Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Day At A Trump Rally (Protest)

On a whim this morning in bed I responded tardy to a last minute notice of a protest at a Trump rally.
I turned off Beeline Highway onto Shea Blvd toward Fountain Hills just moments after some of the protesters blocked Shea Blvd, and found myself blocked by the traffic jam. So I pulled off Shea Blvd and started milling around. Some protesters (mainly the "anarchists" who wear black and masks/kerchiefs) were blocking the road. Other protesters (mainly the Latinos who came to support the organization Puente) were standing on the side of the road. I was spending time with both until a young woman of African descent very soon came onto the road shouting "This is no better than Trump! America is about opportunity and freedom. We should let these people go in peace." These words made sense to me, so I began to see if I could influence these protesters to string out for miles instead of blocking the road (though my protesting experiences have taught me that 1) people tend to bunch, not spread and 2) people are incited by conflict). When they began to chant "Trump is Hate!" I could see clearly that this was useless demonization of the other and externalization of evil. So I interjected beckoning dissonant words between their chants a few times.

"Trump is Hate!"
"Trump is Hate!"
"Trump is Hate!"
"Trump is Hate!"

They changed to a different chant then.

I went to some of the front cars and expressed love and support to them the best way I could.

I talked to a young woman protester at the front who lovingly explained that she is a Buddhist and, for her, this was honoring of her personal principles of non-violence and peace; I honored that, she honored me, and we hugged each other, forgave, and loved each other.

A young man in black who had gone crazy with the fervor accosted me in a fury. I hugged him again and again.

I returned to the side of the road for a while and talked to more people. A bride in white was in tears on the side of the road because her wedding party was detained by the block. She expressed sympathy with the protesters, but lamented that her party had nothing to do with Trump.

The police arrived and were giving the protesters a deadline to yield the road. I decided to walk back out to Beeline Highway. I picked out a sign that said "Love Trumps Hate" (the best I could find; I was not prepared with my own materials) and stuck it in my waist. Before I left, the young man in black who had been crazy found me and called me "brother". So that was beautiful.

I walked a mile alone toward Mesa on Beeline Highway. So many experiences! So many seeings and lovings of people! So much compassion expressed and unexpressed for their delay at the hands of the protesters! So many chances to return blessing for cursing! So many moments of centering in the moment. So many views of myself in modes of "acting", "role playing", "shielding" and so forth. So much connection and compassion and blessing! I tried at times to see each person in each car (they were generally proceeding at a crawl) and wish them in some small way love, apology, and blessing.

 The road block had dissipated. I returned to my car and drove into Fountain Hills. The Trump rally was over, and I got to listen in a personal and individual way to some Trump supporters, feel their humanity, and love them.

All the problems with this world are in my own heart. "Our enemies are not human beings. They are cravings, anger, hatred, suspicion, despair,” --Thich Nhat Hanh

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