America on Parade at Trump Rally: USA vs USA
Updated: Aug 18, 2019
Manchester NH — Great things about today's Trump rally:
• When I heard a woman singing our national anthem on the jumbotron, I stopped to listen. As others started to hear it, they settled quietly too. Many sang. I said to the woman next to me that it would be way cool if all the protesters took a knee. I turned around and indeed they had. We all did. 💕🇺🇸
• A 16 year old boy in a Trump tee came over and was asking questions about the signs protesters were holding. As soon as he started talking to me, some of the Trump campaign "press" zoomed in like vultures. I shooed them away telling them he's just a kid and to leave him alone. The boy was respectful and was asking genuine questions, wanting to know why people had written what was on their signs. He came back 2 or 3 times over a few hours. The last time he offered me some of his grubby pretzels. Haaha. Kinda yucky, but I took it as a compliment. We must be our most patient with young people.
• All the Rights And Democracy NH, Indivisible and NH Peace Action folks that were peacekeepers were a great support team and helpful in protecting people as well as moving them along to avoid conflict. I'm encouraged by all these kind-hearted people.
• Although it felt like more police were needed (an officer said 100 police were on duty), they did their job well, were not dressed in riot gear and were extremely tolerant. Many of the Trump supporters were drinking, smoking and some were out of control. A friend who had been in amongst the crowd waiting to get in said it was "like a tailgate party". One guy was up in the face of the police several times, literally taunting them. He somehow evaded arrest.
• It was great to see "Free Hugs From An Immigrant" signs and a truly diverse and accepting crowd. Plenty of rainbows beamed throughout the protesters, with no real reaction to a few pro-Trumpers who were advertising an upcoming event celebrating straight pride.
• I loved hearing people sing "This Land Is Your Land" and other songs played by street musicians and sung by protesters. Some of the Leftist Marching Band played amongst the crowd, as well as a fiddler wearing Bill Weld stickers.
• Although there were verbal altercations and escalating tensions, the day was peaceful and no one was injured.
• There were some nice interactions between the pro and anti-Trump groups. I spoke with one little old man with a Trump shirt and a veteran's cap who was super friendly and said even though I wasn't a Trumper, he still loved me. I got such a good giggle out of that and so did he. It totally made up for the guy in a wheelchair with a Vietnam tee whom I said, "thank you for your service sir" to and he said, "fuck you". Another elderly man was pushing his fragile little wife to pose in front of protesters flipping them the bird. What a collection of images there are out there, depicting the many sides of humanity.
• One barefoot and braided little girl, about 4 years old, was on her dad's shoulders, walking with mom amongst the protesters. Wide-eyed, tentative children were led by their parents through the crowds, into the event. Some teens were wound up in the pro-Trump energy, enjoying taking video and "sexy" photos of themselves in front of protesters.
• It was nice to have someone come support me when I was trying to get a mean woman to move along and stop taunting protesters. I asked her not to block the crosswalk and to head on inside and enjoy the event. She tried to pick a fight asking if I said she was fat. Seriously. Good grief.
• Most chants were positive with "Love Trumps Hate" and "No Hate in the Granite State" being the most popular. There were also chants of "you support a racist", "immigrants are welcome here" and "close the camps". The best one of the day was when Trump folks started chanting "USA" and anti-Trumpers shouted back...."USA". Good stuff right there with a pretty deep message. On an interesting note, the pro voice was largely masculine with the anti voice being largely feminine. It's not unusual to see activism led by women.
• As things were ramping up in the last hour, all the vested peacekeepers were lined up facing shouting Trump supporters with shouting protesters behind us. I was watching the action very intently and maybe looked a little concerned. Ryan asked me if I was okay. Just that little check-in was really nice. People took care of each other.
• I saw the pony-loving presidential candidate, boot-headed Vermin Supreme, who was having a grand time and later, I saw peace activist and documentary filmmaker, Rod Webber. That was fun.
• It wasn't too hot, it didn't rain and a very nice man gave me a bottle of water. He and others thanked me for being a "peacekeeper" for the day, which was very good for me because I was able to move about freely, not trapped behind the barrier.
• It was nice to see some activist friends that I rarely see. To my surprise, I rather enjoyed not being in the midst of all the chanting.
• Parking was not a nightmare. I parked on the street about a half mile away. That's just a handful of city blocks. No problem. It did feel like Manchester was the center of the Trumpdom though. Not a good vibe, but not unsafe.
• Americans really have to find some common ground and fast. The dividing line between us is far too wide. Even kindness is too often met with outrage. The health of our nation, our youth, and our planet are at stake. #Love and #Peace friends. ☮️✌️
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* Thanks to Stonyfield Farm for the great hats they handed out on Earth Day! "Make Earth Cool Again!"
* My ECHO Action T-shirt with the Old Man of the Mountain on it said, "Live Fossil Free Or Die".
* Did you notice the sign behind me? Pretty clever. "You can't spell HATRED without RED HAT".
Activist Echoes Blog Editor