For several weeks, they've been announcing a huge, nationwide protest to take place on November 4th - the one year anniversary of Donald Trump's election. Their only talking point: That the "Trump/Pence Regime Must End!" They have no apparent plan for replacing it, and no apparent awareness of how the reins of political leadership are transferred in America, just that they're pissed off that Hillary lost the election, and they want everyone to know it.
I decided to go to the Atlanta protest, because if it truly was going to be a history-making event, I wanted to be there to witness it. And, if possible, to do my own little bit to record it for posterity. The following is my experience.
It started with just a couple tables with maybe 8 protesters. They were giving out postcards with their flyer printed on them. So far, it was a huge nothingburger. There were more street vendors than protesters.
The organizers were very adamant at the outset that the rally had "'rules" and that violence, weapons, and drug use were against the "rules". To their credit (partly), there was no violence. I don't know about weapons - I was certainly armed. I did smell the sweet herb burning before everything got started. The presence of a couple dozen cops may have kept that to a minimum. If I had to guess, there were maybe a hundred fifty people there in total. Probably a third were protesters, another third onlookers, and the last third were news, bloggers, and people like me who were just there to be witness to the event. Kinda of like NASCAR - you don't go JUST to see a bad crash, and you don't hope for one out loud... but it would make your day a whole lot more exciting. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. Walking up to the event, I saw this poster plastered on a pole.
I'm not sure who the guy is, but I know antifa hates him. I expected to see a lot more hate from the crowd than I did, and I was very surprised at that.
There was a strange woman acting as a Trump impersonator. She was handing out business cards, though, so I don't think she was part of the protest - I think she was just trying to drum up business.
There actually were a couple Trump supporters on the edge of the crowd. This guy was one of them. I have to give him props - he stayed to the bitter end.
A small group of Trump supporters did come marching in, with an American flag leading the way. I didn't get a good shot of them because I had my camera tucked away from the rain and as soon as they showed up, the cops converged and hustled them away. I lost track - I don't know if they got arrested, but I doubt it. It was all over incredibly quickly. By the time I got my camera out, this is all I could see.
When it became apparent that the rain had settled in to stay, the decided to go ahead and have their little parade anyway. It was a sad little affair. I'm sure they imagined hundreds and hundreds of anti-Trump soldiers displaying a huge show of force as they marched down the sidewalk, across the road, and back again. The weather just was not their friend.
The guy with the Info Wars sign marched with them the entire way. Dude was a trouper.
As for myself, I stayed out of the political dialog until the very end. I happened to tuck into a doorway with a male/female photographer team and as we stood there wondering if it was all over, she began lamenting that she "can't believe it's been a whole year since that disaster!"
I replied, "Well, it could be worse. Could've been Hillary that got elected."
BAM. It was on like Donkey Kong. Honestly, I didn't mean for it to happen. I was only there to take pictures. I swear it. He said that she had honestly been in a severe state of clinical depression since the election, and was just now starting to get over it. I remarked that I just don't understand all the hate for Trump. She started railing about how Trump was such a failure. I asked what he had failed at. She answered, "Well, what has he gotten done since he's been in office? Nothing! name one piece of legislation he's gotten accomplished!"
In the sake of brevity, I'll just say that we discussed the Uranium One deal, the Clinton Foundation's financial practices, and the obstructionism of the entire government against the president. She said, "You have all three branches of government, and Trump still can't get things done! He's got every Republican behind him, and he still can't..."
I interrupted, "All Republicans? Apparently, you haven't been listening to any speeches made by Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, or Lindsey Graham..."
She snorted, "You're an idiot!" and walked out into the rain.
Her husband/boyfriend/whatever stayed game. He dared me, "Name one piece of legislation Trump has gotten passed."
"Does the President write legislation?" I asked.
"Well, he signs it."
"But does the President author legislation?"
"Then if the Republicans, and Democrats, acting in concert, refuse to author any legislation he's asked for, and refuse to give him anything to sign, what's he supposed to do?"
He huffed at me, spat, "You're an idiot!" and followed his wife/girlfriend/whatever out into the rain.
A couple of 20-ish guys that were standing there listening, agreed with me. They said, "Well, I guess we can go home. Looks like nobody's going to get pepper sprayed." Turns out, they were only there hoping that the protesters would get froggy and start something, and get their asses handed to them by the Atlanta PD.
Like NASCAR, you don't necessarily WANT shit to go down, but if it does, you want to be there to see it.