Photos: Tom and Nadin Abbott
Video: Tom and Nadin Abbott
Video Editing: Nadin Abbott
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March 4, 2017 (San Diego) Supporters of President Donald Trump, who describe themselves as the silent majority, met in downtown San Diego. There were two events, that joined up at the Embarcadero Park The first was the March4Trump, which started at 10:00, and the other the Rally for America, that started at 12:00 at the Embarcadero. We decided to attend the second, and between both groups, we estimate the crowd anywhere from 350 to 400, but the count might be slightly higher. People came in and out of the event throughout.
There were counter-protesters as well. We counted at the height about twenty protesters who were harangued and provoked by a member of a right-wing church who held a God hates Fags sign. The organizers wish this did not happen; these people were not truly endorsed by the organizers. The group of counter-protesters carried signs, and did engage in some familiar chants, such as “No Trump, no KKK, no Fascist USA.”
Midway through the rally, they walked away and Harbor Police put some yellow tape “walling off” this section of the park.
The event proper started with the singing of the National Anthem, with a few in the crowd going to attention and saluting. Others had hands over their hearts, and there were plenty of US Flags in the audience. There were some Trump flags and a at least one “don’t tread on me.”
Brett Winterble, a radio host on KFMB, also served as the Master of Ceremonies. He started by telling the crowd that “Most of all I appreciate this living display of what makes the United States of America a great place.”
He added, “people gathering together, of different opinions, different positions, different commitments, and respecting the fact that we are all united as American people in this country.”
Winterblade pointed out that this was the difference between the United States and other places in the world, where police enforce thought, and people are not free to come together since officers “are used as weapons to crush speech.”
He told the crowd, that in the United States “they preserve our right, granted by God under the Constitution of the United States of America.”
He also said that “in the United States of America there are no red people, there are no blue people, there are we the people.” He acknowledged that people will disagree on policy, taxes and other matters, but “what makes us unique, what makes us different, is that we hash it out through words.” He asked the audience to keep those open lines of communications. However, he did acknowledge that people have lost friends on Facebook.
Dr. Gina Loudon also addressed the crowd. She started by asking how many in the crowd had come to this rally because they were paid to be at the rally? She added, “we are winning, and I am excited.”
“What a fun year, this has been,” Loudon added.
She went on to what happened last year “when all the fake news was reporting that the Republicans were so divided. There was no way, they could win in November…you showed them.”
She is a psychologist, and she said that Trump “loves women.” But that the people around him had miraculous stories. She was not planning to support, Trump, but she had a bible verse, “know them by their fruit.” His children are pretty amazing people. She also said that she was at CPAC, and where she celebrated their victory. She met the two women, from the Philippines, that make those hats. He was involved “to the shade of the colors,” Loudon said.
She also said that they did the impossible. “We really restored America. And we will make her great again.”
This theme, as well as the wall, which they chanted Mexico will pay, were a constant in the rally. There were signs as well, with MAGA, Make America Great Again.
Another one of the speakers was Agnes Gibboney, a regular at Trump rallies, and an Angel mother, meaning she lost her son at the hands of a criminal alien, who should not be in the streets. This person, according to Gibboney, was allowed back into the country, after he was deported. She is 61, a naturalized citizens and a resident of Rancho Cucamonga. Which brings me to another aspect. Some of the participants, we have no idea exactly how many, drove from beyond San Diego County, some drove a good distance within the county This included Oceanside, Escondido and Valley Center.
Gibboney started by addressing the counter protesters. She said, “I am going to speak a little bit louder because I don’t want them to overpower us. Becuase they don’t matter.” Then she added, “it is an honor being here. and being in front of you and talking with you, not to you.”
She added some of her family history. She was born in Budapest, Hungary, at the height of the Cold War. (In 1956 the Red Army entered Budapest after the Hungarian Revolution. Soviet tanks entered the city on Nov 4.) Her parents left as refugees in 1968. After a 13 year stint in Brazil as refugees, they immigrated to the United States. They had to sign a document that they would not apply for public assistance. This is not surprising since Immigrants are required to sign these documents if they fit certain criteria.
According to the conservative CATO institute, this is how eligibility works.
Citizenship. Naturalized citizens and U.S.-born children in non-citizen families are citizens. They are fully eligible for public benefits like Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), SNAP, cash assistance, and SSI, if they meet other program eligibility criteria.
Refugees and Asylees. Immigrants granted refugee or asylee status are generally eligible for public benefits if they meet program eligibility criteria.
Lawful Permanent Residents. Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) must wait at least five years before they are eligible for benefits, but states have the option of providing them earlier.11 After five years, LPRs are eligible for federal benefits if they meet the program eligibility criteria. As exceptions, LPR children have been eligible for SNAP benefits since 2003 and states have been able to restore Medicaid benefits for children and pregnant women since 2009.
Temporary/Provisional Immigrants. Temporary immigrants (e.g., work or student visa holders) are generally ineligible for public benefits, including the youth who are categorized as “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.”
Undocumented Immigrants. Undocumented immigrants are generally ineligible for the public assistance programs mentioned above.
Since her father was admitted under a job contract, they were not eligible. She became a United States Citizen years later.To her, this matters a lot.
“I am honored to say I am an American citizen.” She added, that due to their status as refugees, they were stateless when they came to the United States. She also came under Green Card status.
Her son was murdered on April 27, 2002. His murdered was an illegal alien with a long list of gang affiliations, “who was previously deported.” This person is due to be released in November of 2020. In one of the meetings that she had with President Trump she was told that after he is released from state custody, since he entered the country illegally, the Federal government can take over and prosecute in the federal system and he can be sentenced to anywhere from 10-15 years for illegal entry, as a repeat offender. “This guy should not walk amongst us.”
She is also willing to lay the first brick on that wall (they are not going to use bricks, but a fence from all media reporting.)
She described Trump as “a compassionate, kind man. Very humble” She added that he is “a very simple man.” He does not say much, and he is a good listener.
“The most momentous time for me was when he kissed my son’s poster and autographed it. For that moment, he gave my son life..”
Feras Jabro also spoke, He was at the El Cajon demonstrations after the shooting death of Alfred Olango. He referred to the incident and we are linking to a raw video of his evacuation. We witnessed it.
Jabro is also the son of two immigrant parents and he says he does not meet any of the media preconceptions. He is an immigrant and a minority.
There were more than just him, or Gibboney present at the rally.
He said about his parents, “they love every American as if they were their brother and sister. And they made it into the person I am, into the patriot I am.” He added, “I support Trump from day one.”
According to Jabro the video he took at the demonstration “exposed the radical intolerance on the left. Because if your views are not in line with theirs, then violence is the only option.”He added, “it saddened me deeply that our country could be so divided that a mob of people could viscously attack another individual,” because they disagreed with him.
But there were two other themes that were touched upon by both Jebro and another speaker. This is globalism. Both spoke about how it is time to put the country first and to fight globalism. We are seeing the rise of nationalism which we are also seeing across Europe, with BREXIT, and the US, with the election of Trump.
As we were leaving, we saw a young man, one of the counter-protesters, engaging in civil discussion with those leaving the rally. He only had one person verbally berate him, and we watched for about then minutes.
The rally had both private security, hired by the event, and Harbor Police. There were no arrests.