I just love Hawaiian shirts. They’re cheerful. They’re colorful. Wearing one is a definite reflection of my good mood, and I hope that feeling spreads to others. I defy you to look at a Hawaiian shirt without smiling. I’m even wearing a Hawaiian print facemask these days.
So I was horrified to discover that the boogaloo movement is attempting to hijack the symbol of the Hawaiian shirt for their hate-filled, violent agenda. The Boogaloo Bois are far-right, anti-government extremists who hope to incite a second civil war in America. They’re gun-toting libertarians, often white supremacists or neo-Nazis.
They show up, heavily armed, at peaceful protests wearing Hawaiian shirts and military fatigues, and they intimidate people. Some movement members have been charged with killing or attempting to kill police and security officers, and they’ve been implicated in setting fire to a young woman, badly scarring her face.
The movement is big on conspiracy theories, and lone-wolf terrorism as well. They love to spread disinformation and chaos. They are present at most anti-pandemic lockdown protests, because they seem to believe that a coordinated effort to reduce the deaths of the citizenry is somehow governmental overreach. They like to be seen as security against protesters.
I think that the reason that they don’t choose a specific uniform is so that they have plausible deniability. They don’t use a specific Hawaiian print, or a specific military fatigue print. So you can never really be sure of who these people are, but for the fact that they’re toting guns in public places to engage in domestic terrorism.
Clearly they’re more interested in not being identified while doing acts that they know are wrong than they are in making their movement more cohesive through branding. By not picking a specific print, they seem to think that every Hawaiian print is theirs.
To this I say a big and hearty hell no. You don’t get to take my Hawaiian shirts and poop all over them. I refuse. I will not stop wearing them. I will not let you turn something bright and beautiful into a symbol of hate.
I take comfort in the fact that for every member of the boogaloo movement, there are 1000 other people with sunny dispositions and debatable taste out there who are willing to dilute this twisted group’s hate with a whimsical, vacation-like sense of joy. Hawaiian shirt wearers unite! Spread the colorful love!
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