BY PRESTON BURROWS
“Go back to Mexico!” was shouted at two of my friends on Friday afternoon as they switched seats so the other could drive. Before anyone could think what to say, the window-yeller’s car door slammed from behind and the man revved his engine to speed off, driving down the middle of Main Street.
He left behind a line of other cars as our vehicle stalled at a stop sign. This commotion in the busy but quiet town of Hays was a result of a community organized Trump Train held Friday.
The words were shocking, yet somehow expected.
Just earlier the man from that same car went straight to the passenger side window of the white Impala in which I was seated to scream profanities and end his encounter by calling the only girl in the car, a “dumb f***ing b****”
The remark was answered by the girl with similar words and inappropriate hand gestures. When Trump supporters had something negative to express to the car I was in, my friends answered right back with similar insults.
The Trump Parade, which the Hays Police Department was notified of, consisted of vehicles decorated with red, white and blue. Trump flags, American flags, and even Confederate flags were sported by the vehicles as they drove down the parade route to support President Trump and other Republicans in the 2020 election, even though I saw no mention of these other candidates from my spot in the back of our car.
Made aware of the event ahead of time, I grabbed my camera to document Hays’ homemade Trump Rally. However, the people I was traveling with supported “the other side” and in fact, despised the president. A social experiment in the making had just begun when our car entered the parade.
Throughout the entire rally, our car played just two songs on repeat, “FDT” and “FDT (Pt.2)” which the individuals I was riding with played as loudly as they could.
I was there to take unbiased pictures, not for or against anything in politics. I acted as if I was just a camera, documenting the events and not adding any of my own opinions to the situation. However, our car started to get specific reactions after a certain element came into play.
People engaging in the rally did not seem to hear the song because of yelling and honking truck horns so they saw us in the car and were inviting, even friendly. They smiled and threw us thumbs up. Since they had no clue our car was supporting Biden the encounters with the Trump supporters were pleasant and without confrontation.
Soon after, our car purchased a Biden/Harris sign along the route on Main Street from the Ellis County Democratic Headquarters while the parade was stuck at a red light. Our car immediately became the enemy of the Trump supporters, drawing the ire of the aforementioned window-yeller, and my friends in the car holding the sign up began an anti-Trump protest in the middle of a Trump parade.
Our car was now a Trojan horse.
As the sign was held up, there were reactions across the pro-Trump crowd. Some stuck out their tongues in disgust and others resorted to using their middle fingers to express anger.
Whenever the passengers in our car rested their arms and let the sign fall from sight, the crowd quickly lost interest in being angry at our car as the sign was no longer in sight.
The continuous derogatory language back and forth from the front seat of our car and Trump supporters on the sidewalks and in cars created a toxic atmosphere where nothing was being solved and both parties were getting angrier.
While trying to stay peaceful, my friends only replied with defensive remarks. However, there were a few instances where the moment was hot and assumptions were made from our car about people thought to be Trump supporters.
The situation was like a pot of water hanging above a fire, the more the fire escalated the hotter the water boiled. The parade ended for us with one last incident.
A man wearing a head-to-toe Trump costume was in a truck yelling at our car because of the Biden sign, creating negative comments going back and forth. The truck, being driven by a person who seemed to be costume-Trump’s wife, then pulled up beside us in the two-lane road.
The truck then proceeded to push our car toward the sidewalk and squeeze in front of us until there was no room. Our car was being pushed off of the road, out of the parade, and onto the sidewalk. My friend had to slam on the brakes and speed past the truck away from danger.
Mad and obviously shaken, my female friend said they were just playing and trying to grasp what had happened, not understanding how the situation had come to be so dangerous so quickly.
It is easy to assume the situation would not escalate as it did. Wasn’t the man wearing the costume playing, if not with politics, just dress-up? Wasn’t the lady sticking her tongue out showing playful non-verbal banter? Wasn’t the parade meant for fun and politics, or was it a place to silence any opposing views?
Many Biden supporters stood in the street where the parade passed and some even planned lunches so they could stand up against the parade in a peaceful manner.
Were these actions carried out by the Trump supporters consistent with their beliefs? When President Trump calls for his “Proud Boys” are these the people he wants to represent him? If ANTIFA – an anti-fascism and supposed “terrorist group” – is causing riots for Black Lives Matter, what are these Trump supporters doing that is different or any better?
Hatred builds on hatred and it does not stop. If two different people cannot express their views without violence or offensive language there is no point in these rallies or protests because it becomes a show-off contest. It is about who can speak louder and say more nasty comments about the other people. Not pride, not support – hate.
And if two people supporting Biden were instigating the comments and actions they received by holding a Biden sign, what are Trump supporters doing when they intentionally do not wear their masks going against mandates? Does this not warrant a response as well?
If you cannot express your opinion without being silenced by physical force or verbal abuse, how is this country different from China or the “Communist Democrats” that Republicans cannot stand?
Peacefully standing for what you believe in is one thing but attacking another for not agreeing is crossing a line.
Both sides need to change if any improvement wants to happen.
“A house divided against itself can not stand,” is a quote by Abraham Lincoln that is just as relevant now as it was in the 1850s.
Vote for who you believe will run this country the best, but do not create chaos for someone who does not even know your name.