Glenn Verasco | United States
It was perfect: white, male, MAGA-hat-wearing, pro-life, Catholic school teenagers mocking and harassing an elderly, Native American veteran. The Gods of grievance studies and the Democratic Party had combined their omnipotence to deliver the video exemplifying toxic masculinity and white supremacy in Trump’s America to end all videos exemplifying toxic masculinity and white supremacy in Trump’s America. The Donald and freedom of association would now see defeat in one fell swoop.
Unfortunately for some, the initial video in question, like most videos, neglects crucial and extenuating context.
Nathan Phillips and the MAGA Kid
In the viral Twitter video, a lone Native American man is banging on a drum and chanting a Native American hymn. Directly in front of him stands a white teenager in a MAGA hat. The teenager, whose face is terribly punchable, remains still with an irritating grin plastered on his mug. Surrounding these two are dozens of other teenagers bouncing, cheering, laughing, and clapping to the rhythm as well as some individuals who appear to be with the Native American man.
I've seen that look before — on the MAGA boy's face as he taunts a participant from the Indigenous Peoples March. Fueled by ideology and a desire to dehumanize, it frightens me and reminds me of other cruel youth groups from history.
(anyone know original source of video?) pic.twitter.com/Ka6t5HKmCz
— Melissa Chan (@melissakchan) January 19, 2019
The clip spread online with captions and explanations suggesting that the boys had instigated the situation. Sources identified the man as Nathan Phillips, a veteran, and the boys as pupils of Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky.
It was at this point that an NPC hate mob was born and all the usual suspects latched on. Obviously, left-wing identitarians, woke celebrities, blue check marks, and anti-Trump radicals pushed the hardest. However, cowardly conservative pundits and journalists joined in too.
A Reality Too Convenient to Question
Next came doxxing and explicit threats of violence towards the boys and platitudes of admiration for Mr. Phillips. What never came, at least out of the burgeoning mob, was skepticism. I guess some realities are just too convenient to question.
More video of the situation then began to emerge. To anyone willing to open their eyes, it was clear that the situation was far more complicated than the mob would permit for consideration.
One video shows that it was Phillips who approached the boys, not the other way around. As the boys shout their alma mater wildly, something teenage boys do, Phillips walks towards them with his drum:
As one present student explains, the boys’ initial thought was that Nathan Phillips was making “a cultural display”, so they decided to join his chant. They then grew “confused” after sensing hostility on Phillips’ part:
— Adam Clements (@AClementsWKRC) January 20, 2019