Before his speech, cops formed a wall outside the amphitheater as several young, mostly black men and women in keffiyeh and t-shirts with social justice slogans approached the gate. A cop explained that the campaign had identified them and asked to prevent their entire group from going inside even if they had tickets.
“They don’t want you here on the property,” the officer said, directing them to a designated protest area outside.
“So she’s black and she’s wearing something on her head and she has tickets and you’re not letting her in?” a twenty-something blond white man asked.
“Where did you hear me say that?” the officer said.
“What if I have tickets?” the man said. “I’m here to protest and I have tickets.”
“OK,” the cop said, waving him in.
“So he gets to go in?” a short woman in a red and white headscarf said.
The woman was Jasmen Rogers, 26, an activist with the Black Lives Matter Alliance of Broward County. She held up Popsicle sticks with cardboard hearts that said “Love Trumps Hate” that she said her group had planned to distribute to Trump voters inside.
“It makes me feel like we haven’t progressed much beyond the hoses and the dogs,” Rogers told reporters. “That’s the America that Trump wants to make great again.”
It’s sad that Rogers seems to actually believe this — it’s telling, too.
Rogers’s spiteful ignorance is the direct result of eight years of divide-and-conquer tactics by our own president. The thought that being kept out of a rally is akin to Jim Crow and the mob violence meted out on the civil rights protestors of 50 years ago would be laughable if it weren’t such political and cultural poison.
The mob mentality will get worse before — or if — it gets better.