At the Trump Rally in Tampa
So this all started as I was driving home from getting an oil change on Monday. I was listening to NPR and planing on spending my spring break (yay for being a teacher) cleaning the house, getting caught up on school work and playing video games, when I hear on the radio that Trump is going to be in downtown Tampa at 2:00pm. It was about 12:30 at this time.
Little bit about me for those who don’t know me: I’m a middle school Science Teacher with a background in Environmental Science and Anthropology. I generally find people fascinating, particularly when they do things that defy sense and logic. I find this equally infuriating. These two feelings tend to manifest themselves in snarky commentary. There will be a lot of that to come.
So anyway, after spending the last few weeks bitching, ranting, and face-palming about what appears to be the end of sense in America that is Trumpocolypse, I knew I had to go check it out myself. So here’s what happened.
Part 1: Trumpageddon in Tampa
When I got to the convention center there were Trump Supporters in line to get in, and Protesters outside in the Anti-trump section, right outside the line. There were maybe about 50 or so protesters, closer to 100 when you count the people unenthusiastic milling around to watch the drama. I sadly didn’t have time to make a sign, only finding out about the Rally about 10 minutes before I decided to get in my car and go. When I got there, a guy who said he was leaving gave me his sign. Sweet!
At first, most protesters and Trump Fans alike were mostly ignoring each other, with a few agitator on both sides occasionally screaming at each other.
One of the first interesting things that I noticed about both sides was that they both seemed to think repeating their personal view of each other was an argument. Most of the shouting went down like:
Trump supporters: “Get a job! Do something useful! You just want Obama’s welfare! Obama is Hitler*!”
Protesters: “You’re all racist, sexist and homophobic! Trump is Hitler*!”
*As a side note I would like to remind everyone that Hitler is Hitler. Until someone proves to me that the Ghost of Hitler is going around wearing other peoples skin, please stop* (*side side note, that would make an awesome movie!)
There was something of a crescendo when some Trump people left the line (either because they couldn’t get in or they decided yelling at protesters was a better use of their time) came over to the protest to yell or just stand in the crowd wearing Trump-swag, as if daring us to say or do something. It erupted into a pretty intense chanting war, though I may be the only one who stopped to note that chanting “Trump” And Chanting “Dump Trump” sounds basically the same when chanted together. At another point, someone started chanting “USA! USA!” and everyone started chanting together, while most people kind of awkwardly looked around at each other trying to decide if that’s what they were supposed to be doing. After all we may disagree, but the freedom chip in our head dictates that all Americans, regardless of political affiliation must join a chant of “USA” Its in the Constitution…or the bible…or the I-tunes agreement…whatever.
Part Two: Trumptopia!
So after a little while the crowed on both sides seemed to get tired of being Angry and the yelling died down a bit. A few people, who were leading the bulk of the Angry Protest Yelling seemed to get frustrated with the brick-wallish Trump Supporters and the lack of sustained enthusiasm, or possibly the lack of people getting punched in the face, and left. After that, an interesting thing happened. Protesters and Trump supporters just kind of started milling and talking to each other. Some got pictures together and were joking with each other. A good number were engaged in relatively civil conversations. I walked around ease dropping, on different peoples conversations, observing more than engaging, and I noticed a good amount of what the Trump supporters believed wasn’t all that far off from what the protesters believed. “The government is corrupt, they’re frustrated with the Status Quo, both parties are terrible, the establishment candidates are all equally terrible.” On that, I’m with you there guys.!But the crazy comes from this leap of logic where they feel Donald Trump is going to fix it, like he is spray-tan Jesus. They’re so close to understanding the problem and how to fix it, but then the train of thought derails to “Socialists and Mexicans are stealing our jobs! When Trump is president he will punch everyone in Washington in the face and build a wall out of Trump Steaks!”
I don’t really think anyone’s minds were changed, but it was actually nice to see the civil conversations that the media does not cover.
Things picked up again when a guy came out with a Trump Pinata. *head desk* This is why we can’t have nice things. This Immediately got the Trump Supporters all riled up about “Look at the violence of the protester THUGS!” “You SAY you’re non-violent but look at THAT!” “ This just shows the Hate and VIOLENCE of these people!” …its…a…pinata. probably wasn’t the best choice and most of us didn’t participate but seriously, have you guys never been to a birthday party? one step forward, two steps back.
Our final chapter will address what I like to call the inception protesters; people who were protesting something that had very little to do with Trump
Part 3: Trumpception:
So within this protest/rally there were a lot of other groups there with varying degrees of legitimacy and relation to the subject at hand. Here’s a break down of who was there, in order of relevance to pro/anti-trump subject. I will be grading this like an English assignment based on ability to focus on the subject.
A+:People with signs supporting or condemning Trump. Congratulations, you’re at the right rally!
A+: Native American group saying essentially “You’re the real immigrants, get off my land” In my opinion you guys can go wherever you want.
A+: Latino’s against Trump. Enough said.
A: Black Lives Matter protesters: They lose a few points in my opinion for Scatter shot tactics, but still on topic.
A: THUG: A group of people showed up with these Tee shirts that said “THUG: Trying Hard to Understand God. This is apparently a movement that is all about taking back the negative term “THUG” and turn it into something positive. They were super nice and fun, and added some great irony to Palin and Trump Screaming about the “thugs outside.”
B-: There was a group of Ethiopian Trump Supporters (no really) who are supporting Trump because of apparent corruption with the Clinton Foundation funding violence in Ethiopia. Okay, that might be true, but why do you think Trump cares, let alone will fix it? Do you guys know Trump donated to the Clinton Foundation? You get points for being mostly on topic, but lose points on the conclusion.
B-:One guy with a Marco Rubio sign standing quietly. I feel bad giving him anything lower than a B- because he just…looked…so…sad.
C-: guy with a giant Hillary Clinton puppet (like, probably 8 feet tall) showing her as two faced (two Hilary masks back to back) and a liar (Pinocchio Nose.) This is the kid who, when told to write an essay about the Industrial Revolution, turns in a diorama about Sharks. I respect that you put a lot of effort into this but…wrong.
D+: All the anti-Hillary signs. Not voting for Hillary does not mean you have to Vote for Trump. You’re supposed to write about the Industrial Revolution, not how much you hate cats!
F: Anti-Obama signs. He’s…Not…running. He’s leaving office in January. This isn’t even an essay about hating cats, this is a picture of a cat with an X over its face. No.
F — -: So for any of you that live in Tampa, you may be aware that there is a group (group being a strong terms, the most I’ve ever seen are 3) of Jesus people who stand by the convention center anytime anything is going on and yell into a megaphone about Jesus. Loudly. They were there THE WHOLE TIME. yelling into a Megaphone about Jesus. get out of my class.
Well that’s most of the highlights. I was there from about 1:30 to 4:30 and when I left I handed my sign over to a couple of girls who got there late and were going to stick around and see about getting on TV.
So I lived to snark again.
As an end note, I finish typing this as the Florida Primary results come in with Trump and Hillary winning Florida by a land slide (Florida you’re the worst.) Its easy to give up at this point and say it was all a waste of time. Its true, protesting doesn’t always get the results, and it can be extremely frustrating, but to me its about being on the right side of history. Whatever happens, keep fighting for what you believe in.