Why I attended a Trump rally

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AMSOIL arena – Duluth


I was recently given tickets to attend the Trump rally in Duluth, Minnesota last night. Given the controversy around the issues occurring on our southern border, I felt like this was my closest opportunity I might have to put myself in a place to show resistance to his actions and the impact he is having on our society and populace. I thought just being part of the gathering of protesters would be sufficient to try to get my point across. I brought a couple of signs with me, that I wanted to hold in rallying support of the opposition. IMG_9316

This billboard stayed in my car because attendees were not allowed to bring signage into the convention. I actually had visions of someone taking a bat to the back window of my car where I had it visually placed, but we parked quite a distance away from the rally so it was not noticeable. I believe that merits the experience I had at this, my first presidential rally. I brought a former student of mine, a decade past his graduation, someone I knew had similar views to my own. We talked about what we were about to experience, but really frankly had no idea what we were about to encounter.

In all honesty, I genuinely believed if I found myself in the arena I would find similar minded people to rally around as we listened to 45 spout the same rhetoric he has for the entirety of his presidency. I was never so wrong in my life. We encountered protesters along the way, in fact, delightfully I ran into another former student holding a wonderful sign of protest – a biblical verse – Matthew 25:34-46. I made it clear to her I had tickets to go inside, but I was on the side of the protesters. We caught up for a few moments, I took her picture and told her there would be a lot of people back home, happy to see her posture on this day. The response from social media indicated I was correct.

This morning, in reflection on the experience, I do believe if I had just driven up to protest I would have been completely satisfied on one level. Having tickets to go inside the arena and experience the rhetoric from 45 is one thing; however, the greater takeaway as my companion pointed out was the mob-mentality of the audience.There was absolutely nothing this leader of our country could say that would diminish the rabid nature of the crowd’s reaction to his every word.

I suppose in reality that is a normal reaction to a crowd of supporters. There was just something different about this energy, and that is what I struggled with for the entire time we were in the convention. We left about fifteen minutes before the end because I frankly could not stomach any more of the speech. Again he talked about similar topics of his concern – numbers in attendance, creating more jobs for African-Americans, the fake-news media section that he encouraged his audience to provide a unifying roar of boos and catcalls, and of course a chant of ‘lock her up’ to get the crowd on the same page. In addition he was adamant toward making a point of isolating any protesters that he then had promptly escorted out of the convention.

At one point he criticized a long-haired protester, asking whether he was a man or woman, telling him to go back home to his mom and get a haircut. I was a little concerned the people I am close to in my life, might fear it was me because I presently have long hair, but it wasn’t me – I was the one standing nearby that kept my eyes down for the majority of the speech and occasionally would clap three or four times so those around me wouldn’t get a sense that I wasn’t there for the right reasons. He once asked the news media to pan the crowd, and I diligently stooped down and pretended to tie my shoes. I was wearing sandals.

That is what I was truly most nervous about, becoming exposed. This was no environment to oppose the speaker, I mean, even a look in the eye felt like exposure, and I did fear for my safety. This is the first presidential convention I have ever attended, but I do not think that is a normal attendee reaction no matter the side of the fence their views might land. (Perhaps people will now reference the Democratic convention of 1968 in Chicago and rightfully so, but was that about party or their angst toward the police at the time? I was nine years old, I only remember the television coverage and some horrific story about Dan Rather’s behavior in a taxi ride.) I watched the room lather with 45’s constant berating nature and bully tactics that were not presidential in any regard.

His speech was about him and his accomplishments thus far. Yes, one can argue that he has made strides with North Korea, but we really don’t know the long term impact, outside of the hostages being released, that is huge. But beyond that what is the impact? There were no reassuring words on his part, in fact at one point he said, ‘maybe it won’t work, we just don’t know.’ My student at that point  said to me later I think that is the first time he had ever heard Trump go back on a declarative statement. I couldn’t argue.

We decided to leave around 10 or 15 minutes before he finished, partly because I was feeling anxious and partly because we weren’t hearing anything new, and we knew the crowd control was going to be crazy leaving. I said to my companion, I could feign a heart issue in the event people questioned our departure but beyond specific glares and questionable expressions, we were free to leave early.

We got outside and found a good amount of protesters awaiting the end of the convention. I won’t say thousands because that wouldn’t be true, but there were numbers, and despite feeling like that is where I should have been standing, a part of me was glad I did stand inside to experience the speech. Here’s why.

I’ve always believed it is important to listen to both sides. I was raised in a family that supported both sides of the ticket and were always able to dialogue about all the relevant issues no matter the stance. I don’t believe in the vision of Donald Trump. I think it is a sham and he has no idea what the ramifications of his rhetoric have on our society. Or maybe he does, and if that is the case, that is an even scarier prospect. He made a comment last night about no families being split up at the border last night, and I haven’t read the news today, and I have no comment on that, all I can do is think about the weeks before hand – the damage is done.

In conclusion, it was the mindset of the people walking into the arena that frightened me more than anything else. I saw a young woman of no more than twenty wearing an American flag that blended into a confederate flag. Why?!? IMG_9321What is it we are trying to create in our society today? What is it this man is doing to the sanctity of our country that is built around the tenet of supporting everyone, no matter their background, or religious affiliation or color of their skin?

