Plus, who wants to be friends only with people that share all of their same viewpoints?
When I posted on social media that Trump was going to be across the street from my work, one of my friends commented "bomb it." Another said that I would be able to smell his stench from my office. At that point, I hadn't even posted that I was going to go, because I wasn't sure of child care, just that he would be there. These two comments were made by two liberal friends, who I do believe consider themselves to be very open-minded and tolerant of people who are different.
This started me thinking about how some (not all) people who consider themselves "open minded" believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions no matter how different they may be ... just so long as they don't differ too much from their own. I mean, the bomb it comment is on par with extremists who believe in killing doctor's at abortion clinics, just on the opposite end of the spectrum. How open-minded can you be if you completely disregard (or hate?) another person's viewpoints?
This posting is my account and experience after attending Trump's Rally on April 28th, 2016 in Costa Mesa, CA. Love him or hate him (not many fall in between), you have to admit that it was an historic event, and it was happening right across the street from my work.
Bill O'Reilly said: "...the two most shocking political stories in my lifetime are the assassination of President John Kennedy and the rise to political prominence of one Donald J. Trump. History will record that this was an uprising, a movement of the people supporting a candidate who has absolutely no ties to the political establishment."
No one thought he would make it this far, least of all, Republicans. What fascinated me about him is that he is not entrenched in The Establishment. Has there ever been a serious candidate that was not?
Now, before you go thinking I went to this rally because I was a big Trump supporter, I did also see Obama at the same OC fairgrounds for a town hall meeting after he was elected president a few years ago. And if Hillary were speaking, I probably would have walked over as well, though she will never get my vote. Curiosity got the better of me, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
As we lined up outside just after 4pm, there were no protesters in sight. I was admittedly a little disappointed by how calm things were. John and Ken were broadcasting for KFI, and it was an orderly crowd. Around 4:30, we started to enter the gates slowly, because of security. Although free tickets were given on his website, no tickets were taken or even looked at. Anyone who was in line received an orange wristband. As I went through the metal detector and security checked my purse and yarn (gasp!), a man told me sternly "You cannot take that in." Explaining that my clear yarn-holder was plastic, he asked "What is it anyway? No." I said "It just keeps my yarn from getting tangled." As I removed my yarn to leave the container behind, he saw my crochet hook in there and barked "That can't come in either." This is something I fly with all the time, and I was really looking forward to crocheting favors for Baby A's first birthday! What else was I going to do for two hours!? As I started to try and explain this fact, I realized he was Secret Service, not your run-of-the-mill security guard. And so I left the crochet hook behind, along with my plan to ask to speak to his supervisor, and entered the Pacific Amphitheater.
Almost half of the 8,500 seats were already filled by 5pm. There was a loop of background music being played that included country, Neil Diamond and Elton John in the rotation. Periodically, the crowd would cheer as someone held up a sign that read BLACK CHRISTIAN WOMEN LOVE TRUMP or LATINOS FOR TRUMP. People milled about in their Hilary for Prison and Trump kicks rump shirts. A lot of them wore MAKE AMERICA GREAT hats. One man brought in a Captain America cut-out and received a lot of fan-fair as people posed for pictures with it. At 6pm, the mayor of Rancho Santa Margarita spoke, and lead everyone in prayer before recognizing any Veterans in attendance.
Excitement started to build as an announcement with an intentionally robotic, humorous tone came on over the speakers:
Do not touch or harm the protester. This is a peaceful rally. In order to notify the law enforcement officers of the location of the protester, please hold a rally sign over your head and start chanting "Trump! Trump! Trump!" ask the people around you to do likewise until until the officer removes the protester.This technique was really effective. When the lone 3 protesters who tried to put on anti-Trump shirts were immediately surrounded by the chants, and then calmly walked out by security. The rest of the evening, inside the amphitheater at least, went off without a hitch.
The last person to take the stage before Trump came out after 7:30 was Assemblyman Bill Brough, who led the crowd in the pledge of allegiance before introducing Trump to a roar of cheers.
You may not like the rhetoric he spouts, but it is hard to deny that Trump is a good off-the-cuff speaker, who never reads from a teleprompter. Some would say he probably should read from a teleprompter. Touche.
Shortly after taking the stage, Trump introduced the father of Jamiel Shaw, a 17 year old African-American football star from Los Angeles who was shot in the head in 2008 by an illegal immigrant who had been released from jail the previous day. Serving only four months of an eight month sentence for assault with a deadly weapon and battery on a police officer, he had lied about his immigration status and killed Jamiel, who had never been in trouble with the law or even at school. He was shot because of the color of his backpack, which he mistook for a rival gang. (Read more here.) Behind them stood a line of parents, all holding up banners with pictures and information about their loved ones who were killed by previously convicted, and not deported, illegal immigrants.
Now, Trump gets a lot of flak for hating immigrants or wanting to stop immigration all together. He is called a racist, a bigot and even worse. But none of that came across in his message, and he never spoke about getting rid of anyone except violent criminals. He specifically said "We want people to come in, but we want them to do it legally."
I thought back to my Mom's experience immigrating here in 1970, after she married my Dad. She was married to my father, yet not allowed to come to our country until they had a certain amount of money in their bank account. For this reason, my Dad came first and worked to put away money until she was able to come. Trump, and his supporters, are not saying immigration should stop all together. Anyone who thinks we should is forgetting how our Nation was founded, and that no one would not be here without it.
He drew a distinction between legal immigration and illegal immigrants, some who have committed violent crimes, yet still remain here. He spoke about the safety of our neighborhoods, schools and the drain on our resources like medical care and hospitals. No where in there was there a send people back message, unless they have committed violent crimes. Rather, the message was let's help and protect what we have and who we have (including our immigrants) and let's bring our jobs back.
