the United States. Anyone who violates that right should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.