The Times reports that Krystal Lake, 22, of Staten Island has been the target of a social media abuse after an image of her wearing the custom-made hat while working at Home Depot went viral on social media. In a video produced by the local Staten Island Advance, Lake explains that the hat is a response to Donald Trump’s famous campaign slogan, which she claims is based on the false premise that America was great to begin with. “I feel like Trump caters to one type of group of people and disregards everyone else,” she says.
This is a succinct summation of the problem with the Constitution and American governance prior to the Reconstruction Amendments, and a strong argument for why America, historically speaking, was not great—in fact, was very bad. And whatever claim to greatness America could make in the twentieth century—for defeating the Nazis, becoming an economic superpower, etc.—was always undermined by injustices at home that grew out of the original sin of slavery. Trump’s slogan doesn’t really evoke America’s past greatness but its past whiteness, and this is exactly what Lake is protesting in brilliant fashion.
“I don’t hate America, I’m not anti-American,” Lake says. “I just wanted to put my input on something that can make America better, and having Trump as president definitely wouldn’t make it better.” Don’t expect Hillary Clinton to wear an “America Was Never Great” hat anytime soon, but this woman is talking sense.