liberals should co-opt trump’s “make america great again”!

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

THE IDEA BEHIND “MAGA” IS FINE: “Make America Great Again!” Who can argue with those four words? Well, ac­tu­ally, anyone can argue with them when we con­sider what the word “great” is being used to de­scribe. I sug­gest lib­erals co-opt the Trump­sters’ use of the phrase and make it ours!

While Donald Trump cam­paigned more or less as a “pop­ulist,” as a Pres­i­dent he has more or less ruled as an au­to­crat, catering to the needs of the top income-earners and little else.


Lib­erals should ap­pro­priate the medium and mes­sage and medium and wear blue MAGA caps!


Or, as Jamil Smith so ac­cu­rately summed it up in Rolling Sone: “a pres­i­dency re­plete with hateful policy, de­lib­erate ne­glect, and slothful gov­er­nance.” Jamil continued:

“During the cam­paign, Trump was never subtle about his pref­er­ence: he’d rather lose as the pres­i­dent of white people than even at­tempt to be the pres­i­dent of the United States. So those of us whom he erased, along with our al­lies, were fine with that. In this elec­tion, by a con­sid­er­able margin, we got him squared away.”

Con­se­quently, the phrase “Make America Great Again” and the acronym MAGA is in­ter­preted as some­thing less-than-positive by those of us who have not drunk from the same pitcher of Kool-Aid as those Amer­i­cans who con­sis­tently vote for the Rep*blican ticket.

So the phrase and the acronym are with us now, prob­ably for a long time.


Co-opt: drawing of "Don't Drink The Kool Aid" pitcher.

I found this image ac­com­pa­nying “Who is Drinking the Kool-aid?” by . In it, she asks, “What [if] we stopped drinking the Kool-Aid of black vs white, man vs woman, or cul­ture vs culture?”

Let’s co-opt MAGA

Rather than be re­pulsed by the (often troglodytic) philoso­phies of those who wear red base­ball caps with those four let­ters, De­moc­rats and Pro­gres­sives should in­stead co-opt the acronym and the slogan!

Merriam-Webster as­signs four de­f­i­n­i­tions to co-opt and for this ar­ticle, it is the second de­f­i­n­i­tion that mat­ters: “to take into a group (such as a fac­tion, move­ment, or cul­ture); to ab­sorb, as­sim­i­late” and “take over, appropriate.”

The dic­tio­nary as­signs three de­f­i­n­i­tions to ap­pro­priate with the first and third of in­terest here: “to take ex­clu­sive pos­ses­sion of; to annex” and “to take or make use of without au­thority or right.”


The co-opted person is per­mitted to share par­tic­i­pa­tion but not share in the de­ci­sion making.


In the ar­ticle “What Is the Dif­fer­ence Be­tween Co-Option and Co-Optation?” on the BizFluent web­site, Jayne Thompson delves fur­ther into a us­able de­f­i­n­i­tion of co-optation:

“The term co-optation was de­vised in 1949 by the noted aca­d­emic Philip Selznick. He used the phrase to de­scribe a po­lit­ical process whereby out­siders were co-opted into the or­ga­ni­za­tion or com­mittee as an act of self-defense be­cause those out­siders ei­ther had spe­cial­ized knowl­edge that could be used against the or­ga­ni­za­tion or be­cause they were op­posing the or­ga­ni­za­tion in some way.

Co-optation in gov­ern­ment, for ex­ample, might in­volve bringing op­posing party sup­porters into your own po­lit­ical party. The co-optation it­self could be formal or in­formal, but it rarely in­volves giving any real power to the co-opted in­di­vidual. Most of the time, the co-opted person is per­mitted to share par­tic­i­pa­tion but not share in the de­ci­sion making.”

So, lib­erals should ap­pro­priate the mes­sage and medium and start wearing blue MAGA base­ball caps!

Co-opt: photo of blue "Make America Great Again" cap.

FEATURED IMAGE: I took a Rep*blican-red MAGA hat and trans­formed it into a Democrat-blue MAGA hat. De­spite the ob­sta­cles that Mitch Mc­Connell and the Senate will spend four years laying be­fore us, I would wear this cap—and I never wear base­ball caps—and move for­ward with pres­i­dent Biden and Vice-President Harris a make America great again for those folks who work for a living or need a helping hand when they are down on their luck.

Fi­nally, the piece by in the image cap­tions above closes with this quo­ta­tion from Nelson Man­dela: “No one is born hating an­other person be­cause of the color of his skin, or his back­ground, or his re­li­gion. People must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more nat­u­rally to the human heart than its opposite.”


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