At the crossroads near the convention center where President Trump was arranged to hold a campaign rally where two vendors hawked products with emulating messages.On one side of street two men sold Make America Great Again” caps for $20 and T-shirts featuring Trump’s beloved red-splattered electoral map, along with this message: “Better coverage than Verizon. Can you hear us now?”
On the other side of the street, volunteers collected donations for stickers, buttons and signs with messages such as: “Make racists afraid again,” “White silence is compliance,” “Goodnight alt-right,” “No border wall,” “Punch your local Nazi” and “Resist!”
The event was due after three hours, but the rally goers and protestors stationed themselves on either side of the road. They were pretty sure to which side they belonged. They exchanged allegations of being unaware and propagandized, of being tendered cash to be there, of being hateful, or being on the wrong side of history.
Some wanted to get involved in discussions, but those often deputed into screaming positions over and over again as both sides recorded video of the exchange. Resident police officers in casual polo shirts acted as a barrier. The political and racial divides that have taken roots across the country in recent weeks were being played out on the city’s downtown streets.
Close by the Rev. Michael Weldon was perched on the steps of St. Mary’s Basilica in brown robe. He was praying silently: Where there is hatred, let me sow love. He said that he could hear anger in people’s voices.