 

 

I’m generalizing now, so it is time to finish my point.  Ironically, I’m listening to David Bowie’s ‘This Is Not America’ as I write my last words.

So why did I attend this convention? I was given tickets. I live less than 200 miles away. I wanted first hand to see how we are reacting to this man’s hand on our country’s rewards and ills, and last night I experienced that fraction of populace that supports his ideals. Correct, he is our president, my president and as an American I am asked to respect the office of the POTUS, but listening to a man simply try to lather a crowd with ill meant rhetoric and sad commentary on our society while constantly patting himself on the back is not what is going to lead us in the right direction. The reality of this movement leaves me scared and bewildered.

I can only be grateful that I was in the audience with a mindful companion, because quite frankly I don’t know how I might have handled being in the AMSOIL arena in Duluth alone.

Thanks for listening, and for anyone questioning my loyalties or political leaning, trust me they haven’t changed, if anything they have been strengthened. Let’s go forward … somehow.


Pictures are my own

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Crossing The Line

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boston_crosswalk


Instinctually we choose to respond

as the heart might certain suggest,

though perhaps a practicality

draws upon a decisive measure.

 

We search the source,

find the accuracy in a stat,

insist upon certain prior

knowledge, presumably …

 

Yet there is also emotion

that piece of reality sometimes

forgotten, overshadowed,

set aside as a possibility.

 

All avenues seem accessible,

accurate, accountable, adoring,

always the human condition

presents as a family heirloom.

 

In every capacity of our lives

we are given license to know,

to react, to express

a need to seek relevance.

 

Today when we glance outside,

the world looks easy,

trees reacting to the breeze,

traffic always purposeful.

 

The cars on the street modern,

roads meant to civilize

a way of life

seems impenatrable.

 

Yet the violence is out there,

on everyone’s mind,

we are thinking about

somewhere beyond this.

 

Could be right next door,

I used to live in a flat

accessible to my entire world

within a block of my purpose.

 

Likely miles away and beyond

the reach of our compassion,

though we are told, we know,

we cannot escape the reality.

 

it is in the lines, the sort of

choices we make to care about,

show compassion, or that fear,

recognize risk reflects humanity

 

When we do choose to cross,

seems everyone is or is not …

walk inside my sordid lot,

perhaps your gain is my loss.


photograph – Wikipedia

Live The Children

Still human

woke up

hopeful conscience

take a day off

rest, relax, repose

yet

now waking hours

ask thoughtful

commentary

perhaps mindful

empathy.

What might one

do alone

take in new levels

impact

in numbers compassion as

action

live the children

innocence!

#ImmigrantChildren

When A Child Dreams

I would dream summers

running through hemlock

brush scratches naked calves

the moment, lost in its mystique

 

When we were kids

we were ushered out of the house

play until you drop

play until you drop

 

We didn’t mind

being ushered out

we were in our element

children of summer

 

When I was a child

I didn’t imagine barriers

there wasn’t a risk of

seeing a friend bloodied

 

We didn’t walk around

waiting for our parents

who were never to be found,

unless of their own volition.

 

When I was a younger boy,

I could run for hours,

feeling the heat of summer

knowing the thrill of joy

 

In my wildest dreams

I was never sought, ushered,

told to stop my scream

for justice beyond my dream.

 

Today, the children of summer

are everywhere and far away

from the beauty of love

the compassion of a tender tear.

 

Today, I do recall freedom in my childhood,

I weep alone for the children of summer.

The Beginnings of How We Believe

A young boy looks out to sea from the shores of the Greek islan

I suppose there has to be a little peace,

the mind in a restful state,

oh and music offers a solace,

an avenue to draw the heart

along a wonderful path of sweetness.

 

I remember as a child

there was this hilltop,

can’t call it a mountain,

but the anyway was the reach,

a gravel path to the cityscape.

 

I would sit there for morning,

often afternoons,

the evenings find me again,

it was a place where I would sit

in wonder about all the things I did.

 

I reflect today on that patch of gravel,

the rocks and stumps I chose

to sit upon, or perhaps a lean to

on a tree nearby, and I wonder

if I knew now what I worried then.

 

There is a certain beauty in finding peace,

when we can believe,

we know in our hearts the right thing,

the world of humanity,

is designed around the concept of love.


Photo found on savethechildren.org

 

 

Life Is Not A Ploy

Though there would be

immediate disagreement in one,

quiet satisfaction in another,

in the final hour,

one would realize if they did stop

to glance,

a world beyond their own device,

would, might

still exist,

and in that social fabric ignored,

a pain,

a fighting soul

whose rapture not found

might emulate

the sorrowful nature

of a discompassionate ploy.

 

Yes, simply a game,

beyond the reality of our terms,

defined by the human condition,

a banter of

despondent disregard

favors

only the regarded one …

or two, or three, or miles of more,

so difficult it is to understand

the lemings at my door.

Lines

Glance across great body of water,

See a family of fowl travel near

Look to notice crystal waves appear

The magic of earth is all the matter

 

Birds sing in the hidden pine of morning

A quiet reminder that love is in the air,

Symbolic in its historic grasp of where

Our lives begin sweet, soft listening

 

While for the moment the sun looms high

A brilliant casting inside mellow earth

We haven’t ever understood her girth

This profound lesson toward asking why

 

I stood inside the water’s edge today,

Humbled asking I might a cry this way.