Don’t start here! Start with Part 1. https://fascismsite.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/fascism-doesnt-leap-it-creeps
I met my friend in the parking lot at Burke High School about 5:15.
I got to see my #resist buddies at the rally for a few minutes before I went into the Bannon talk. It meant a lot to see them and to stand, even for a moment, with other proud resisters. It was really, really hard to leave all of you to go across the street. Frankly, I’m a bit jealous that I couldn’t see the speakers and be there among generous, beautiful people who live love and compassion every day.
I had told my friend the crowd would be perfectly nice people and not a room full of Nazis. We were each half right. I’m glad I was the one seated next to the kindly old gentleman (at least that’s how he looked), who started talking to me pretty much immediately as if I was a racist, too. I’m glad my friend was seated next to a genuinely nice couple who probably were not white supremacists.
I took copious notes, but I think it’ll take me a few days to process it all.
We drove from the Burke High School parking lot across the street, via numerous downtown streets, since streets were closed all around the events. We had to show our tickets to get through checkpoints to park at Holliday Alumni Center.
My friend and I were dressed as Republicans. My husband said, “You’re a RICO; A republican in clothing only.” I can always count on my husband for a clever quip. I wore a white cotton button-down shirt under a red blazer and black wool pants. I wore a string of pearls, simple pearl earrings and a pearl bracelet. I made sure to paint my fingernails, and I wore makeup – even eye makeup, and spent quite a while rolling my hair and then plastering the resulting hairdo with hairspray. I guess this is what I think a Republican looks like. It’s funny, though, because I realize that the Republicans at this $65/plate dinner would look very different than many Trump voters. Driving through rural areas during the election, there were numerous dilapidated homes, junk in the yard, tall grass, and a proud Trump yard sign.
I would have worn a skirt, because I think Republican women wear skirts. I couldn’t find my long black skirt, so I wore pants. Ironically, I bought this red blazer for a day when women throughout the country wore pantsuits to honor Hillary Clinton. I didn’t wear a pantsuit, but I wore this very outfit that same day.
I met a woman prior to the rally who was handing out stickers that said, “Trump Sucks.” Aware that my purse would be searched, I told her I didn’t want to possess the stack of stickers she handed me. However, I took one, and I asked this stranger to stand in front of me while I put my hands down my pants to stick the “Trump Sucks” sticker on my bare ass. My friend had her “blatant dissent” shirt and I had secret. Only I, and she, would know it was there while I sat in on Bannon’s talk.
My friend wore a white blouse and giant pearls. She had a mid-length black skirt. It was a bit shocking to see her searched, as we all were, prior to the event. She had to spread her legs, which is not easy and very awkward in a slim skirt. The large, and very respectful, police officer at screening wanded her while the waiting crowd looked on.
But before this, we stood on a granite floor with large black tiles on white in a pattern I can’t identify, waiting to be screened. My friend was next in line, when one of the screeners, a very serious officer, said to her, “M’aam, I need you to hang tight on the black squares.” She was already on the black squares, not moving forward, but his tone was scolding.
Where she stood, there was one white square surrounded by black squares. We joked with each other, and with the man behind us, who looked to be a Citadel grad in his 20’s or early 30’s, that maybe that one white square was a trap door. When my friend moved forward, I stood on that one white square, lifting my arms straight up to see if I would fall through. The man behind me smiled. When I moved forward for screening, I looked back and he was standing on the white square smiling. It was a little thing. I don’t know his politics, of course, but it was a metaphor for resisting fascism.
None of us want to live under a fascist regime, despite our politics. Some recognize that fascism doesn’t leap. Fascism creeps.
Follow Dr. Cleaveland on Twitter: @CHSPolitico