Being a reporter here at byteclay.com, and reading through the hundreds of news stories detailing how businessman Donald Trump was forced to postpone a rally on a major university campus in Chicago, Illinois by violent protesters, I have been taken aback by what I see as a media double standard in the reporting that has taken place by experienced and knowledgeable journalists, who are always the first to claim that they always present both sides of the story. The vast majority of stories expand to great lengths on individual examples of assault and disorderly conduct protesters claim have happened to them when protesting a political rally of supporters by Trump’s campaign organization.
Very little has been mentioned of the shoving and racist slogans being shouted at Trump and his supporters by protesters, whose sole intention appears to be fascist in nature. The goal was to get the other side of the story, the part where these protesters at Trump’s rallies are well organized, use deceit and disguise to get into these campaign appearances, and generally become physically violent with Trump supporters.
Some of Trump’s most ardent supporters in St. Louis, Missouri and in Chicago, Illinois, where trouble erupted on Friday the 11th of March, 2016 were contacted for this article. Those who responded were asked if they attended a rally for Trump, and if so, were inside or outside a venue. A cornucopia of descriptions regarding protester tactics were told of, and these ordinary voters were asked about their impressions regarding whether or not there were organized groups creating the disruptions, or whether or not these appeared to be just random individuals adopting a mob mentality.
Lengthy interviews were restricted to those voters directly impacted by the actions of protesters. In order to protect the privacy of those who were interviewed, their names and where they live are not included in this article.
- 62 individuals were contacted for this report, and of those, 41 were chosen for the long form interview on Friday, April 11th, 2016.
- 80% of respondents polled said that they believed that protesters were organized.
- 75% said that those who were impacted by protesters were pushed or shoved first.
- Of those who were pushed and shoved by protesters, all respondents replied that the pushing and shoving was followed by racial slurs or hate speech directed at Donald Trump.
- Black Lives Matter members were directly responsible for shoving incidents in both St. Louis and at the University of Illinois – Chicago campus on Friday.
Respondents were asked if they felt that their civil rights had been violated, and what rights, if any, do the campaign supporters believe protesters have interfered with. Respondent comments were universally identical regarding these questions; something that is quite intriguing.
- Trump’s supporters claim that their first amendment rights to free speech and freedom of assembly are being stolen from them by persons willing to use violence to make their point.
- Trump’s supporters claim that protesters are using violence as a tool to prevent supporters of Trump from exercising their first amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution.
- Trump’s supporters also claim that they are afraid of the level of violence that protesters are resorting to, and believe that there will be more violence to come at the hands of Black Lives Matter and pro Latino undocumented migrants who are present at Trump’s rallies.
It’s important to learn more about the conduct of the protesters from the respondents. Clothing and signs with anti-Trump messages were very commonplace. So was disruptive behavior, from screaming slogans to attempting to drown out Donald Trump and interfere with the ability of supporters to hear their candidate speak. However, what bothered these supporters most was being physically pushed and shoved and being on the receiving end of a physical assault. Some respondents spoke about the fact that several protesters were willing to assault supporters regardless of age. On more than one occasion, persons of high school age were assaulted by an adult protester who was a minority.
Given the level of violence being perpetrated by protesters, it’s shocking that the Democratic National Committee has not denounced the actions of their supporters; the same people protesting at Trump campaign events. Why are both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders avoiding speaking out against the violence their supporters are perpetrating? Both Democratic party presidential candidates have failed to encourage a more civil discourse from their supporters, and failing to call out their supporters for the violence that has been happening is not just disingenuous; it’s disgusting.
For Trump and his supporters, their safety must be a priority. While many of the protesters are Hillary supporters, the vast majority have been, surprisingly, Sanders supporters. Hearing about Sanders supporters intentionally seeking to prevent another person from speaking through intimidation and violence, their tactics are no different than those employed by Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in the 1930s in Italy.
What has always been in the United States is room for peaceful discussion and discourse on the issues, and our leaders are chosen at the ballot, for one of the most peaceful leadership changes that take place in the world today. Civil rights are one of the cornerstones of American democracy, and the right of the people to be able to speak about and to hear peaceful discussions of political matters is paramount to personal liberty and freedom for all people.
Ordinary voters are not opposed at all to the peaceful exercise of the freedom of speech. However, with great rights comes great responsibility. It is my belief that protesters must respect the rights and the views of people they disagree with, and are just as responsible as the supporters for ensuring that their individual side is aware; and if members of either group violate the law, law enforcement MUST respond by jailing those unwilling to allow others to exercise their rights as citizens under the U.S. Constitution.
If you wish to exercise your right to free speech, it must be tempered by self-discpline to avoid interfering with the civil rights of those who do not agree with you. Preventing civil discourse from occurring through intimidation and threats is not just unlawful – IT IS UNAMERICAN.
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