AFTER THE RALLY – One woman’s perspective

I cupped my hands over my eyes and pushed down against my eyebrows, and for a few seconds, the throbbing in my head seemed better. The crowd of Republican protesters had been screaming since just after lunch when John and I had lined up to get into the ‘No on the Recall Rally’ in Long Beach. The atmosphere inside the arena had been upbeat and positive. The air in the parking lot outside the arena crackled with something less festive.

It was now nine p.m. President Biden and Governor Newsom had wrapped up our event to thunderous applause, and now I was sitting on a bus bench waiting for John to make his way from the parking structure three blocks away, through the barricades to drive me home. Hundreds of happy, masked Democrats raced around and through the angry, bare-faced throng, on their way to their own cars. We all tried not to flinch as the insults came hurtling at us, fast and very furious.

“Look at all these loser sheeple wearing their masks! Baaaaa!” Sheep noises were heard all through the parking lot. “You’re all f-ing pedophiles!” a tall, heavy-set man yelled into a microphone. He was standing on the back of a pick-up truck that had been decorated with Confederate flags and Trump banners. About 200 other likeminded citizens stood around him, waving flags and signs, and shouting obscenities at the top of their lungs. “Biden f-cks little girls! Newson sucks cocks! F-ing commies, all of you!” Police SUVs lined the street and circled the protesters. An officer with a German Shepherd walked the perimeter. The dog was busy sniffing every bag, so I made sure not to distract him when he snorted in my direction. I whispered, “Good boy!” into my mask.

Within half an hour, most of the other rally goers had left the area, but since I was still recovering from a broken leg, I remained planted on that bus bench. A group of about twenty Trumpers spotted me and came over.

“Baaaa!!! Hey, commie, how does it feel to be a racist pedophile?!” one woman asked.  Her laughing friend danced in front of me with a sign that read, “Fake President! Real POS!” A sweaty man in bicycle shorts carrying a huge Trump flag waved it over my head, dragging it through my hair. I took out my phone and pretended to read my emails. They moved in closer, and I broke into a sweat.

Without warning, a snort, followed by a growl came up from behind me. My German Shepherd buddy had circled back and stood at my side, his teeth barred at the mask-less, jeering people around me.

“Everybody, keep moving, let’s go,” his officer companion said. He turned to me. “You okay, ma’am?”

“Fine now, thank you, officer.” I took my mask down and smiled at the dog. “Good boy!” I said.

Mary Garripoli

Los Angeles, CA

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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