Updated: Oct 7, 2019
What happens when you wear a MAGA hat & Infowars shirt in public? (VIDEO BELOW)
FTR - I've sat on this video for nearly one year. Sure, it's controversial, and at least part of my rationale was due to spiritual advisement I received from my confessor (which I'll discuss in an upcoming video about Confession), but there's more to it than that... a lot more.
Truth is, I've been afraid. I've been afraid of upsetting people, people I love--and people who love me!--often in spite of our political differences. I've been afraid of burning bridges, especially when I've dedicated so much time & effort to building them! And I've been afraid of losing friends, particularly those who've been near & dear to me and my family, as well as to my daughter Sami and her #TeamTinyDancer Story. (RIP)
And that is the crux of the matter!
After all, Sami's story attracted people from all different walks of life. She had black friends, white friends, Korean friends, Native American friends too. And she had atheist friends, Protestant & Catholic friends, even Jewish friends, and her friends differed as much on politics as they did on religion. But unlike political partisans and racial identitarians, Sami didn't care about any of that stuff, at least not enough to make it a litmus test for friendship. Rather, Sami chose to love people for who (and for what) they were--even "trans" people, whom she admitted to thinking were kinda confused.
This wasn't consequence-free, though, especially not for me. On the one hand, I was Sami's father and the person most responsible for posting updates about her life (and death) with childhood brain cancer. On the other hand, I've been a semi-public figure since 2003... and I've always been more than an incy-wincy bit controversial. (Imagine a bull covered in lightning rods raging through a china shop within a storm cloud. That's me in a nutshell.) Such was the thicket I found myself in with Sami, but I promised her I'd try--and I tried hard! And overall, I think it really paid off...
Well, kinda sorta maybe not really.
There's no denying that it was good for her cause, as it allowed acceptance and common ground to be the central (and unrivaled) themes of her story. But like me, Sami had her beliefs, some of them strongly-held convictions, and they weren't always the mushy-gushy tenets falsely associated with secular humanism or the cult of "☪️☮e ✡ i ☯ ✝ence." For instance, she was against abortion, opposed trans inclusion in women's spaces, and *worst of all!* she liked Donald Trump. In fact, she loved listening to his rallies, claiming the sing-song cadence of his voice was like a lullaby that helped her sleep at night. Of course, none of this would've played well with a large swath of her online followership--especially not after the Russophobia and Trump Derangement Syndrome set in!--so I did what any sane & loving dad would do:
I kept my mouth shut... for the most part, anyway.
Sure, there was that time while we were in London where I posted my support for "extreme vetting" of refugees and asylum-seekers... and that picture we took with Ivanka Trump... and the post-election episode of PaleoRadio where I went off on the myriad of atheist colleagues who laughed at my prediction that Trump would win the presidency... and of course there was that time I tweeted my opposition to Critical Race Theory's view regarding intersectionality, as well as its blatantly racist anti-white bigotry. But for the most part, all of these were short-lived controversies, fading into oblivion as quickly as they burst onto the scene, and (with the exception of the now-notorious tweet) they never really cost me anything. And yet there remained ample reason for me to keep such "outbursts" to a minimum, as they inevitably distracted from the otherwise noble goal of spreading Sami's story as far & as wide as I could.
In hindsight, I'm convinced this was a wise decision, and if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. But that was 2015/2016, and a lot has changed. First and foremost, Sami died in July of 2016. By 2017, Trump was president and PaleoRadio was dropped (over my having voted for Trump) from the airwaves at WPRR. And by Christmas of 2018, my family had returned to the Catholic Church. That's a lot, if you think about it. And now, from midway through 2019, it appears that Americans are far less concerned with Russkies, "hacked elections," and pee-pee tapes (which were total hoaxes, btw) than they are with debates over whether Trump hates AOC's "Squad" of socialists "because they're WoC," or if it's bigoted to deny that men can get pregnant, or whether historically reasonable beliefs regarding nation-states and borders are "xenophobic," or even if Trump's desire to include the "citizenship question" on the census is, as Ilhan Omar claims, really because he "wants every black/brown person deported and Muslim banned." In other words: people have totally lost their freakin' minds. Our political culture has devolved into an octagon of power politics, where racial & gender identitarianism is ascendant, where pedo drag queens "entertain & educate" children in public libraries, and where left-wing extremists attack "Nazi" ICE agents and their so-called "concentration camps." Such a predicament is dangerously volatile--and that last point may be a form of holocaust denialism--but it's where we are, it's who we've become...
And I refuse to stand silent on the sidelines any longer. Will I burn bridges? Maybe. Will I lose friends? It's possible, though I believe this will mostly affect people who've "known" me primarily via social media, since most of my real friends have been fully-aware of my beliefs & values for many years. But we'll see. So, enjoy this video! Not gonna lie, it's pretty nuts, detailing the time I was confronted by a crazy lunatic triggered by my MAGA hat & Infowars shirt. Things got intense when he told me to "respect women!"... you know, by removing my clothes... for the ladies at the gym. Pfft! P.S. Here's a huge SHOUT-OUT to the good folks at the David D. Hunting Y Center in downtown Grand Rapids. Thank you for taking a stand against aggressive weirdos threatening other members over their support for President Trump.