My night at the Trump rally

Walking out of the canceled Trump appearance at the UIC Pavilion, I passed a police officer standing at the door, one of dozens at the event. Protestors were filing out too, shouting slogans. I looked at the officer, she looked at me, and a grimace was all it took, between us, to register our mutual impatience if not disgust at these people.

Earlier, our waiting for Trump was interrupted by an announcement that from my seat in the upper deck, next to a couple slightly younger than I who had helped me get to my seat without tipping over, I could hardly make out.

Asking around, I learned that Trump wasn’t coming. A big roar had accompanied the announcement. I thought wow, did Cruz withdraw or something? Nope, it was the Bernie people roaring their approval. 

They materialized as if out of nowhere at the end of the main floor, probably 100 or so, massed together, yelling out “Bernie, Bernie.” By then, even from my perch above, it was clear that they had arrived to break up the rally, which they did. 

“Nazi youth movement,” I told a friend whom I had called. Well, calm though I was, I’d gotten a little in the exaggerating mode. Before I left the main entrance to the ouside, walking down to the main-floor concourse, I’d passed a tall, skinny white kid wearing a t-shirt with writing he’d put there himself with magic marker or something like it, “White people, racism hurts us all.”

He stood there as we walked past, his back to a wall, just looking, as if he wanted us to see his t-shirt with its writing. A few Trump supporters, young white guys, gave a fuckin’ this or that and were angry at his type having driven their man away. They pointed fingers at him but made no move. He walked away.

More walking on the concourse, and a scuffle broke out but was over right away. With others I walked out (past the police woman) on to the street, where we faced other signs far less noble than what we’d seen:

“No Trump.” “Let me see your dick.” “Small hands, small dick.” (Rubio has to regret that exchange which he started.) And other signs there were, in the crowd in the middle of the street, far more than we who filed past them on the sidewalk, many of us on our way to the Blue Line station a half block away.

These were college students making noise and not much else. Watching TV when I got home, Blue Line to Clark bus, the bus to Andersonville, I saw brief fistfights — a few, over and over, by the way — but on the scene, let’s say it was easy to be there and see almost nothing of the sort. 

One scuffle that was played a lot on TV was of a guy on the stage. That was something we could see him from the upper deck, him trying to get to the mike, struggling with two men trying to hustle him off the stage. Playing to his audience, he was.

As for Trump not showing, seeing the size of the anti-Trump group, and if I said 100, maybe more like 200, I cannot imagine Trump being able to speak. Hustling that many out would have made it ridiculous for anyone to do anything but listen to the “Bernie, Bernie” chants.

It was a setup, in other words. A mob had taken over the rally, disrupting it beyond repair. Trump afterwards told Hannity that the police would have surely have done their duty but that he saw it would be messy indeed (my word) and might have gotten very bad indeed.

All in all, police were very patient, and besides a few nasties, the violence seemed to be very much contained. Not bad for a college campus, where students increasingly feel entitled, even obliged, to disrupt what they disagree with. Now that’s why I thought Nazis at first, come to think of it.

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Comments

  • Lyle Warner  On March 13, 2016 at 8:27 AM

    Very good eyewitness report as usual John.

    Like

  • Paula Hatfield  On March 13, 2016 at 11:06 AM

    How ridiculous. Protesting is also a right protected by the first amendment. If it was a set up, it was set up by Mr. Trump’s people. What did he expect in coming to speak at an urban university given his very outspoken opinions about minorities and women? Anyone with any sense would have predicted a huge turnout of protesters. Comparing young people exercising their right to protest to Nazis is more than hyperbolic, it’s asinine. Trump was not shouted down. He didn’t show up.

    Like

    • Chitownmom (@chitownmom)  On March 13, 2016 at 11:23 AM

      Contrary to your view, some people in Chicago would like the chance to hear the candidates (ALL of them) for themselves in order to determine who best represents their views. The city is not made up solely of young, unmannered liberals.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Disbeleiving  On March 13, 2016 at 4:01 PM

      Do you think Congressman Luis Guterriez works for Trump. He was on the news organizing

      Like

    • Jim Bowman  On March 13, 2016 at 5:08 PM

      What he expected is one thing, what he should have expected or had a right to expect is another. Free speech took a hit. Sorry.

