As Donald Trump brought to Toledo his caravan of hate, bigotry and xenophobia, Toledoans met him with a LOVE fest, declaring resoundingly that his fear mongering is not welcome in Toledo. Here is my favorite picture from the rally:
Earlier, I met these two women while they were circling the block in their car. I witnessed them being harassed by a cop for reportedly not turning immediately on a green light and holding up traffic. Ironically, the biggest lineup of cars that I saw at the corner were produced by the cop stopping them for a couple minutes. Not pictured is a sticker on my back that says, “I LOVE MUSLIMS.”
We had someone else take a similar picture of us with one of the women’s phones (you can see this on the left of this pic). I asked if they could share the pic with me on facebook. They responded that they don’t do social media. They prefer to keep it simple and real. I LOVE THIS! This is WAY better than getting a copy of their pic. And, as it turns out, the love karma and sharing mojo, sent this picture my way anyways.
In unrelated karma, the police were out in force, the only ones dressed for a riot. I couldn’t help but notice that the vast majority of the police for the vast majority of the time were facing the LOVE fest participants, not the Trump designated side of the street. Hmmm…who do the police think are the threat, and whom are they focused on protecting?
I was instructed by two separate police officers at two different times to return to the other side of the street, the protesters’ side. There were plenty of legal observers (lawyers) present. I spoke with several of them. They confirmed that it is illegal, an unconstitutional limit of free speech and peaceable assembly, to partition public spaces into partisan zones. In years past, the police set up “free speech zones” (sic), areas cordoned off with police tape to box up and control protesters. Such “free speech zones” have been ruled unconstitutional. The legal observers are making a report, and, hopefully, this experience will add to the training of law enforcement officers as to their legitimate, legal duties.
Thanks to a grant from Homeland Security (emblazoned on the side of the armored vehicle), a military-style armored truck was parked adjacent to the demonstration area. This was accompanied by a set of more-heavily-equipped police officers ready to leap into action if there was some type of invasion that a couple dozen policemen (there were no women cops) couldn’t handle. This all strikes me as a great opportunity to normalize the militarization of local police forces. Would we call a nation patrolled with armored trucks the “land of the free?”
If you would like to see more photos from Toledo’s LOVE fest and anti-Trump rally, check this out. There were plenty of beautiful Toledoans and wonderful signs of love and anti-Trump messages. May peace and love break out everywhere!