On Tuesday, November 29 “Empire” star Jussie Smollett was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack at the hands of several men wearing MAGA hats. They called him racist and homophobic slurs, yelled “this is MAGA Country,” poured chemicals on him, and tied a noose around his neck.
Instead of the expected righteous outrage and various anti-homophobia/anti-racism media campaigns that could be expected following a remarkably violent hate crime, the response has been a combination of conspiracy theories and victim blaming.
What is even more shocking than the active harm that many are spewing online is that it is coming from liberals from diverse pockets of the internet.
Gay individuals, black individuals, jewish individuals, members of the theatre community, and any other identity group that Smollett can claim have members boldly claiming that he was lying, or that he created the situation for himself by being out at 2 a.m. without protection.
Several sources including NBC Chicago reported that the police reported the attack to be a hoax. The police then had to release a statement disproving this, forcing these sources to admit to lying and false reporting, and eventually arrested two persons of interest in the case.
While it is painful to admit and no excuse, “MAGA Country” as Smollett’s attackers put it, is to be expected. When the president creates a campaign based in hate for specific types of people using pre-civil rights era rhetoric all while encouraging violence against his dissenters, this behavior is no surprise.
What is surprising is that those who MAGA Country love to hate have turned against a member of their own communities, proving to MAGA, and any future and past victims of these crimes, that if they happen to be attacked at a bad place and time, they will not have your support.
When the communities at risk point fingers at victims of one of the most visible non-police related hate crimes in recent history, the mentality that created MAGA Country is reinforced across every side of the aisle.
Why are we all of a sudden detectives when Smollett is asking for community support, but silent when in 2017, over a thousand hate crimes related to sexual orientation were committed, according to the FBI Hate Crime Statistics?
What happened to everything we learned from the #metoo movement about believing victims, even when they bite their tongues for decades?
Even if Smollett for some insane self-publicity-related reason had lied about his attackers, what this shows MAGA Country is that they can not only get away with hate crimes, but get away with the active support of the communities of the victims.
If communities dissolve when their support is needed most, it shows the rest of the world that there was never any community in the first place.
Is the generation born in the wake of Matthew Shepard's death going to be the same generation that allows MAGA Country to be the only country we know?
Jussie Smollett being attacked was a gruesome test for all of us, and we failed, and those who wish to make America great again will take notice, and soon, may just get what they want.