Donald Trump, lead Republican presidential candidate, had plans on holding an event on March 19, 2016. I was informed on short notice and agreed to go. While I had solid opinions on the Trump campaign and his supporters prior to this event, nothing compares to actually being there.
A few of my protesting buddies thought it would be a great idea to invite me to the event, due to the fact that I do photography. I informed them that I function as a neutral observer as a photographer, and they had no problem.
The feeling outside of the event waiting in line was like going to a sports game; it takes place in an arena and everyone has a “feel good” essence to them. Being a black man with a camera, no one antagonized me for taking photos while in line. Everyone felt that I was part of the event or something, which wasn’t bad at all. There was a few people who had antagonizing signs, such as “all lives matter” or “get a job” types, but even they weren’t there to fight people. From here I would assess, based on the violent record of Trump rallies, the violence isn’t something the people bring to the rally, it’s something they get out of the rally.
The protesting was most certainly in full effect for the total time the event took place. I find it heartwarming on the fact that there’s many people, especially white people — the social group Donald Trump tries his best not to assault — who engage in activism against Trump’s vitriolic form of fascism. If the Trump supporter crowd is seen as a 100%, the protesters were at least 30-40% of the size of the Trump supporters in numbers. The event had it set that the protesters can only protest in the “designated protesting location”, which was outside at the front door. Technically, I think that’s fair. But problem of the protest lies in how Trump and his associates demonize the protesters in their existence. Protesters are routinely anathematized and otherwise blown off instead of considering what they are saying. The various messages of the protesters, which varies from police accountability (racism) to minimum wage to immigration policy, are simplified in the same manner congruent with Fox News and conservative media J. Edgar Hoover style smear campaigns.
The protesters who got indoors got an eerie response once discovered; people were instructed to chant “Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!” while pointing at the protesting people in the stands. This instruction was given well in advance before Trump arrived to speak. Had this been WWE style professional wrestling, I wouldn’t have too much on an issue. But this isn’t professional wrestling entertainment, this is a man running for President of the United States. Before he even came out, I have yet to see anything that remotely looks like unity of the total citizens of the United States. These chants sounded like fascism.
While I have infiltrated this event as a “black conservative”, these chants sent chills down my spine. In knowing that I don’t agree with Trump and his nonsense, I genuinely had a fear of uncertainty in there, and I wasn’t even targeted. The ballgame picnic-friendly crowd practically became a nihilistic mob in short, 2-3 minute durations. People became so bloodlusting on such quick notice, I could have sworn I was on the set of one of those movies that had those fast moving zombies. Or vampires. Monsters.
I cannot lie; the crowd there loved me. As an articulate, well dressed black man, no one had an issue with me, and I was able to charm everyone with my smile alone. There was NO way I would be attacked or kicked out, so I thought. There was this relatively good looking woman in a pink shirt with black pants, with an amazing Ivy-off-of-Soul-Calibur hairstyle who was in charge of controlling the media there. To her I imagine, I’m an uncontrolled variable as a regular person in there with camera equipment and photographic ability that rivals credentialed media. I am a skilled street photographer at a political event.
She, REALLY didn’t like me. There was no level of charm I could use. Nothing makes her smile. It would have made more sense if she wore baby blue instead of pink, because she was the Ice Queen you never seen before. Disney’s Frozen ain’t got shit on her. All jokes aside, she’s focused, completely unfettered at her craft. I really dig that, but she didn’t care. She wanted me out. She probably did her research on me and saw this website, which lead to me being pushed out of the event despite never have protested. Anyway you slice it, I know it was her decision.
I remember taking this picture with my phone, lamenting the fact that I don’t do selfies. In fact, I hate them; as a photographer I rather use a real camera. I never would have guessed in a million years that the person beside me, the calm, nice fellow in the gray shirt would attack and stomp out a defenseless man.
This fellow I knew as Tony, became known as Tony Pettway being that he viciously assaulted a protester already being escorted out of the building. Overall, he was a fun guy to sit with. When the Ice PR Queen pulled me to the side to threaten to kick me out on the floor, he asked me “what did she say?” when I came back up to the seat. I said “I think she wants my number,” and we all laughed.
He mentioned that he was in the Air Force. That was cool, because military provides an amazing life experience. When I asked him if he was a Trump supporter from the beginning, he said he was. He told me that as soon as Trump announced he was running, he was a supporter from day one. When talking about Ben Carson, he stated that he liked how he and Trump say the same things, but he doesn’t like how calm Ben Carson is. He seemed to wish Ben Carson was more aggressive, which is striking, because I later find out that he is the aggressor in an assault of a protester who was already detained and on his way out.
A lot of people might be wondering how and why a black man would engage in the same vulgar behaviors of whites, especially in regards to white supremacy, which is what we are dealing with in the Trump campaign. Well, I have many, many ideas I’ve expressed previously on black conservatives, but I think I’m going to have to make a special add to my overall critique of this ideology.
Ever heard of or seen a rape victim, after the traumatizing event seek to be very promiscuous? When this occurs, the victim is attempting to gain “control” by willfully engaging in sex. If one always chooses it, it cannot be taken from that person. A black conservative who actively assaults people in the name of white supremacy is similar; instead of being the victim, they decide to be the perpetrator. I’ve said it before; it’s an easier life for a black man if you just allow white supremacy to exist without resistance, or actively join in on the oppression. There’s also a desire to fit in a white world; equality if literal, would mean that a black person can engage in the same rotting behaviors of whites without negative consequence. This function is parallel to the driver slave of the old. This slave had the whip and sometimes had the gun, and the illusion of control and power is so fierce that the slave would forget that he’s a slave. This is what we are dealing with here. There are a great plethora of black people who figure they can transcend “blackness” by engaging in the oppressive, suppressive and persecuting behaviors of whites. I believe Tony is one of them. Most black Republicans are.
In being pushed out of the event just before Donald Trump took the stage, I was able to capture the protests outside, which was went unharassed by Trump associates. This one Latin fellow who left before it ended, witnessed the vitriol spewing from Trump. This fellow dressed as a Matador, asks you to help him cut the bull. Will you help him?
With his testimony, it seems my assessment is correct; people are not arriving on the scene with animosity towards others, this is something Trump instills in his crowd. This is also evident in the fact that the man Tony Pettway was calm, cool and fun-having PRIOR to Trump taking stage. Trump is an instigator, a man who engages in childish behaviors to procure votes from GOP associated people, which also include racists, sexists and other bigots. I’m not saying that these people don’t have problem coming to these events, what I’m trying to say, is that Trump makes people feel free to do and say whatever they want, regardless if they hurt people. This in addition to the tight media control, is deeply problematic.
American Fascism is being made.