Leftist loony lovies and those of the Religion of Peace may gather all sorts of memorabilia without having to defend themselves but if you are not one of them be careful. For the New Zealand new National Party leader ‘It looked just like any posed political picture. The politician, in this case the National Party’s newly elected leader, Todd Muller, standing by a bookcase. So far so normal. It wasn’t even a new photo.
Except that clearly visible in the lower left-hand corner was a powerful piece of political symbolism – a red Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat.
Nothing to see here, Muller responded when questioned about the hat’s significance. It was just a souvenir from Donald Trump’s America; he had Hillary Clinton memorabilia too.
The debate quickly became tribal: the offence taken reflected the left’s obsession with identity politics, it was a Wellington beltway issue nobody else cared about, the hat was about nothing more than Muller’s interest in US politics.
Muller has subsequently said he found Trump’s style of politics “appalling” and the hat will be retired from view. That it didn’t necessarily reflect Muller’s own views was possibly why the Labour-led government didn’t play on the controversy.
But people were curious, which meant Muller was forced to spend too much of his first weekend as leader explaining it.
Suddenly he was not in control of the agenda. And if he’d really wanted to convince people the hat didn’t matter he might have been better off, as the Islamic Women’s Council advised, to leave it at home. The council’s Aliya Danzeisen put its case succinctly:
‘That hat represents the denial of the freedom of beliefs. That hat represents the denial of minority voices. That hat represents the vitriol that has been harming that nation and has been harming the world for the last four years.’
From whichever perspective, the hat – and Muller’s defence of owning it – brought his political judgement into question.
Understanding the power of symbolism in politics is important for any leader. It was why people cared about the hat but not the Clinton campaign badge Muller also brought back from his trip to observe the 2016 US election.’ https://theconversation.com/why-trumps-make-america-great-again-hat-makes-a-dangerous-souvenir-for-foreign-politicians-139296?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20May%2027%202020%20-%201632815685&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20May%2027%202020%20-%201632815685+CID_8dbaecd9e3572f31646cfac519bb601c&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Why%20Trumps%20Make%20America%20Great%20Again%20hat%20makes%20a%20dangerous%20souvenir%20for%20foreign%20politicians