Today I attended the We All Belong rally down at the Craighead County Courthouse. It was, as expected, an entirely peaceful affair. I was there for two hours and didn’t see a single police officer, which must be unprecedented for any type of demonstration these days.
Most of the citizens who passed by were friendly enough. Sure, there were a few birds flown, but most people either drove on by or honked and waved.
I took some time to deliver a bird of my own to the people who had been trolling the Facebook event page.
A wiry old fellow rolled down his window and growled, “Go back to Mexico.” He was leathery from the sun, and he shook his head back and forth as the crowd chanted, “No ban, no wall!” He stared ahead, hands at ten and two on the wheel, shaking, as if to say, “I can’t stand equality. Not in my town.”
Stan Morris of NEA Report was on site to livestream and ask loaded questions. After he’d concluded an interview with one particularly opinionated attendee, who just happened to have a baby strapped to her chest, he waited until she walked away and insulted her parenting decisions to his online audience. “I know guys, it’s freezing and that baby has been out here for two hours. I told her to go inside and get that baby warm. It’s just horrible.”
A man next to me noticed I was reading the Battle of Jonesboro plaque in front of the Courthouse. He pointed at the Confederate flag engraved above the inscription. “There’s probably something ironic to be said about that,” he said. Maybe. Surprisingly enough, it was the only one I saw today. They’ve mostly moved on to the American flag now. I guess they finally feel like it’s theirs.
I’m not sure if I actually accomplished anything today. I helped show some folks they aren’t alone, perhaps, but there were a hundred of us versus 77,000. Alone might be relative.
I guess we’re about to find out.