Donald Trump recently paid a visit to "America's Coolest Small Town", Berlin, Maryland. Trump can be quite a polarizing figure, and his presence always brings out large crowds of supporters and detractors, all wanting their voices to be heard.
I was sure that Trump's visit could provide for some excellent photo opportunities, so I packed up my camera, and headed over to the local High School where Mr. Trump was scheduled to speak. The turnout was huge, and I was not disappointed. There were people there to rally behind Mr. Trump and his message, and there were many protesters who wanted to bring attention to what they see as some of his shortcomings.
I will state up front; I am not a Trump supporter, and my wife was there as a respectful protester. She carried a sign that encouraged people to be kind, and not bully one another. I support an open dialogue between people with differences of opinions, and believe that everyone has a right to have their voices heard. I was mostly just here to take pictures.
Our good friend, Matthew Manos, was there as a protester, carrying a message of neighborly love.
The following are some of Matthew's observations, which he later posted to Facebook. I thought that his words would go along nicely with my photos from the event, so with his permission, here you go...
My experience at tonight’s anti-Trump demonstration in the Coolest Small Town in America
- Within minutes of arriving on site I was called an idiot for the message that I carried with me, which said: “Stop hating your neighbor! WWJD?”
- While there were exceptions, the vast majority of one side was white, while the other side was much more diverse.
- There were 34 cops on our side of the street and maybe six cops on the pro-Trump side.
- The cops were respectful to both sides and kept order without being overbearing.
- Cameras were everywhere. It started feeling very passive aggressive..."I’m gonna film you filming me and you’re gonna take it!!!" I admit I was guilty of doing this… but seriously, who scoffs at a sign that says we need more love?
- Both sides would have cheered for the Orioles. And the Nats.
- Often, the pro-Trump side would yell “get a job!” and “stop living in your parent’s basement!” Though every single person I talked to was either employed or a student.
- There was a small number of Hispanics carrying a Mexican flag. They were booed. But they stood strong despite being massively outnumbered.
- One man draped in a Confederate flag yelled to a group of black kids: “This is your heritage!”
- I feel like I see the same guy selling tee-shirts at every concert/event I’ve been to in my adult life.
- A mother of a 7-8 year old boy scoffed at the “WWJD?” on my sign. The boy promptly said “I’m just here” and put his hands up like he was innocent.
- My favorite sign of the day: “Trump Likes Nickelback.” Runner up: “We Shall Overcomb.”
- Another woman came up to me and said “she was just here to check out things…but she wasn’t a real Trump supporter.”
- In small town America having “the wrong” opinion can impact your career; but, regardless, people were willing to take that chance.
- Walking back to the truck, which was a half mile or so up the road, I ended up in a conversation with an older white man who had just left the pro-Trump rally. He explained that he served in Vietnam and currently works in health care, and his son is a Sanders supporter. He said that he voted for Bush Jr. and really regrets it. He explained to me why he was voting for Trump; I explained why I am not. We walked together to the parking lot, formerly introduced ourselves, and wished each other the best. (Of course then I told him thank you for not being aggressive with me. He scoffed and said “why would I do that?” It was a good question.)
I respect the opinions of others, so please feel free to leave a comment. I only ask that you keep the conversation respectful, and free of obscenities.