TL;DR "My conclusion is that this whole country is a fucking joke and we need to fucking revolt before this shit gets worse."
Not going to lie, I wasn't planning on going to the rally until I heard that the baby Trump balloon was going to be there. I would've preferred to stay in my somewhat air-conditioned room and listen to updates on the radio, but hey, what better way to meet like-minded people in my new city than to go protest?
So, at around 11:00 am, I started begging my mother (I'm only 16 and literally just moved to Orlando, so I wasn't trying to go to downtown alone) to take me. She was all for it, and we ended up roping my brother into it. She ended up getting sick and so it was just me and my brother.
Our father drove us at around 4:30 or 5:00, giving us instructions the whole ride; stick together, don't pick fights, and under no circumstances should be participate in the "Black Lives Matter" chant. He was worried that it would end up being Charlottesville 2.0, and he didn't want us becoming targets.
The usually 15 to 20 minute drive from our apartment complex to the downtown area took 40 minutes. Upon arrival, I could see a wide variety of people, mainly the many police officers and the poor black people who lived in the area (who were probably wishing that everyone would leave them the fuck alone and let them go about their days). Within a few blocks, the scenery changed from seedy loan buildings and Vietnamese restaurants to a celebration of people of all different religions, colors, genders and sexualities. There was a stage with a huge transgender flag hanging from the side, and a mariachi band playing. Someone was wearing a costume of Donald Trump in a prison uniform. I really wanted to take a picture with them, but the line was too long and the crowd was too dense. Every few steps, someone would approach me and my brother and offer us a petition to sign. Sadly, I wasn't able to, considering the fact that I am a minor.
One thing that stood out to me was the immense amount of cops. For every twenty rally goers, there was one of them. Most stared ahead with blank faces. Some looked disgusted.
For about ten minutes, I got to listen to Mexican music and read people's signs, some of which being nothing more than cardboard with a Sharpie message scrawled on. Then, out of the blue, a large portion of the crowd began moving up the street. I had no idea what was going on, but after pleading with my brother, he let me go see what was happening. A few of the Trump supporters who hadn't been able to make it into the reelection campaign rally were starting shit, and the cops were already prepared. They formed a line between us and them with their bikes and they bodies.
"Us and them". That was the entire mood of the rally. They saw "us" as subhuman. We saw "them" as sociopathic bigots. It was weird. I didn't understand how someone would disagree with the statement of "love, not hate" or the concept that black people don't deserve to die.
Some of them started chanting "white power". I responded with nothing more than a "Fuck you, white trash", and was scolded by an older gentleman for my words. That same man then turned around to pick a fight with someone.
I felt a stray raindrop hit my nose, and I looked up to see if it was getting cloudy, and only then did I notice the snipers on the roof. It appeared that their were only four at a time, but occasionally one would pop up from behind the wall and another would duck down. There were around 10 or 15.
Someone yelled, "Trump is your president!" The young Hispanic man behind me said, "Yeah, like Obama was your's!"
The rest of the event wasn't too memorable compared to the looming threat of a riot from before. We listened to a Latino transgender man talk about not being able to enlist in the Navy. A Muslim woman came on stage and talked about the injustice in the middle east against Palestinians.
Sitting in the car on the way home, I tried my best to be involved in the conversation, but I was deep in thought. The rally was quite enjoyable, and I met plenty of great people, but something felt off. It didn't hit me until later that night, and this is what I realized:
At first glance, the rally was a way to stick up our middle fingers to a government that supports the oppression of minorities. It was a glittering assemblage of people of all shapes, sizes, ages and colors, telling a bigoted president that they wanted no more. But when you look past the amusing signs and Mariachi music, it's clear that the Win With Love rally was doing the same thing as what the other side was doing; making broken promises to repair a system that is far beyond saving. It was a big circle jerk of talking about how we need to change things, but not actually providing people with ways to change things. It was like a vending machine, but instead of giving candy bars and soda, it dispensed false hope and lies- for a small fee, of course.
My conclusion is that this whole country is a fucking joke and we need to fucking revolt before this shit gets worse.