The Donald Trump Rally in Tucson Saturday 19 March 2016
Mikki and I heard about the rally on Facebook and so decided to go down to the Tucson Convention Center to check it out. We arrived at the parking lot about 12:30, saw a line going in so we paid our $10 to park and located parking places towards the back of the lot. Mikki was pulling into a parking place in an area where there were several more, when we were startled by a woman screaming at us. Mikki opened the window to hear her and evidently we were using ‘her’ parking place she had staked out. I pointed to a space just opposite for her to use and Mikki pulled on into the space. This woman screamed with her face all contorted that we would have smashed windows when we returned. This was a white woman in her fifties in a beige PT Cruiser with a black convertible top. Unbelievable! We reported the incident when we walked by the ticket shack. We wondered if we looked like Trump supporters and if that engendered the hostility. We had no banners or signs or bumperstickers but I tend to get a little wary.
So we hiked around the side of the convention center to the front door of the arena, where the front lot was filled with cars and chanting demonstrators who began marching alongside the line forming to get into the Trump event. Maybe 12 feet separated the two lines. The demonstrators/protestors were a mixed bag of adults rather than families, shouting at the tops of their voices so that the sound reverberated off the brick wall filling the air with so much noise that nobody could talk. They carried signs like ‘dump Trump’ and then many signs like ‘fuck Trump’ and other expletives. There were maybe about 100 protestors and probably more who were less active. I started flashing the old peace sign or the even older victory sign and a woman about my age stuck her middle finger right in my face. Obviously an ageing hippie who lost her peaceful way. The protestors were crowding the entrance but we could still get through. I heard that the protestors blocked off the entrance after we got in, denying the people who wanted to see Trump their civil rights to assemble and listen to a man exercising free speech. It’s the old liberal way of taking rights away from those they disagree with.
The people waiting to see Donald Trump included many family groups, college students, and other adults of all ages. I saw Veterans and the elderly and babies. We took a seat close to an exit high up on the east side of the arena, which gave a good view of the event and the audience, if a bit on the small side. I wished for binoculars. The audience was admonished to treat protestors with respect and no violence and just wait for them to be ushered out of this private event. I think that is the key. The protestors can go to the event and listen and would be allowed to do so but if they became the event instead of the guy who paid for it, then they would be ejected.
The man who was hammered offended an airman, always notoriously short tempered around here even in the good old days. I’m not sure what offended the airman, but the protestor carried a sign with a Confederate flag across Trump’s face and his cohort was wearing a Klan outfit, which was swiftly discarded when the fight broke out. Some people don’t like Klan shit and I guess this airman didn’t like it. Or maybe the protestor threw an elbow first. The sign was actually an unfair, untrue smear of a man’s character. Those protestors must have a habit of showing up at private parties, taking them over and using them for their own purposes, which was to prevent freedom of speech and assembly. I heard the airman was charged with a misdemeanor and released, which is SOP around here for that sort of thing.
I applaud the Tucson Police Department and their patience in handling the whole rally. Nobody was hurt and order was kept. I heard by word of mouth that the protestors rushed the front doors in a futile attempt to thwart security and get inside, but they were discouraged. I heard only two people were arrested.
After listening to a soft rock concert as the people filtered in, we prayed for peace and did the pledge and a beautiful young woman sang a heartfelt national anthem to start off the show. Former governor Jan Brewer, Treasurer and Trump Arizona campaign manager Jeff Dewit and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio spoke before Donald Trump took the stage. He’s like a showman and a politician combined. I don‘t know who provided the sound system, but it was superb, filling every corner of the arena with clear sound. The crowd cheered and chanted USA USA and Trump Trump, a polite respectful crowd of about 5,000-6,000. I noted many who did not participate but who politely listened.
Mr. Trump spoke for about an hour, touching on immigration, interest rates for savings, veterans’ care, trade deals and other economic topics. He told the sneaky snake story while security was removing protestors with ‘fuck Trump’ signs, who were attempting to shout down Mr. Trump, which was difficult due to the excellent sound system. Crank it up!
I saw CNNs Dana Bash describing the Tucson Trump rally as ‘violent’, which is a huge exaggeration. If the other Trump rallies described at violent were violent like this one was, then CNN ought to be more circumspect in reporting. That Bash woman overuses the same words like Isis attacks and Republicans attack each other, like it’s one and the same. ‘Violence’ at Trump rallies is the same ‘violence’ committed by Isis??? Give us a break from this slanted, vicious news coverage.
We watched as the rally broke up while more music played as the crowd disbursed peacefully. We headed for the southside of the building. It was amazing that all of the protestors were gone! Thank you TPD and our new police chief. We hiked back to the parking lot and found our vehicle unharmed, so we went home for a few drinks and TV.
I wanted to go hear Bill Clinton on Sunday speaking just a few blocks away but had planned a family dinner party and could not go in favor of Easter egg dying with the grandkids. More important. I heard Bill Clinton raised a crowd of about 1,200 while Bernie Sanders attracted 4,000 and Donald Trump 5,000 – 6,000.
But at the dinner party, I talked to a retired military couple who were interested in the rally and politics in general. They seemed freaked out about Mr. Trump because he is vague and they want to know who his advisors are and his other policy stances which they think are lacking. So today Mr. Trump released the names of consults on foreign affairs. I’m sure we will hear more about it but I hope the news coverage is fair.
I hope that is not too much to hope for. -DP Niemi, Tucson