Yesterday, at the RNC, I was walking around with my friend in the public square, which is a few blocks away from the RNC arena. In the public square, there are a million different activities going on: protests (against Trump, against Hillary, bible lovers, Black Lives Matter, anarchists, etc), countless independent journalists and photographers, and people who are simply just watching around with big eyes. For someone who is easily distracted, the stimulation in the public square is over whelming and exhausting.
I soaked up images of democracy and freedom of speech, images of people attempting to fight against the hate, and images of Black Lives Matter protestors failing to come to agreements with Trump supporters. I stood in the center of the square watching people walk past me. I was nosy and listened into conversations. I continued to calm myself throughout the hateful remarks said among ignorant people by reminding myself of what my parents said. Before I left for Cleveland, my parents lectured me about not getting involved with ignorant people at this convention. I am an outspoken and often emotion person and my parents knew exactly what was coming down the aisle.
I overheard a man scream, “women should not be able to vote!” My parents remarks went out the window.
I immediately got in the face of this man who continued to scream “women should not be able to vote.” This 10-15 argument was kind of a blur. He told me that, “women are baby factories,” “women should stay at home,” and “women are moody because they PMS.” He thought that women only vote for socialists, and when I asked him to explain and give me an example, he couldn’t. So his argument made absolutely no sense. Regardless, the argument was disturbing and disgusting.
By the time that I was way too invested in this, I looked up and I had attracted a crowd of thirty people. Luckily, more people were on my side than his side. One man even chimed in and said, “I would give up my vote so that this shit head would not be able to vote.” I was getting applause and praise from the twenty people on my side and I was getting told to “stay pretty and go back home” from the ten people on the other side.
Today, when I went back to the public square, people recognized me by saying “were you the girl who put that asshole in his place?” And I’m proud to say I was.
Donald Trump has validated the disgusting and violent beliefs of ignorant, racist, homophobic, and sexist humans (so much so that David Duke, a former leader of the KKK is running for U.S. Senate in Louisiana). It’s time for the Republican party to acknowledge that Donald Trump has given an avenue and a platform for privileged men to express their ignorance who think women are just “baby factories.” It’s time for leaders of the Republican party to outwardly speak against the racist, homophobic, sexist and islamaphobic remarks that Trump regularly comments and has normalized for the man I saw today.
So, before you go to the polls and vote for Trump, think about this man who thinks women shouldn’t be able to vote. He is out on the public square yelling “women shouldn’t be able to vote” in my face because as he said, “Trump inspired me to speak my beliefs.” It’s 2016, come on.
- Hannah K. Dobie