In between the 11am pro-Obamacare rally at Thomas Paine Plaza in Center City Philadelphia, that later became a march which counted among its participants Philadelphia NAACP President Mr. Rodney Muhammad, Mother Bethel A.M.E Pastor Rev. Mark Tyler, P.O.W.E.R’s Executive Director Rev. Gregory Holston, and City Councilwoman Mrs. Helen Gym, and the 4am rally and march – organized by local socialist groups and the Pennsylvania Chapter of Black Lives Matter, led by Mr. Asa Khalif – that began in Rittenhouse Square Park and traversed throughout the downtown corridors, a hundred or so protesters, all representing different causes, stood at 13th & Market Street and chanted various anti-Trump mantras.
Albeit the colorful scene at 2pm – and all other direct actions for that matter – were peaceful and warranted no arrest, the sentiments expressed were hostile, and the mood was clearly unwelcoming for both Mr. Trump, who’s threatening to withhold federal funds from Philadelphia due to its status as a sanctuary city, and his supporters.
Yet, his supporters, at least three of them, mustered up the bravery and integrated themselves into the afternoon mass.
As one would expect, Mr. Trump’s supporters, none of them people of color, were confronted loudly and aggressively by a diverse group of dissenters.
Philadelphia police officers, who appeared to find the back-and-forth shouting amusing as evident by the Kool-Aid smiles on their faces, ensured the fans of Mr. Trump – Mr. Mason Cassel, a millennial who lives 45 minutes outside of the City, was the most vocal and animated of them all – were the protected minority while in the vicinity of the rally.
Mr. Cassel, who shouted jubilantly that he “loves Trump,” said he also has great trust in the President and is confident that he, as commander-in-chief, won’t be impulsive on Twitter; a young woman nearby held a sign, referencing Mr. Trump’s penchant for tweeting, which said “Stop tweeting and start listening.”
A few spectators, including myself, were asked to clear a path for officers in case an argument escalated and they needed to quickly intervene, and all three of the Trump supporters – including a Russian immigrant who was indifferent to the President’s past comments about grabbing pussy and was bullish that he would bring back jobs to the country – were at one point made to stand as close to the police as possible.
One of the three Trump supporters, an older white man who held a sign that read “Liberalism in a Mental Disease,” was chased in a circle by a couple of protesters who were attempting to cover up his sign from being seen; as the chase ensued, a chant of “Love trumps hate” grew louder.
Shortly thereafter, the man lamented the way he was treated by liberals, and implied transgender people shouldn’t be advocated for because they’re an abomination.
The interaction with the Trump supporters and protesters was a sight to see, but it wasn’t a spectacle that overshadowed, either in the media or in real-time, the unity displayed this week by Philadelphia’s advocacy community. On Thursday in particular, the community literally shared the streets, as causes converged into one loud voice that made clear that in Philadelphia, immigrants are welcome here, but not Mr. Trump.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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Photo courtesy of the author.