With the election drawing near, I want to share a story about when I stood outside a Donald Trump rally leading up to the Indiana primary.
On the Thursday prior to the primary, I attended a Trump rally, being able to watch him speak. Don’t get me wrong, it was great, but we all know what his speeches consist of—bashing the media, claiming the election is rigged and reiterating his plans to build a wall.
That Sunday—the first day of May—I attended another Trump rally but, because of church that morning, I was not able to arrive in time to be admitted. I am glad I was late. Rather than listen to Trump speak about the same things, I was able to see what happens outside a rally.
I was wearing a Make America Great Again hat, two campaign pins on my red, white, and blue shirt, and I was proudly carrying a Trump yard sign. I began walking around the area and the first thing I noticed was the number of supporters who stayed outside. There were vendors, regular supporters, even a musician selling his Trump-supporting CD. The place where I spent most of my time, however, was among the few dozen protestors who had gathered on a street corner.
I was a little nervous at first, having seen all the horror stories on the news about protests turning into riots; I was fearful of what a Trump supporter standing among them would incite. I did it anyway. I walked right into the crowd, knowing I had as much of a right as any of them to stand on that corner, and held my Trump sign in the air. I’m fairly tall, so I ensured that my Trump sign was constantly higher than any of their homemade signs.
The first person I talked to was the one seen in the featured image of this article, holding a sign which equated Trump to a Nazi and accusing his supporters of being fascists. The first thing I asked him was a simple question—”What makes Trump a Nazi?” He began with the Trump-Hitler comparisons; the first thing he said was that both Hitler was a political outsider, just like Trump. I informed him that being a political outsider is not inherently bad—take Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan for example. He then accused Trump of using racism to rise to power, just as Hitler did. In the words of Donald Trump himself, “WRONG.” I asked the protestor if he understood the difference between Mexicans and illegal immigrants. He then started discussing how we should be accepting of anyone who wants to enter our country. I gave up; we shook hands, and he was very respectful to me.
I had many discussions like that throughout the day, attempting to explain the difference between legal and illegal immigrants. I was interviewed by multiple news outlets, most of them were curious as to why I chose to stand among the protestors. My answer every time was that it is my right.
The protests never got violent; in fact, the protesters were respectful of my opinions. What really caught my eye was another Trump supporter who was among the protestors. This supporter wanted to hug all the protestors. He said that he wanted us to all get along as Americans.
After speaking with these respectful protestors, I agree. We all have the same objective—to do what is best for America; we just have different methods in doing so. We should stop thinking of each other as the enemy and begin thinking of all of us as Americans so we can have productive dialogue like I shared with protestors that day.
One more thing—not a single protestor there was a Clinton supporter. Just something to think about.
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