Kate Kretz, Social Murder, 2020
This piece is part of The MAGA Hat Collection, a series begun in early 2019.
The times we live in call for work that aggressively confronts the Americans who are complicit in this administration’s cruelty and destruction of our Democracy. MAGA hat wearers love to coyly claim that the iconic red symbols they sport on their heads are innocuous. I cathartically rip these hats apart to reject this claim, then manipulate the pieces into objects that function as corrective physical manifestations of the truth.
At the onset of the pandemic, I was shell shocked. Making a MAGA mask of some kind felt inappropriate when so many people were dying. I ultimately made “Social Murder” when I realized that, once again, it was the most vulnerable among us who were going to suffer from this president’s policies, and that needed to be called out.
When the people you love are in peril, you impulsively rush to save them. Although this man put his hand on the Bible and swore to protect the American people, Trump’s instinctive response was not one of love for his citizens, but a move to protect his own power. Other countries shut down, to preserve as many lives as possible. Ours prioritized the economy, viewing humans as collateral damage. The United States instantly split into those who could afford to work from home, and others who never had that option: risk your life at work, or lose your paycheck. We think of “killing” as something that requires an action, but the several hundred thousand Americans who died from this president’s incompetence, deliberate denial, lies, and inaction are no less dead than if he lined them all up and shot them in the middle of Fifth Avenue.