Donald Trump was in St. Louis to talk to supporters at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis (March 11,2016), and Bernie Sanders supporters made themselves known in front of the entrance to the venue, along Market Street in downtown St. Louis.
Sanders supporters were some of the more vocal protesters. They gathered on the street at Market at the entrance to the venue so they could spew angry insults at Trump supporters. It’s not really anything new for liberals, except that Sanders is supposed to represent tolerance of different views, including Trump supporters. This is supposed to be what liberalism is all about: tolerance. It's liberals like Sanders and Hillary Clinton who talk about how intolerant Trump is for calling attention to Muslim extremism. But when it comes to Sanders and Clinton supporters being toleratant, it does not go so well.
One of the most vocal chants when Trump supporters left the Peabody Opera House was “Fuck Donald Trump,” which is hate speech. Blacks and whites were chanting this, but people front and center, many of them white, and Sanders supporters, were chanting it as well. The line into the venue snaked around the entire block. Blacks should know not to say this, but a number of Sanders supporters, or just trouble-makers, shouted this to the crowd, while Trump's speech was being broadcast outside the venue to the crowd. This happened more than a dozen times on the street in front of the venue.
A number of Trump supporters stayed after the event, and talked to people opposed to Trump; the majority of them were black and angry. The Trump supporters were hard to miss; they wore red hats and other Trump paraphernalia. Two white male Trump supporters stood and talked, or mostly listened as a number of black women yelled at them. They white men demonstrated extraordinary courage and tolerance by listening to multiple rants by these blacks women. Much of it was incoherant, to the point that it was impossible to understand what was being said. They covered a number of topics, including employment, welfare, crime, black incarceration, racism, etc.
For Trump’s part, at least a dozen Trump protesters made it inside the venue, caused a disturbance, and were removed. Each time a protester was removed, the crowd cheered. Each time a Trump supporter came out, they were booed by this small crowd of protesters, and they shouted "Fuck Donald Trump" again. Another refrain from the Bernie supporters was “Daddy’s money,” which does not make a lot of sense, because many of the people who support Trump are blue collar workers. The issue is whether supporters of one candidate, has a right to foment hate, and hate speech against another candidate and their supporters. There were no groups of Trump supporters yelling phrases, chants about Bernie, or yelling profanity against Bernie supporters or at any Sanders campaign rally.
The hate speech seemed to have been indirectly condoned by the St. Louis Police, since groups of police were standing 15 to 20 feet from the protesters, and did nothing to stop the protesters from shouting hate speech. The groups or single individuals were also interrupting the talks inside, to the point that it made it hard to hear what was being said. It seemed to be the intent of many of the protesters to interrupt the speech as much as possible.
The question is whether the city, or the St. Louis Police supports hate speech against any candidate, or by making space and allowing protesters in a venue, whether inside or outside, condones hate speech by Bernie Sanders supporters. There were other protesters who used profanity against Trump and Trump supporters, but many of the protesters using profanity were Sanders supporters.
Another question is whether Sanders, as a candidate, will disavow hate speech by his supporters, whether acting in an official or unofficial capacity. Many Sanders supporters act like Trump is supposed to say exactly what they want him to say, as though they are the measure of civility. But this is really hypocrisy, because if one wants a candidate to be tolerant, should not supporters of an opposing candidate be tolerant as well?
Tolerance is not what we get from people who dislike Trump. One girl, staying after the event, said it was her right to hate Trump, simply because she disagreed with him. There is also much confusion among young people opposed to Trump because of what he says about Muslim extremists. One woman said she didn’t know anything about groups of Muslim men, in a coordinated attack, raping German women. She probably did not know any thing about the attack in Paris either. She said that if one did not visit the country, one did not have a right to complain about rights being violated in the country.
This is simply flawed logic. America went to war because of slavery; should white people in the North not have fought for slavery against the South because they were never slaves? So to is the logic surrounding the black lives movement: the louder and more uncivil the voice, the more power one has over others. Or blacks have a right to shout down whites, because they are black. Likewise with the second World War. Why would America have one to war to defend freedom in Europe across the Pacific Ocean is young American men had never visited those countries?
It’s seems to be common for some black women to be the most uncivil in debating. They are basically disrespectful who they disagree with, and demonstrate that they can't carry on a civil conversation about a controversial topic. This kind of treatment is exactly what Bernie Sanders got from one of the black lives matter female leaders in Seattle; it’s also what Trump supporters are getting from people who are opposed to Trump. It’s time for Sanders, Clinton, and their official supporters, wherever they may be, to disavow association with people who foment violence and hate speech at any event attended by Trump supporters.
© 2016 Larry Ingram
Based in St Louis,
Larry Ingram writes about the news media, movies and culture, as well as on topics like race, privilege, Christianity, religious expression and tolerance.
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