Make America Great Again. That particular phrase is not hateful. Let’s please save our hate for things that are actually hateful. You may not like the fact that the hats exist, but they are not specifically hateful. Premise rejected.
When Donald Trump went from “clownish television personality cum unlikely political winner” to “flagrant apologist for white nationalists and neo-Nazis groups who commit acts of violence”, his catchphrase “Make American Great Again” (pilfered, of course from Reagan) became “hate speech”, because of the clarity that what was intended by such vague “Greatness” was a return to Jim Crowism or worse. When Trump went from dog-whistling inept chief executive to flagrant instigator of insurrection following his electoral loss, it went from mere “hate speech” to “callsign of treason”.
Let’s stop pretending like Trump is normal, that his followers are just harmless dupes, and that his words should be taken, as they say, “figuratively but not literally.” He literally intended to sow dissent and stoke the fires of racism, and he quite deliberately commanded his followers to interfere with the certification of an election that he unquestionably lost out of a fit of pique, to which many have responded by expressing solidarity against democratic principles and a (fortunately small) minority actually physically attacked the legislature in the type of event that normally only occurs in one of the “shithole countries” Trump so infamously decried.
Trump is a demagogue, his die-hard followers are eager enthusiasts of fascism, and the “MAGA” hat is the iconic symbol of their movement as much as the swastika was of the Nazis or the hammer and sickle was of Stalin. Anyone still advocating for Trump or his bullshit ‘Stop The Steal’ and sporting MAGA apparel is an opponent of democracy (such as it still is) in the United States. To be equivocal about it is just feeding the beast of despotism.
Political speech, such as Make America Great Again, or F Joe Biden, isn’t hate speech by definition.
I recently read an anecdote (so no cite) about a F Joe Biden incident at one of the playoff games. As the (overwhelming white) spectators were doing said chant about a lily white President, a white woman started screaming that they were racist for doing that. Say what?
In addition to the above, this is also false. The First Amendment is not easily circumvented by simply labeling speech one doesn’t like as “hate speech.” As long as you don’t make true threats, you can be as mean and hateful as you like.
Donald Trump and a significant number of his followers have already committed actual crimes, so no, not “like pre-crime”. Genuine insurrection and promoting violence. That is what “MAGA” stands for, even as you are trying to argue that it is just a metaphor for…something.
I agree that the hats aren’t hate speech. That’s a specific term with a specific meaning.
But it doesn’t make any sense to merely parse the literal meaning of the phrase in question. The hat is both a brand and political slogan. At minimum it represents support for one Donald J. Trump and his political agenda. To still wear it today when he’s not even running for office indicates more than that: it represents a lifestyle.
And, yes, I’d say that the political agenda and lifestyle that Trump promotes is hateful. That’s his whole thing. It’s about attacking THEM, with THEM being whoever Trump decides to hate.
That said, it’s not hate speech. Sure, Trump supports some bigoted things, and thus likely do his supporters. But merely being racist is not hate speech. Neither is merely being hateful. Hate speech is at minimum speech that attacks minorities or the disadvantaged for being those things.
And, yes, there is no hate speech law in the US. There is an argument that freedom of speech the concept shouldn’t include hate speech, same as it doesn’t include libel and slander or threats. But the law in the US permits it.
And even in places that do have restrictions on hate speech, simply being hateful does not count. If someone got thrown in jail for saying “fuck Joe Biden,” we’d be living in a dictatorship. We all have a right to criticize our leaders.
Eh, sure, maybe for the MAGA hat (but not “fuck Joe Biden”), depending on the context. At least, I don’t think it’s egregiously wrong to see it that way. But the reason it’s so open-ended is that, as noted above, “hate speech” is not some formal category. I doubt it would be categorized as hate speech in any legal system that made that classification (though the world is a big place).
Wearing a swastika in a public space is forbidden in Germany, wearing a MAGA hat is not, but it has come to show the same attitude. This difference in treatment has obvious historical reasons. If we analize hate speech from the legal perspective, MAGA hats do not constitute hate speech yet, but from a moral point of view it parades a state of mind that is at ease with hate speech.