By Brett Warnke
With their motorcycles stacked like dominoes beneath the shade of the bright art in Chicano Park, SDPD grimly lined the streets in absurd riot gear in an enormous overreaction to a brief, spirited and peaceful march held on Friday, May 26.
Unión del Barrio planned the protest—“Donald Trump: Fuera de San Diego”—which drew over a 1,000 marchers who rallied in the park and walked to the city’s Convention Center. Five or six other groups planned similar rallies. In the merry crush, there were loud and sometimes obscene chants in Spanish and English as bullhorns, posters, and groups vied for a break in the din.
Organizers pleaded with the marchers as child dancers, waving their feathers and clacking instruments, as the rally ended. “Stay connected!” they shouted.
As the march reached the Convention Center, the county’s undocumented immigrants took to the microphones to tell their stories of living in the shadows. One teenager who identified himself as “a white Mexican” described how he was removed from inside the Trump rally for speaking Spanish. Other organizers demanded a path to citizenship and led the crowd in cheers, demanding that ICE be removed from Escondido.
Numerous signs along the front of the Convention Center obscenely portrayed billionaire Donald Trump as a coiffed pile of steaming excrement. “Dump Trump” was common. One read “Trump: “Comb-over Fascism” and another was, “Immigrants Pay Taxes, Mr. Trump. Do You? Release Your Tax Info!” (My own sign was a steal from journalist Christopher Hitchens who once said Trump was good with a budget, being able to cover “90% of his head with 10% of his hair.”)
Other protestors were adorned Trump’s notorious onion loaf of hair buzzing with flies or mottled with swastikas. Marchers chanted “Hey-hey, ho-ho, fascist Trump has got to go!” They rallied, jeered, and cheered for black and brown lives an hour or so before marching back to Barrio Logan.
The crowd, a mix of organizers, unionists, local residents, Spanish-speakers and young people rallied despite threats being circulated from racists groups north of San Diego. On Thursday, Union del Barrio communicated the threats through social media. Later, after Friday’s rally concluded in Chicano Park, upwards of 18 people received medical attention in the Gaslamp as police dispersed crowds.
Inside the Convention Center, meanwhile, Sarah Palin offered her usual word salad filled with “dangs” “darns” and musket-ready forefathers. According to the transcript, she even nonsensically told the media, her great bugbear, “Suck it up, cupcake” before comparing Mr. Trump to a “golden wrecking ball” who “shined light on the shenanigans.”
Republican nominee Trump’s speech was fully covered by the local press with few if any interviews from marchers. Inside the Convention Center, according to every news report’s photographs, Trump’s rally was populated with the typically white crowds who groaned with pleasure at his braggadocio, as when he claimed he would put the state that has not voted Republican since 1988 into play.
In Fresno, Mr. Trump averaged a lie every 21 seconds in his speech, even falsely claiming candidate Hillary Clinton hopes to “abolish the second amendment.” Outside, while marchers shouted that Mr. Trump was “fired,” there were only a few leering pro-Trump counter-protestors.
Neither the the local Republican Party nor Mayor Kevin Faulconer has endorsed Donald Trump.
All photos by Brett Warnke