      Like

    • Dirk  On March 13, 2016 at 5:59 PM

      Protesting is not a problem, everyone gets their voice. These little bastards wanted to, and did, stifle speech. Shame on them!

      Like

    • nccoastgrl  On March 14, 2016 at 8:09 PM

      That move on. org has taken credit for shutting Chicago down. Yes, freedom of speech is important part of our country, but you cannot shut down a rally on any politcal forum be it democrat or republican. These kids, I would hope were raised with manners, respect for our country and realize that they wouldn’t have these freedoms today if were didn’t kick butt to keep it free. I’m hoping their parents are very ashamed.

      Like

  • Tyler  On March 13, 2016 at 11:20 AM

    It does not matter where the speech was/is held. Even if it is unpopular, it should not be censored by anyone. This is a prime example of the left using their overreaching idea of racism and sexism claims to eliminate an opinion they find unpopular.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Emma  On March 13, 2016 at 12:57 PM

    A very good piece, thank you. Why, I ask were all of these people allowed to enter with book bag when the UIC Pavilion states that they are not allowed? The Monterrey Security firm did not have a grasp of this venue at all. For heaven’s sake, how does one get flags that large and flag poles into the arena without having been checked. If there was any set up, I’d say that security service which is owned by Hispanics (and I am Hispanic myself) had something to do with it.

    Like

    • Jim Bowman  On March 13, 2016 at 5:12 PM

      Emma, TSA and Secret Service people were checking bags for content at the door where I entered. It would make a tidy scandal, even for Chicago, if there was collusion with protestors, which I’m doubting would remain covered up by now. But worse has happened.

      Like

  • Dave  On March 13, 2016 at 2:19 PM

    I too was at the rally. We were on the floor near the stage and there were ‘secret’ protestors around that stayed silent until the announcement was made at which time they went into full celebration mode. Walking north on Racine to our car we were physically blocked by protestors who were chained arm and arm across Racine at Van Buren. I don’t have a problem with free speech or the first Amendment but they crossed the line when they physically blocked access to the right of way. I personally bashed into one of those entitled punks to get through causing a minor scuffle. How would they like it if we formed a human chain around the podium when they go to get their diplomas ?

    Like

    • Jim Bowman  On March 13, 2016 at 5:19 PM

      Now there’s an idea, about the diplomas. I walked north on Racine as far as the Blue Line station, ran into nothing like what you describe, for what it’s worth. Not to deny your experience, just to note the size of the area and various times of the evening. It was 7:05 when I’d walked a fair distance down the platform to a bench and sat to wait for my train.

      Like

  • TomTuohy  On March 13, 2016 at 2:30 PM

    Very pleased the event was canceled by Trump. I prefer to hear someone with a at least a grade school student’s vocabulary and grasp of domestic and foreign policy, however for those who want to hear what he has to say, so be it. I am happy that CPD provided him with every opportunity and very proud of the job they did. Without access to a small minority to bully and stoke the fires of division, he chose to cut and run. Good for Chicago and UIC.

    Like

    • Jim Bowman  On March 13, 2016 at 5:25 PM

      I agree, canceling made sense. CPD looked very good from what I saw. Trump’s language is fair game, but he’s in a tough fight and as a seasoned media performer he knows what sells. Many the pol would like to do as well as he in that respect. He simply knows the territory and is smarter than he looks to many who don’t understand what it takes to win the masses in 2016. Makes sense while he does what he does. I’m dying to see him make hash of Mrs. Clinton.

      Like

  • Lena  On March 13, 2016 at 4:36 PM

    I thought I was over with anything like this ugly going on the streets after I left Moscow, Russia. Nope. Sad.

    Like

  • Sandy Boston  On March 13, 2016 at 5:08 PM

    I was there and was mortified-embarrassed to be a Chicagoan. The ThugPunks were disgusting, revolting and ridiculous: the bottom of the barrel of human beings. Groups of blacks, hispanics, muslims and white trash attacked and then cried like babies when confronted with video proof THEY were the problem. Shame on the Chicago alderman who stormed the podium, the liberal orgs who united to disrupt and everyone who violently protested. They are what’s wrong with this country and I hope they move OUT when Trump wins!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Kate Cooper  On March 14, 2016 at 8:33 PM

    Thank God Chicago shut down that evil hate-monger before he could spew any more of his hate. He is the nazi.

    Like

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