Editor’s Note: Some of the opinions expressed within this piece may be offensive to readers.
“Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Donald Trump has got to go!”
The chants of university protesters’ ripped through the predominantly white, elderly, religious and male crowd congregated on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
Clearly disillusioned by what the demonstrators say is the “blunt racism presented by the tea party,” a number of students attended Trump’s appearance in Washington, D.C, since announcing his presidential campaign.
Working with United We Dream, one of the largest immigrant youth-led organizations, the students walked through Trump’s rally, a venue that featured many prominent faces from the Republican Party and the tea party. The rally, intended to express discontent with the recent Iranian deal proposed by Obama’s administration, drew a number of significant names, including Trump, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, and radio host Glenn Beck, among others speakers.
“I make good deals. It’s what I do. I have never in my life seen a deal so incompetently negotiated as the Iran deal.”-Trump @umdwritersbloc
— julia (@JuliaLWasHere) September 9, 2015
Throughout the event, dissenters from many different groups reacted strongly, loudly condemning what they saw as hateful and fear-mongering rhetoric.
Ashley Vasquez, a sophomore sociology and government and politics double major, walked with the student protesters in order to speak for the voices who she feels are not being heard.
“[Everyone has] heard all of the racist comments [Trump] has made over the last few months and we wanted to prove him wrong,” she said “We are Latinos and we are united. We wanted to show Trump that we are humans and we aren’t going anywhere. Neither are the 11 million undocumented people in this country.”
The students, who interrupted Trump’s speech with anti-racism chants, were not alone in their beliefs.
Other groups, including the CODEPINK organization, sent representatives to sing during the speeches. Jennifer Gorlich, a member of the CODEPINK group, attended the rally to support the deal with Iran, and sang lyrics such as “We believe in peace, Ted Cruz believes in war, but we believe in peace.”
Along with the demonstrators there were thousands of assembled tea party supporters screaming their support of the rhetoric, from Trump to Palin, that filled the afternoon air.
Those who attended the rally in favor of Trump and the other tea party supporters were perhaps the most explosive of all, hollering a hearty “AMEN!” whenever they agreed with the speaker, and providing commentary in response to protesters.
“Police officers, WE GOT YOUR BACK!” -Palin, in reference to police brutality. @umdwritersbloc
— julia (@JuliaLWasHere) September 9, 2015
Attendee Roy Hostetter of Ashton, Ohio, said by creating this deal with Iran, the United States was “dealing with the devil,” and later went on to say President Obama was the devil’s son.
Hostetter said the president deserved to be “tried for treason for some of the things he’s done, like Benghazi, and other things.” Additionally, he cited the Iran Deal as yet another of the president’s faults.
Traveling from New York, Michael Lynd attended the anti-Iranian protest in order to “oppose this terrible deal,” he said.
“I’m very very worried that it is going to lead to nuclear proliferation, particularly in the Middle East,” Lynd said.
More often than not, the fervor of those who sided with the speakers approached dangerous territory.
William Chavez, a senior criminology and criminal justice major, said he was forced to watch his friends and loved ones as they were assaulted in various ways.
“They were being thrown around,” Chavez said. “They were pulling a couple of the ladies’ hair. Tea party members spat on me, shoved me and yelled at me phrases like ‘Go home’ and ‘Get out of the country, you illegal!’”
The students did not appear to be protesting in any violent fashion and handled vicious scrutiny with apparent ease, as if they had experienced this before.
However, the crowd persisted via cruel generalizations such as “You weren’t born here,” “Speak American,” and “You’re not a citizen,” said Vasquez.
It appeared to be a brutal and powerful scene, one the students seemed unlikely to forget.
“I am a citizen of the United States,” Chavez said. “The unification of Latin and undocumented communities should not be because of the hatred we face.”
Featured Photo Credit: Students practice the chant “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go! Hey Hey, ho ho, racism has got to go!” (Julia Lerner/Bloc Reporter)
Julia Lerner is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at email@example.com.