So, Tezi and I just made it back to her place after being stuck in the snail’s-pace traffic surrounding the Donald Trump rally which took place within walking distance from Tezi’s home. Even as I type this, we can still hear the helicopters in the air, and what sounds like dozens of more police cars heading to the rally vicinity where we were. It was quite a sight to see the helicopter footage streaming live on the new channels, showing the exact location we had just left. Though we were never able to make it into the rally itself, we had a firsthand and up close experience with the individuals gathering outside of the rally. As we made our way up the main avenue, drawing ever closer to the amphitheater where the rally took place, we could sense the tension growing. Several cars that surrounded us were either brandishing Mexican flags or holding anti-Trump signs, and others blasted the same song “F*** Donald Trump” from their cars. We even saw one car, an SUV type, with its back hatch opened and young men hanging out the back, one with a black bandana covering his face up to his eyes and looking defiantly at the cars around him. There seemed to be a genuine hatred and disgust of Trump and everything he stands for, and from this portion that Tezi and I witnessed, it seemed that those who hate Trump came poised for aggression, or if not aggression, certainly intimidation.
As we waded through the thick traffic (against our will, for we hadn’t meant to get so caught up in the turmoil), we felt that it was necessary to lock our doors, and Tezi and I both found ourselves at different times having to avert our eyes from some of those anti-Trump protesters. Right before we were able to turn left out of the growing mayhem, as it were, a car pulled into the intersection just before us and did a blistering donut with cops yards away, and then proceeded to speed off in the direction we too were headed. There was no police pursuit, as it seemed clear that the few police present at the time were overwhelmed by the sheer job of crowd control.
As we made our way safely away from the post-rally events, Tezi and I marveled at the irony of the severe divide in this country – one divide of many. While in the car we were streaming Donald Trump’s speech, hearing his bombastic voice come through my tiny cell phone speaker, while simultaneously hearing the thumping bass from a loud sound system in the cars next to us, some rapper decrying Donald Trump. It’s an interesting feeling to be close to a political rally and to actually feel that sense of unrest, that sense of unease, even that sense of imminent danger. You could tell that though no violence had occurred yet, it would only take one small spark to ignite a riot, and that isn’t right. It would be just as easy to blame the rhetoric coming from inside the rally as it would be to blame these makeshift mobs of protesters. I’m not here identifying those to blame, rather simply describing the evident problem.
We just wanted to share with you this one little snapshot from our unintended encounter with the mega-machine that is the Trump campaign, which came quite to our surprise to Tezi’s backyard. It’s easy for politicians and protesters to say many contradictory things, and to use radical phrases and “strong tone” as Trump likes to say, but the reality is that real people get caught up in these phrases and headlines, and they turn them into convictions. And it seems that it’s all too easy now to find oneself caught in the middle, and left perhaps most vulnerable to attacks from both sides. We’re thankful to God that we’re here in safety and in peace, writing these words to you, and we will continue to pray that God might have mercy upon us and this country.
Lord have mercy,
J & T