Fifty years ago this month, I departed Boston for a 10-month deployment to Vietnam. From that experience, I learned one lasting lesson: “Question authority”!
In that spirit, my wife and I headed to Manchester, carrying three signs, not in protest nor to provoke, but to underscore the bedrock values that are being threatened by Donald Trump: democracy; truth; freedom of the press; the balance of power; and the separation of church and state. And to remind supporters that this administration is reversing a century of conservation progress by gutting the Endangered Species Act, weakening the EPA; and assaulting our public lands with unregulated commercial exploitation.
Lastly, to remind supporters, when Trump insults one veteran, he insults us all.
As supporters filed into the SNHU Arena, some looked at our signs, read them, took pictures or pointed to different bullet points and said: “I agree with that one!” Most comments showed a lack of awareness between what Trump repeatedly has said, and what he has done.
For over four hours we stood on a grassy knoll at the corner of Elm and Granite streets, across from the arena. Outdoor speakers kept us informed of the nauseating list of lies and embellished accomplishments that Trump and local speakers preceding him boasted of. The Aug. 16 Sentinel article that described the event with “blaring music with an intricate light show” and remarks by attendees about “feeling safe” or the “reaffirming feeling of shared values” suggests an air of dangerous normalcy.
At the end of the day, we concluded these “Trumpsters” fell into one of four categories:
1. The Grumpy: Forty-five minutes into Trump’s speech, a steady line of people began to file out. Their looks were similar to employees leaving an office Christmas party, expecting their annual bonus only to find out this year there isn’t one;
2. The Clueless: A clear majority would avoid eye contact, the way a kid does when he knows he’s done something wrong;
3. The Euphoric: About a third of the crowd appeared giddy from drinking the “joy juice,” waving signs, suggesting we are what’s wrong with this country;
4. The Intimidators: A small percentage wearing NRA or white supremacist clothing would not only engage in eye contact, but seemingly stare right through you.
What we witnessed was a malignant movement that is contaminating our New Hampshire and the American way of life that must be challenged!
1 Old Antrim Road