Sophomore Charles Deon talks Trump, economics, and empathy in a tense political climate

Sophomore Charles Deon was eating his lunch when an apple flew by his head. The apple just missed
Deon, instead landing on the floor and rolling under a cafeteria table.

“People are getting so offended that I’m wearing a hat that they have to throw stuff at me,” Deon said. “It’s to a point where it’s showing that I can’t even have my own opinion.”

Every day, Deon wears a bright red baseball cap with President Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” stitched in white lettering. In such a politically divided climate, the MAGA hat carries heavy connotations.

“There’s this belief that if you are a Trump supporter, you’re racist and sexist,” Deon said. “That’s not true. If you have a different opinion, that’s fine. Respect that. This is not Russia.”

HE’S GOT IT

In his freshman year, Kickin’ It Live featured Deon for holding open the senior doors every day for students during his lunch period. At the time, Deon’s grandmother had recently passed away and his grandfather was declining in health.

Click here for Kickin It Live’s Full Feature on Deon and more broadcasting content

“I was in a very difficult place,” Deon said. “[My grandparents] were the only family I could see. They’re now deceased, and I only had one other friend.”

That year, Deon spent a total of 132 hours greeting Upper Arlington students by the doors during his lunch. Always displaying a warm smile, Deon became a symbol of generosity and kindness.

“I got a lot of support. I was really happy,” Deon said.

DEON GOES TO WASHINGTON

Deon was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona but said he has lived in cities and suburbs across the United States. At 4 years old, Deon and his family moved to Washington, D.C. and spent two years there.

“When I was a small kid, my dad actually worked in the White House,” Deon said. “He was my role model back then. When I got to draw, I would draw White House images and stuff with George Bush.”

Deon’s father, Phil Deon, worked in security under President George Bush. During his time with
the Bush administration, Deon’s father was able to introduce his son to political figures like John
McCain.

“If [McCain and my dad] were in the same room, they’d say, ‘Hey, Phil,’ ‘Hey John,’” Deon said.

CAUGHT IN DEBATE

When Deon isn’t playing video games on his X-Box, like Mortal Kombat and Dragonball Fighters, he is watching horror films or wood carving. But above all, Deon loves to debate.

“I debate actually too much,” Dean said. “Politics is the main topic I debate about.”

Deon said he supports Trump’s economic policies and is particularly pleased with the tax cuts the president has supported and pushed through Congress.

“I don’t get taxed right now, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect me,” Deon said.

But just because Deon is a Trump supporter, it doesn’t mean he agrees with everything the president says and does.

Deon said he is frustrated by Trump’s Twitter and his tendency to act “quickly and sometimes carelessly.”

Just as George Bush inspired Deon’s old crayon-colored portraits, he said Trump’s behavior influences American culture and youth.

“Kids look up to presidents,” Deon said. “You often hear, ‘When I grow up, I want to be the president of the United States.’ Right now, when you look up to the president, he’s calling people names. That’s often not very president-like.”

Nevertheless, Deon said Trump’s insults are a “double-edged sword.”

“What I meant by the double edge sword is that Trump has no fear,” Deon said. “He doesn’t mind calling out people. But you don’t want a president who has no fear.”

Deon said his passion for politics has allowed him to analyze the system of American government through a critical eye.

“I cheer with people and I cheer by myself when Trump does something good,” Deon said. “I boo with people when Trump does something bad. Or I boo by myself.”

THE GOLDEN RULE

Regardless of Trump’s insults, Deon practices kindness in his daily life. Deon has a coin engraved with the American flag that marks a particular moment in which his kindness helped others.

“Mr. Rice gave me this coin because I told him about a friend of mine online,” Deon said. “I told my friend not to commit suicide. He lives in another state.”

Deon met his online friend, a sixth grader, through playing X-Box. Deon had grown to know him better in the previous months, sending encouraging messages to help his friend maneuver the ins-and-outs of middle school and family life. His online friend soon told Deon he was his best friend.

“I told him my experiences. That calmed him down,” Deon said. “I’m proud of myself, sure, but nobody should be put in that spot.”

When Deon realized his friend needed help, he knocked on Officer

Rice’s door and told him about his friend. Officer Rice was able to find a way to connect him to proper authorities in his state.

“I’ve never seen him in real life. I still care about him, though,” Deon said. “Middle school can be a hard place to be in.”

Deon continues to wear his MAGA hat each day. The bright red is difficult for his peers not to notice. Even for students who disagree with him, Deon still holds the door open.

Photo Courtesy Ayah Elsheikh