Here I am, the erstwhile hippy, reliving my youth after 40 years of being a middle American wife, mommy, and all around peaceful person. Here are some facts about Donald Trump’s visit to my town, Burlington, Vermont. Burlington is solidly Bernie Sanders territory, one of the most liberal cities in the United States.
The Trump campaign had to increase the number of tickets for a 1400 seat venue to 20,000, because the original number were quickly snapped up by protesters who planned to pack the house with empty seats.
The population of Burlington is just over 40,000.
The Trump campaign refused to cooperate with city officials regarding public safety and at one point prior to the event, refused to answer or return calls from the Chief of Police.
The city is sending him a bill for the overtime he cost the city because he and his staff refused to behave with any respect for safety. It is not expected that he will pay it.
The Flynn theater management has complained that he broke the contract with them concerning the event. I do not have any particulars on this.
The trump campaign complained that the Flynn management was a bunch of liberals.
Seating the theater took more than three hours, because each entrant was screened for his or her support of The Donald. Protesters quickly figured they had to fake their support in order to get in. Enough protesters snuck through so that Trump’s speech was continually disrupted.
The speech began thirty minutes late, according to news sources.If so, Trump must have begun speaking before all seats were filled, because they were still taking people in when I left an hour after the scheduled start.
One news article suggested Trump was joking when he told security guards to confiscate the coat of a protester being led outside into subzero (Celsius) weather. I saw the video. He was not joking.
One news and commentary show played a series of interviews with Trump supporters, not one of whom was actually from Burlington. Most were not even from Vermont.
People around me during the protest said they had seen buses of Trump supporters from other places unloading down the block.
I saw only three signs supporting Trump. In contrast, we had at least a hundred signs at the barricade and more further back. We also had drums and a brass band, several megaphones, continual chanting, and lots of cheering.
Among the most popular chants were “Hey hey ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” and “Take your hate outta our state!” The signs were also clever. “I can’t believe I’m still protesting this crap!” carried by an old man, and “Bovines for a Bloviator,” were two of my favorites.
There were no reports of anybody being beat up.
No fights broke out. This is Vermont.
I had so much fun that I can only hope we are not reliving 1933 Germany in our own uniquely American way. It can’t happen here, right?
[Kathleen Bachus is a retired Texas criminal defense trial lawyer now living in Burlington, Vermont, USA. She is an “Expert” panelist with the Institute of International Relations (Geneva, Switzerland)]