It wasn’t an easy decision to make. No fue una decisión fácil.
Donald Trump was having a rally at walking distance from my home and I tried really hard to ignore it, but once I saw the Stolen Lives Quilt on CNN I realized that I really needed to be there.
If you have never heard about it, the Stolen Lives Quilt is part of The Remembrance Project. They stand against any immigration reform that include the legalization of undocumented immigrants. “Illegal immigration isn’t a victim-less crime,” they said while parading a quilt with the images of some of the people killed by undocumented immigrants. It shocked me to see that only 40 names are mentioned in the website, which include records from 1998. While I agree that every live matters, I just think that parading this quilt before the Trump speech is nothing less than incendiary.
As expected the crowd went wild and the chants of “Build that wall” started in earnest.
Ten minutes later I was there with my older son. At 13 years-old, he is old enough to understand that some people can hate him just because his parents were born in Latin America.
Somethings I expected. Other shocked me.
-The audience was mostly white. Lots didn’t look like they had lost of money, others were for sure very rich.
-The place wasn’t packed and about a third of the people were just watching.
-Trump doesn’t say much more than what you hear on TV. I was convinced that we were only told his story through sound bites, but no. That’s all there is. The unfair trade, the wall, the make America great and get America to win again. My friends are rich and have beautiful wives.
-There were metal detectors, but no other effort to collect emails or names for political or fund raising efforts.
-There weren’t many protesters. At most 50 people. A mom with her children, students and some African Americans.
-There were also some African Americans selling Trump political paraphernalia. I guess they figured it was an easy way to make a buck.
-The worst attacks weren’t against Latinos or even the protesters. The insults against Hillary Clinton were disgusting. One of the worst: “If she can’t make her husband happy, how can she make the country happy.”
-There were some Latinos looking incredibly wealthy.
-Not everybody was older. There were plenty teens and young men. Very few single women, if any.
-The smells were strange. Some of it was caused by the police horses, others made people talk of pot and crack. Who knows if it was a coincidence.
-Trump arrived in a helicopter that made me think that Marine One that it would be a downgrade. He was also more than an hour late, while his supporters had been entertained with a weird mix of music which included the voices of Pavarotti and Johnny Cash.
-It was impossible to get any kind of data out of the area, which was weird because I have been to concerts there and it wasn’t a problem.
-It made me feel like the wall was a gimmick. He seemed to be mocking is followers when they were chanting: “Build the wall,, build the wall.”
Overall, it was a surreal experience and I left the place as confused as before, or even more. Donald Trump wasn’t charming. He was almost disrespectful to his followers and I can’t figure out the appeal. I do understand a little better who are his followers and I doubt that they will change their minds about immigrants or about him.
The only thing we can do is to inspire our fellow citizens to vote. We all need to vote.