|Anti-Trump Protesters Inside the Rally|
|Anti-Trump Protest Outside the Rally|
|The Lone Anti-Trump Counter Protester|
Saturday March 5, 2016 was a glorious day in Kansas. Not only was it Caucus Day for both the Republicans and the Democrats, four presidential candidates visited Kansas to stump for our votes.
Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump came to Kansas to make a pitch for our votes. Kansas was in play, we were important and we turned out in droves to vote. Twice as many Republicans voted yesterday than they did in 2012.
I made the trek to Wichita, Kansas to attend the Trump Rally. I am glad I did. It was a spectacle, a circus of sorts with Donald Trump in full control of all the rings – he was, without a doubt, the Ringmaster.
There were about 3,000 people inside at the rally and maybe 25 anti-Trump protesters outside. Inside, there were about 10 anti-Trump protesters. A group of about six young black people started yelling anti-Trump rhetoric and got into a shouting match with an older white guy. They were removed from the rally before it started. The older white guy remained.
Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach warmed up the crowd with an anti-illegal immigration speech. Then Trump came out to cheers from the crowd of a mix of young and old. The crowd was there to see “Trump” and he did not disappoint them. He was Trump.
He called Marco Rubio, “little Marco” and Ted Cruz, “lying Ted.” The crowd ate it up; me not so much. I prefer a little more civility. I will say, I did appreciate his attack on Mitt Romney. He called him a stiff and a loser. In my opinion, Romney needs to shut up and stop attacking Trump.
Trump went on to attack illegal immigration promising to build a wall and stop the flow of drugs into our country. This brought raucous cheers from the crowd, well at least all 99.999 percent of them.
There was a group of young people in attendance. The young ladies wore head garb and one of the young men wore a Muslim Student Association shirt. All wore stars with the word “Muslim” on it. They unfurled a flag and started shouting something. I could not hear what they were saying because the crowd immediately drowned them out with chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump.”
They were escorted out to cheers. Then a lone young man, appeared to be Hispanic, stood on his chair and started shouting at Trump. He was quickly removed. Trump responded by saying, “Did you see that? I told the protester to sit and he sat. I like that protester, he is someone I can reason with.” The crowd loved it.
He finished up his speech by taking on Obama and Obama’s trading Bowe Bergdahl for five terrorists, saying, “I am not going to get a traitor and give them five people.” He railed against unfair trade deals with China and Mexico. He said, “we need to get rid of these deals. We get laughed at for these deals.
The crowd came to see Trump and he did not disappoint. Trump, unlike the GOP establishment, has his finger on the pulse of many Americans. He knows many Americans are angry and why they are angry. He is giving the American people what they want to hear from a candidate.
In the end, that is why I voted for Cruz. I listened to Cruz and he said much the same thing Trump did sans insults. I liked he did not insult people. I liked that I felt that Cruz was not telling people what they wanted to hear; he was telling us what he believed and it came from his heart and his soul.
In the end, I found Trump to be entertaining, but I found Cruz to be inspirational. Substance trumps (excuse the pun) style for me. Cruz earned my vote.
I came away with this thought; we are a divided and angry nation. The majority of the attendees at the Trump rally represent one side of the schism and the anti-Trump protesters represent the other side. It does not have to be this way. I was standing next to three young ladies protesting Trump when a older man started screaming, "morons" at them.
I said to the three, I am sorry to see you treated that way. While I disagree with you, I support your right to stand here, without verbal abuse, to protest. One of the three who had a paper badge with the word "gay" on it, asked me what I liked about Trump. I explained and I explained, among other things, that even though I was conservative I supported equal rights for all regardless of sexual orientation. I said, "if I want my rights protected I must protect the rights of others."
She beamed a smile and thrust her hand out to shake mine. A bridge, albeit a small one, but a bridge nonetheless was built at that moment. We need less anger and more bridges today to unite our country and to, in the words of Trump, "make America great again.