Anti-Trump Protesters Shouldn’t Be Anti-Free Speech

GOP presidential candidate and real-estate mogul Donald Trump (Peter Stevens/Flickr)

GOP presidential candidate and real-estate mogul Donald Trump (Peter Stevens/Flickr)

The billionaire GOP frontrunner Donald Trump was back in Iowa on Saturday, firing up support in the home state of the first-in-the-nation caucus on February 1.

Trump who earned the support of 27 percent of likely Republican caucus voters in Iowa, five points ahead of Ben Carson, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll— first stopped in Boone to give a rousing speech to a gathering of Trump faithful.

“If you’re illegal, you gotta go back,” Trump told a crowd of almost exclusively white Iowans attending the annual Pufferbilly Days.

Then he headed to Ames to greet hundreds of supporters at a tailgate outside Iowa State University’s Jack Trice Stadium.

From the Guardian:

They shouted for hours, tussled with protesters and then cried ‘Trump, Trump, Trump’ when they saw a helicopter they thought he might be on.

The mostly male crowd gripped beers, constantly asking when the real estate mogul and Republican frontrunner would appear. But they didn’t seem bothered by the fact he was running late.

Also waiting for Trump was a group of around 20 students, some holding a banner reading “Students Against Bigotry” while others carried signs which said, among other things, “A Vote For Trump is a Vote For White Supremacy” and “Mr. Hate Leave My State.” They were protesting the candidate’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino statements.

A blogger who attended the rally posted a few of the sights and sounds on her Tumblr:

‘We want Trump’ turns into ‘U-S-A’ turns into ‘I-S-U’
‘Send the illegals back to where they came from!’
‘This is disgusting….we had a beautiful tailgate & this…this is disgusting’
‘Hillary sucks’
Hit with beer tab
‘Trump 2016’
‘Excuse me immigrants’
‘I don’t like the girl with the sign that says you’re an immigrant too I’m not an immigrant’ – towards me

“That type of language shouldn’t be allowed,” Maria Alcivar, a graduate student, told the Ames Tribune. “Someone has to stand up and say something. We condemn his behavior.”

Around the same time that Alcivar was wishing someone would silence Trump and his supporters, a young blonde in sunglasses, presumably an ISU student, tore up a protester’s sign and walked away with a self-satisfied grin.

More from hellomissjoi:

There were a lot worse things said and done that I wasn’t able to see. It is scary that these people are the ones that I get to go to work with and sit next to in class. They are openly supporting a bigot to become the leader of this country and that is terrifying. Trump knew we were outside and didn’t want to face the protestors and waited to come out after half of us left. He finally showed up over an hour after his scheduled appearance and didn’t even stay more than a minute. It was an eye opening experience.

To Ms. Alcivar and anyone who wants to muzzle Trump and people like him, you’re crazy. Let them speak. Let the country see what kind of ignorance and hate still thrives in America — not festering under the surface as many like to describe it, but actually bubbling in plain sight. Let the voting public understand what at least a quarter of the Republican Party openly believes and supports. And let any person be ashamed should they have anything to do with such bigotry.

Plus to keep a candidate and their supporters from speaking their minds is just as offensive as what that blonde Trump supporter did on Saturday. It’s saying This is my country, not yours; only my beliefs are valid, so only my voice should be heard. That may be the kind of country Trump and his supporters are trying to resurrect, but it certainly isn’t the country I want to live in.

If the Democratic Party isn’t about broadening the definition of America, if progressives merely want their thoughts and speech authorized and all others prohibited, then they’re no better than the Trump train.

Protesters at a Trump rally at Iowa State University, September 12, 2015 (hellomissjoi/Tumblr)

Protesters at a Trump rally at Iowa State University, September 12, 2015 (hellomissjoi/Tumblr)

Concerning the student who seemed so pleased by her fascist display —if the violent suppression of dissent isn’t fascism, then I don’t know what is— she should be identified and promptly expelled from the university, lest the school give the impression it condones that sort of un-American and unconstitutional behavior. Schools, specifically places of higher learning, and especially state institutions, must maintain their role as bastions of free speech and civic participation in order to be the breeding grounds for good citizenship.

What that girl did was an affront to everything any decent university says it embodies, and Iowa State University should want nothing to do with her or anyone like her.

As for Trump, let the man speak. Better yet, give him a big stage and loud microphone. And then let anyone try to suggest we live in a post-racial America.


Hector Luis Alamo is a Chicago-based writer and the deputy editor at Latino Rebels. You can connect with him @HectorLuisAlamo.

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