Think about it: if you want to help everyone, but in doing so, spread your resources so thin that you end up not really helping anyone, are you really helping?
Regarding terrorism he said: We have to be tough. We have to be vigilant. We have to be strong. This country is so politically correct that we don't know anything that is going on.
He then launched into a graphic story about General John "Black Jack" Pershing from more than a century ago, during World War I. The story, which may be no more than legend, described how Pershing was tough on radical Islamic terrorists. Before launching into the story, Trump made it a point to say that Muslims are not the problem. The problem is radical Islamic terrorism, not Muslims, he stated, as he disparaged Obama for not being able to even mention the extremists due to political correctness. He said You cannot cure a problem if you don't want to even mention the problem. Hearing him say this and make sure that he made the distinction between Muslims and radical Islamic terrorism, I realized that a lot of his messages of hate, intolerance and xenophobia were likely taken out of context, then spread through the internet and social media.
The graphic story? Fifty radical Islamic terrorists who had done tremendous damage and killed many people were caught. Fifty bullets were swirled around in pigs' blood and used to kill forty-nine of the terrorists. The fiftieth terrorist was given that last bullet, after having witnessed all of the deaths, and told to bring that bullet back to everyone and tell them what had happened. "And for 42 years, there was no problem with radical Islamic terrorism. We need to get it together" he concluded.
Around this time, the smell of something burning entered the amphitheater. It became stronger and stronger, and hung thick in the air. My co-worker and I exchanged concerned looks, and studied the faces of the secret service and security guards for signs of concern. It wasn't until later that night that I swan on the news that it was most likely the smell of burned-rubber from cars in the streets.
Moving on and switching gears, he brought up Lyin' Ted Cruz, a moniker he is fond of using. Nobody likes him he stated as fact, as he pointed out that for the first time, a candidate that mathematically has zero chance of winning has appointed his vice-president. A roar of laughter erupted. He put down Kasich (who eats like that!?) and Low-energy Jeb Bush, before devoting a little more time to "Crooked Hillary." He brought up that she has stated that she doesn't like his tone, yet all she does is shout off of her teleprompters. "Here we are in a world going to hell. Not since medieval time have people chopped off heads, and she says 'I don't like his tone.' We need a tough tone!"
He then stated "I'm glad she won; I want to beat her more than Saunders."
People like to throw out terms like misogynist and sexist in relation to Trump. Especially lately, because he made the statement that some people are voting for Hillary just because she is a woman. But, he is speaking the truth. I do know women who have said "You mean you're not voting for Hillary? But, she's a woman!" To me, she is more of a misogynist for the villanizing she did of Bill's mistresses which she has done on several accounts, in several ways. Blaming the victim of the sexual assault should never be an option.
Moving on to the subject of jobs, he said that across the nation, states are down 40-50% on jobs. "Jobs are going everywhere, but here. Factories are moving production to Mexico, Japan, China. Schools, hospitals are all devastated. We are going to make the country great for everyone: Hispanics, blacks, for our hard-workers. People are working harder today than they did 18 years ago and yet they are making less. Plants are opening in Mexico. We are being out-dealt by Japan; by China. We have a 505 billion dollar trade deficit with China; they don't even want our product! Apple will start making their product here, they just don't know it yet!"
Around 8:30, I decided to cut out of there early and get home to my 11 month old that my husband was watching. Saying goodbye to the people I was with, I headed to the one designated exit at the very top of the seats solo, as Trump started talking about building the wall. "They say it can't be done, but China built a great wall, and that was 2,000 years ago!"
My plastic crochet canister had been moved from the entrance where I left it and was nicely placed on a table, with my lone crochet hook inside (I know you were worried about this), along with metal water containers and other items that were not allowed inside. As I picked it up and headed out the gates, I walked into the strongest police presence I have ever seen. At least 50 officers in full riot gear were standing in a line that stretched pretty far. Immediately, I started to second-guess my decision to leave by myself, but was glad that I was leaving early.
It was the police presence and what they may have known to be in such force that scared me, not the protesters. I really didn't see too many actually, almost all of them just seemed to be groups of teenagers just hanging out. One man held a sign with a rendering of Trump with HITLER in bold letters, and I heard him say to someone who was taking a picture of it "We can have a discussion if you'd like." I walked through the parking lot and took a right along Fairview. This was just after 8:30, and when there must have been a group flooding the streets at the intersection of Fair and Fairview. Two police cars zoomed past me, sirens on. Then three more. In total, I saw around 10 units headed in the opposite direction of where I was headed, which told me I was going the right way.
Home just after 9pm, I was able to watch the "protests" from my couch.
From The LA Times:
The scene outside the Donald Trump rally was chaotic as a crowd of hundreds of mostly young protesters blocked the streets. Many were carrying Mexican flags. Protesters smashed a window on at least one police car, punctured the tires of a police SUV, and at one point tried to flip a police cruiser. A young man got on top of the police cruiser and started stomping on it before slipping and falling off. Protesters scribbled anti-Trump messages on police cars and on at least one red sports car parked in a gas station parking lot.By "mostly young" protesters, they mean teenagers, and teenagers who care more about getting some attention than obeying the law. I know plenty of well-educated, law-abiding people who don't agree with Trump, and there are even more out there, but if they were there, they were not the ones flooding the streets, and not the ones that the media focused on. Standing and having a discussion or debate makes for less than thrilling ratings and the media loves to play up the drama and danger.
In all, it was an experience that I'm glad to say I was a part of.