And we found a place on one side of the bridge that goes over Newport Harbor and takes you onto the Newport Peninsula.
Little did I know that it would be a major wildlife crossing for that most dangerous of animals — the Trump fanatic — for over two hours as they made their way toward Lido Isle.
So what kind of species behaviors did we see? I’ll tell you.
- The toxic male — One guy for no reason starts spouting off expletives like they’re going out of style, yelling at us, while mothers with strollers walked behind him. Another guy kept video recording us closer than 3 feet at times, walking the line like we’re some specimen of human he had never encountered before, again using expletives this time directed at Biden. BTW, at this point we were doing nothing but holding signs that were fairly tame in nature. Political more than personal. Next time he tried this one of the younger, burlier guys on our side used his mini-bullhorn and starts a “Two more weeks!” chant and followed him until he went away. This kind of menacing, direct harassment ended when younger, bigger dudes on our side arrived.
- The Covid denialist — Early on a young doctor arrived who had been jogging around the area (wearing a mask btw). Funny thing is, he didn’t know Trump was coming to Newport until 20 minutes into his stay. After learning that, he literally said several times, “I hope we don’t get shot.” We gave him a sign and he stayed the entire time, mostly pleading with the Trumpers to wear a mask with a friendly ‘Vote Joe!’ attached to it. Reaction was sometimes visceral. One guy turned and “pretend” coughed on him (which is likely as dangerous as a real one), while one white-haired lady turned around and spit, saying, “Sunlight kills it!”. The doctor would often yell nicely back, “I’m a doctor and I don’t want to see you at the hospital!” The good doctor also let me know that Trump is far from out of the woods with Covid. He said he saw many young people suffer serious, lasting health impacts after getting it. He also said he only treated patients in the ICU with regeneron and no one knows its lasting impact either.
- The toxic females — Several women wanted to get in shouting matches with our group, usually other women, and did. A few would claim their support for Trump was all about saving the fetuses but it never rang true. One gal with a huge pickup truck drove slowly by and then released a giant plume of backfire smoke. Fun folk.
- Law and order hypocrites — Many, many Trumpers broke laws right and left, some endangering themselves or others. The worst offenders were the parents who let their kid stand up through the moon roof and video-record us as they drove by. BTW, the cops had the most difficult time getting the Trumper side — which had assembled across the bridge at this point -- to follow basic requests and stay on the sidewalk.
- Family values hypocrites — Surprising how many moms and dads snarled epithets with kids in tow as they walked by. Also surprising how many families in cars stuck in traffic would flip the bird at our group, including dad, mom and the kids. Family fun for everyone!
- The banner people — If the election was going to be decided on the number and size of banners, Trump would win hands down. There were huge Trump banners on cars coming over the bridge and on Pacific Coast Highway, usually with the US flag almost as big. But we know banners ain’t winning this election.
- The less obnoxious ones — There were many who simply walked past us without saying a word. Some were hard to read but others, all decked out with their Trump regalia, seemed more to me like they were going to see a favorite entertainer rather than a politician. Made me think that maybe Trump’s attraction is that he’s a “comic” who works “blue” — except politically --- and that makes them feel like they’re being “naughty” by liking him. And some looked afraid of us — the dreaded ‘libruhls’ they have heard so much about but have never interacted with.
- The not-so-true believers — I felt there was some element of the Trumper crowd — the occasional wife or teenager — who took a longer look at some of our signs than the others. Mine was “RESTORE AMERICA — VOTE BIDEN/HARRIS” and I think it made some of them experience some cognitive dissonance. Restore America? Isn’t that what Trump is doing? Why would we need to ‘restore’ anything unless someone destroyed it? Oh…
While a bit more dangerous than I had anticipated, I think it was well worth it to attend. I think it’s important to show Trumpers there are others in this world who live outside the Fox bubble who don’t find their president all goodness and light. And I think we eventually shut down some of the bullies in their crowd by showing that we can and will stand up to them. In the end, a few of the Trumpers on other side of the bridge called to us that we could still come to their side, and we acknowledged the same for them. So that was at least one good moment of American decency and humor.
Another good moment was when Trump’s motorcade approached the bridge from our side first and, to a person and completely spontaneously, the entire assembly flipped him the bird. He ended up driving up on the Trumper’s side of the bridge to bask in their adulation, but he couldn’t have missed our welcome to the new OC if he tried.