By LAUREN UNDERWOOD, Guest Columnist
Lauren Underwood is a guest columnist for the Michigan Journal. Lauren’s views do not necessarily reflect those of the Journal.
Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and share my experience at Donald Trump’s rally in Warren, Mich. today. We’ll start with why I went. I am a firm believer in being educated on all candidates, not just the one you’re rooting for, so my friend Stephanie and I decided to attend.
If you know me, it’s no surprise that I am not a fan of Trump due to his racist, misogynist, and popularity-searching “campaign.” But I try to keep an open mind, understanding that people have different views and everyone is entitled to their own.
I wore a shirt bashing Trump, and Stephanie wore a pro-Bernie Sanders baseball hat. We had no intentions of causing a scene, starting any fights or even speaking negatively towards any Trump supporters. We stood in the crowd with everyone else, even made small talk with a few different people, asking back and forth about each other’s views. A woman supporting Trump even complimented our hat and shirt.
This is not a post to bash all Trump supporters. Most of the people we spoke to were very kind to us, as we were to them.
Trump came out and started his speech. As hard as it was, we ignored the screams and chants of building walls and deporting citizens. We stood quietly and listened to the man speak. Every 15 or so minutes, a scene would happen where the crowd would yell about protestors and Trump would scream, “Get them out, send them out of here!” and the crowd would scream “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.,” until the attendees who were asked to leave were escorted out.
So, about 45 minutes to an hour into his speech, a group of teenage boys — who had been harassing us the entire time while we ignored their comments — screamed and pointed at us, yelling for us to be kicked out. At first we laughed it off, of course we couldn’t be kicked out, we were just standing here silently.
Wrong. A secret service member and a police officer were there within the minute, grabbed Stephanie and I by our arms, and started to lead us out. One of the Trump supporters we were chatting with even stood up for us, explaining that we weren’t doing anything and weren’t being disruptive.
By now the crowd was chanting their U.S.A. chant and a large portion was also booing us out. Our walk through the crowd was very upsetting — we were being screamed at and filmed, and even one man said “Go to China if you like communism so much!” Communism? Don’t you mean democratic socialism?
Also, during the walk out, some attendees would high-five us or shake our hands, and thank us for coming and supporting Bernie. It felt weird to be thanked, due to us not doing anything besides standing quietly. As the two men walked us out, one explained that if we returned we would be arrested. Stephanie quickly asked why that was. The man replied with “They don’t want you here,” to which she said “Isn’t it a constitutional right to silently protest?” The officer replied “Not here.”
The rude remarks and yells didn’t stop at the door, for Trump supporters who didn’t get in greeted us with just as much hatred. The walk back to my truck even included a man yelling from his car about how this was for Trump people and that we didn’t belong here and shouldn’t have come.
This kind of hatred is what is ruining this country. To think that my right to protest was taken from me at a rally scares the hell out of me — for if Trump actually became president and got that power, what else would he take away from us if he can’t even stand two teenage girls standing silently at a free, public event?
If you’re thinking of voting Trump this year, please rethink your stance. This much hate belongs nowhere near the presidency.