In the run-up to the California primary, it is not just campaign rhetoric of the opposing presidential candidates that is heating up. Emotions are flaring, too.
Those who see Donald Trump as a threat to their entrenched power and those who want to seize that power are responding to Trump with increasing fury. The rioting last night at a Trump rally in San Jose, California brought out the haters and revealed their feelings in a graphic way.
At the rally, violence erupted when anti-Trump rioters attacked those who came to support Trump. The presumptive GOP nominee spoke for about 50 minutes to supporters at a rally that was expected to draw 12,000 to 15,000 people. But the big news was the bloody violence. A few hundred anti-Trump rioters initiated fights with Trump supporters and pummeled them with raw eggs, tomatoes and other items.
Witnesses indicated that over a dozen street fights broke out on Almaden Avenue and in the surrounding area.
Rioters pursued Trump supporters to their parked cars in areas with no police protection; there they pounded on the cars as their owners tried to leave the area. An on the spot Associated Press report indicated that the police stood their ground at first as they witnessed the violent outbreaks.
When police eventually tried to restore order, a police pickup was forced to retreat, and one police officer was assaulted. Thirty minutes after the rally ended, the police officially declared the rioting mob an unlawful assembly.
Prior reports of police preparations for Thursday’s event indicated that San Jose police would be restricting pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the surrounding area. That apparently did not happen. While police indicated that they would respect people’s right to express their views and their right to protest, their judgment in permitting speech as a pretext for outright violence is in question. They may have drawn the line too liberally.
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said before the rally, “We will do everything possible to protect the First Amendment, those attending, our community and our officers.” Did the citizens who pay the salaries of the police receive adequate consideration? The First Amendment must be protected, but the First Amendment does not require the police to wait until protestors punch others in the face before confronting them.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo expressed his pride in the S.J.P.D. in a phone interview with the Associated Press. “Our police officers have done an extremely courageous and professional job so far.” Liccardo’s statement smacks of irony. As an attorney, he prosecuted violent crimes. In this case, he essentially blamed the victims. “At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign.” Such a stance is overtly political, but it makes one wonder how his cases played out for the victims of violent crimes on his watch as proisecutor.
This 2016 election year is one for the history books. One thing is certain: Donald Trump has become a lightning rod for those who oppose the foundational values of the United States of America. Carrying signs that read “Make America Mexico Again,” the rioters burned an American flag while waving Mexican flags.
The rioters got away with intimidating Americans who support traditional American values as Trump expresses them. In his disdain for Trump and Trump’s supporters, a mayor of a major American city blithely sent the message that such intimidation is acceptable when a candidate is offensive to his side.
In an Alinsky-esque twist of truth, Trump became the cause of the riot, not the Democrats who support Hillary or Bernie.
“We the People” are watching all of these events, and as disturbing as they may be, each step of this election year is an education. Americans are essentially learning just who it is that normally stand in the shadows at the levers of political power, and we are seeing something that is repulsive – political power for the sake of absolute control over the people – whether it is the GOP or the Democrats, they seriously want to hold their control over the people – and apparently at all costs.
The people, long in complacent hibernation and insulation from reality, are now beginning to wake up and to see things for what they really are in an America that they no longer recognize. Those who continually riot against Trump, riot against America and the American values the people hold in esteem. Those who continue to riot against Trump, provide a vivid and powerful object lesson in what’s gone wrong in America. Those who hate America should beware of the people’s awakening.