If you have heard of the name Vernon Jones and you aren’t from Georgia, it’s most likely because of the political upheaval he caused earlier in the year.
He is the southern black Democrat who announced he would be supporting President Donald Trump for re-election in November and not his party’s assumed nominee former vice president Joe Biden.
But apparently, Jones isn’t done causing an uproar within the Democratic Party, as he is now introducing legislation that would reclassify all attacks against Trump supporters as hate crimes.
The bold politician wrote on his Twitter account last week, “Political affiliation should be a protected class, right alongside race, gender, and religion, and my legislation will do just that. Making any politically motivated attack a HATE CRIME.”
And he added, “Wearing a MAGA hat should never endanger your life.”
Indeed, he is correct.
Just because someone chooses to support a particular public official, presidential or otherwise, and perhaps also wants to wear specific attire or accessories that confirm that support doesn’t mean that he or she should be frowned upon, refused service, or beaten for that choice.
Take Jones himself, for instance.
In 2016, Jones, like the rest of his party, voted for Hillary Clinton. And in his home state, and more particularly, in Georgia’s 91st House District, for which he currently serves as a representative, Trump lost by nearly 50 points.
However, after seeing how Trump has run the White House and the country, Jones, much like many other southern black Democrats, has changed his mind about our President, finding him to be rather useful for both our economy and the nation as a whole.
He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier in the year, “It’s very simple to me. President Trump’s handling of the economy, his support for historically black colleges, and his criminal justice initiatives drew me to endorse his campaign.”
For him, it has nothing to do with party. While he still has some differing views from Trump and has stated that he is not switching parties by any means, he understands that voting for a national leader should have everything to do with what a candidate is actually doing for the nation, and not just about what party they are affiliated with.
However, as this is not an ideology that is often used within the Democratic Party, Jones has received much backlash for his decision.
The Peach State’s Democratic chairwoman, Senator Nikema Williams, even called him an “embarrassment” to the party and has since announced her support for Jones’ much more liberal primary challenger.
In addition, Jones has received a multitude of threats and hateful speeches, mostly from his own party members.
And he isn’t the only one.
Jones said that his new legislation comes from the “countless videos of Trump supporters getting attacked in the streets” that he was watched in the last two months since making his initial announcement to support our Commander in Chief.
Take the owner of a New York City art gallery who says he was beaten and hospitalized when a group of “more than a dozen teens” saw him wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. A man in California, who wore the same hat to a bar, received “serious injuries” when he was assaulted in the bathroom.
Even children and the elderly aren’t safe from this abuse.
A young boy in Florida wore a MAGA hat to school one day. The next morning, his bus mates attacked him for it. Another Florida resident, this time a 67-year-old man, was attacked and spit on for the same innocent act.
Jones wrote on Twitter, “I’ve watched countless videos of Trump supporters getting attacked in the streets simply due to their support of @realDonaldTrump. Let’s call this what this is: a hate crime. And as we return to the legislature next week, I’ll be introducing legislation that’ll make it such.”
And this goes both ways. According to the news release, “if a misdemeanor is committed because of actual or perceived political beliefs or political associations, defendants could be sentenced to imprisonment for three to 12 months and face a fine up to $5,000.”
Jones is disgusted that “Americans are being attacked nationwide because of their party affiliation or political ideology.” And it isn’t right. I mean, when a man can’t even walk down the street, wearing a hat of his own choosing, without being physically beaten and abused, there is something terribly wrong.
Thankfully, people like Jones are willing to put a stop to it.