I first saw an American President in 1977 when Jimmy Carter visited Newcastle- Upon – Tyne and I happened to be in my first year at University.
I remember it as a fairly solemn, but celebratory affair a few discrete sharply dressed men with earpieces looking on. The excitement was much to do with the fact that the President of the U.S. could be bothered to visit the North East of England as well as some of Europe’s Capital cities.
The rationale for his visit, I recall, was the connection of George Washington to Washington Town in Northumberland, just a few miles south of Newcastle.
My second encounter with a U.S. President was in the mid 1980’s when I was working in Keene, New Hampshire and Bill Clinton visited the offices where I was working.
The occasion was like a rock concert.
His oratory unbelievably upbeat, and genuinely uplifting.
Even though I am British and could not vote it made me think that he was a decent bloke. (Apart from the fact that he was having it away with nubile interns – but that’s another story)
The third, tenuous, link to the US Presidency comes via ubiquitous social media.
Firstly, via John Oliver’s excellent satire on HBO’s “Last Night Tonight” and a great commentary on social media from a friend of a friend who attended a Donald Trump Rally in Michigan earlier this week.
Her unabridged report is logged below.
However, …. Uplifting, upbeat and celebratory are comments currently far from my lips. Is this 2016 or the 1930’s ?
Have a read…it will only take a minute.
Make your own mind up.
God Bless Help America .!!
“Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and share my experience at Donald Trump’s rally in Warren, MI (Michigan) today 4th March 2016.
We’ll start with why I went. I am a firm believer in being educated on ALL candidates, not just the one you’re rooting for, so Stephanie and I decided to attend.
If you know me, it’s no surprise that I am not a fan of Trump due to his racist, misogynist, and popularity-searching “campaign”. But I try to keep an open mind, understanding that people have different views and everyone is entitled to their own.
I wore a shirt bashing Trump, and Stephanie wore a pro-Bernie Sanders (another candidate) baseball hat. We had no intentions of causing a scene, starting any fights, or even speaking negatively towards any Trump-supporters.
We stood in the crowd with everyone else, even made small talk with a few different people, asking back and forth about each other’s views. A women supporting Trump even complimented our hat and shirt. This is not a post to bash all Trump-supporters.
Most of the people we spoke to were very kind to us, as we were to them. Trump came out and started his speech. As hard as it was, we ignored the screams and chants of building walls (on the Mexican Border) and exporting citizens (of Muslim origin).
We stood quietly and listened to the man speak.
Every 15 or so minutes, a scene would happen where the crowd would yell about protestors and Trump would scream, “Get them out, send them out of here!” and the crowd would scream “USA, USA, USA” until the attendees who were asked to leave were escorted out.
So, about 45 minutes to an hour into his speech, a group of teenage boys (who had been harassing us the entire time while we ignored their comments) screamed and pointed at us, yelling for us to be kicked out.
At first we laughed it off; of course we couldn’t be kicked out, as we were just standing here silently.
A secret service member and a police officer were there within the minute, grabbed Stephanie and I by our arms, and started to lead us out. One of the Trump supporters we were chatting with even stood up for us, explaining that we weren’t doing anything and weren’t being disruptive.
By now the crowd was chanting their USA run and a large portion was also booing us out. The walk through the crowd was very upsetting, being screamed at and filmed, even one man said “Go to China if you like communism so much!” (Communism?? Don’t you mean Democratic Socialism??).
But also, along the walk out, some attendees would high five us or shake our hands, and thank us for coming and supporting Bernie. It felt weird to be thanked, due to us not doing anything besides standing quietly.
As the two men walked us out, one explained that if we returned we would be arrested.
Stephanie quickly asked why that was. The man replied with “They don’t want you here,” to which she said “Isn’t it a constitutional right to silently protest?” The officer replied “Not here.”
The rude remarks and yells didn’t stop at the door, for Trump-supporters who didn’t get in greeted us with just as much hatred. The walk back to my truck even included a man yelling from his car about how this was for Trump people and that we didn’t belong here and shouldn’t have come.
This kind of hatred is what is ruining this country (The USA)
To think that my right to protest was taken from me AT A RALLY scares the hell out of me if Trump actually became President and got that power. What else would he take away from us if he can’t even stand two teenage girls standing silently at a FREE, PUBLIC, OPEN-TO-EVERYONE event?
If you’re thinking of voting Trump this year, please rethink your stance.
This much hate belongs nowhere near the Presidency.”