Mental Anatomy of the MAGA Hat Powder Keg

Michael Nabert
8 min readNov 24, 2021

How an inner script of victimization is used to justify political violence.

Photoshopped by author from MAGA hat photo by Natilyn Hicks (Aubrey Hicks Photography) on Unsplash and other creative commons images that require no attribution

In the cycle of abuse, the victimizer commonly apologizes after an assault, using gifts and kind gestures to usher in a honeymoon phase of relative peace which becomes increasingly uneasy as tensions build towards the next inevitable incident. As stormclouds gather, those in the abuser’s circle walk on eggshells, anticipating the next outburst with dread, trying hard not to trigger it, fearful of escalation.

That’s how much of America feels post Trump. Tens of millions of citizens can no longer feel safe with the hostile aggression of their neighbours not only on full display, but clearly ratcheting upwards. It’s how the rest of the world primarily looks at America, watching its descent into violent fascism with fascinated horror. The country’s a ticking time bomb.

The violence only ever seems to abate momentarily, temporary peace ever more fragile and transient. Tensions never settle. The victimizer never apologizes any more. Instead they celebrate every trauma by upping the volume of death threats and violence incitement by public officials on Twitter to magnify it. January 6th was clearly just prelude. Puerto Rican separatists who invaded the capitol in 1954 faced 50–75 year sentences, but the longest sentence for insurrectionists this year being 41 months absurdly minimizes the seriousness of the event in a country where citizens can face life in prison for shoplifting.

The Rittenhouse verdict is a lit match.

Pressures that build towards the next explosion never let up, instead escalating at increasing rates. Between 1929 and 1932, employment in Germany fell by 44%, more than ten thousand businesses failed every year, and wages for those who retained jobs fell by 39%. Outrage over the intense decline in living standards fuelled the popularity of violent fascism’s scapegoating propaganda. But Germans didn’t have to watch Elon Musk’s obscene wealth jump by $36 billion in a single day at the same time that Covid triggered an avalanche of family evictions. Real economic hardship has Americans on the ropes and just keeps swinging, with no realistic prospects of improvement anywhere on the horizon…



Michael Nabert

Researching a road map from our imperilled world into one with a livable future with as much good humour as I can muster along the way.