Favorite

Several hundred protestors make a stand at the anti-Trump rally 

UNITES

click to enlarge ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith

The Feb. 20 citizens’ protest against the visit of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to The Broadmoor World Arena stayed remarkably peaceful as more than 10,000 Trump fans lined up outside. The several hundred who gathered in opposition to the visit did not stretch all the way north to Lake Avenue from the entrance to the arena, but the crowd was impressive in its bringing together free-wheeling progressives, Democratic opponents of Sen. Cory Gardner, and exuberant assemblages of anarchists and socialists from Colorado College and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campuses.

click to enlarge ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith

Some protest organizers were worried about participants proceeding safely to their cars after the rally, and there were a few forays into the anti-Trump crowd by right-wing groups of Proud Boys. Videographers seemed to hope for direct conflicts between protesters and Trump supporters, but disputes rarely escalated beyond shouting. In fact, one factor that makes this time different from the surging fascist era of the 1930s, as Wired magazine pundit Gideon Lewis-Kraus recently pointed out, is that the heat of name-calling in social media serves as a pressure valve of sorts, making actual bloodshed in street battles less likely than what was experienced 90 years ago. 

The real challenge to be addressed at the Feb. 20 protest was not violence, but the depressing array of people who were willing to overlook the Trump administration’s mean-spirited character and its newfound love for tearing down the rule of law. The visible presence of educated women, people of color and middle-class families all decked out in MAGA hats, cast a pallor on the beautiful late afternoon. As one vendor of Trump memorabilia shouted while pushing his mobile cart of GOP wares, “It’s the economy, stupid! If the glory days [are] here, then nothing else matters!”

click to enlarge ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith

Thankfully, protesters were willing to unify to convey contrarian messages on the threats to women’s bodies and well-being, the threat to democratic institutions in the post-impeachment era, the continued danger of environmental demise, and the ongoing concern that Trump is hollowing out century-old efforts to protect migrants, labor workers and other marginalized groups. Puppets and protest signs were uniformly colorful and humorous, a necessary salve in grim times.

click to enlarge ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith

Local media reports of eight arrests at the demonstration often failed to clarify that these were planned acts of civil disobedience, intended to carry out a symbolic blockade of the motorcade path. Those arrested included Lawrence Stoker, cousin of De’Von Bailey (a black man shot by police in August of last year who was found to have been armed); and some veterans of past blockades, Ed Billings and Patrick Carroll. The arrests did not distract from the broad-based legal protests organized by Deana Kamm of Indivisible, along with such groups as Citizens for Hope and Colorado Blue Wave. 

Protesters have every reason to worry that authoritarianism is coming into favor with wider audiences worldwide. The breadth of Trump’s support on Feb. 20 was much greater than seen four years ago, when mainstream Republicans feared his messages and style. Now that dismissal of the rule of law and a fondness for bullying has moved beyond Trump’s base, progressives must come to terms with many fearful aspects of the decade ahead. But this makes it all the more important that protesters show their faces and stand up for what’s right. 

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

More by Loring Wirbel

All content © Copyright 2020, The Colorado Springs Independent

Website powered by Foundation