Cosplay in the Park

WARNING! Here there be politics.

MAGAintheparkSo, yesterday I went to the “MAGA in the Park” rally here in Phoenix. First, some background.

I didn’t vote for Trump; I voted for Evan McMullin. Not an especially arduous decision, since California was pretty much a slam dunk for Clinton. But, at least I got to follow my conscience.

Yes, Trump’s remarks about women bugged me, although I was far more disturbed by his remark about finding his daughter attractive and his being married to someone 24 years younger than he is than I was about the business about grabbing women by their intimate parts. The latter always struck me more as a commentary on the lack of self respect found in women who are selling themselves based on their looks than as a recommendation for actual behavior. An important discussion, actually, but if events and businesses where women are judged, sold, paraded, rewarded or punished based on looks are that sad and creepy, why did Trump hang around that world so much? Anyway, he seems to be wiping that particular shit off his shoes before walking into the White House, so I’m not terribly worried about it. Unlike Schwarzenegger, who is clearly guilty of felony sexual violence, I don’t think Trump’s done anything to or with anyone who wasn’t a willing participant, even if they were there trying to score fame and/or fortune. You can’t convict someone of prostitution when they’re trading in “exposure” (ha) and “opportunity.” It’s an ugly, pathetic world, but no one’s making them live in it.

Anyway, I didn’t expect much when Trump was elected. Less dangerous to individual liberty than Clinton, yes, but we’d likely see just another administration filled with empty events and grandstanding. Then I noticed that a lot of things I’d been hoping to see happen for decades were finally starting to take shape, re. jobs, supporting businesses, the economy, civil rights. The guy really was going to work every morning, not just grandstanding or playing games. And, it turns out, even the Twitter gymnastics a la “Rocket Man” were tactical maneuvers. (Bullies hate to be shamed.) So, yeah, I guess I’ll vote for Trump in 2020. I wouldn’t particularly want to have lunch with him, but a vote, what the hell…

Meanwhile, back in the park. Short version, it felt more like a right wing Comic Con than a political discussion. I did pick up a signed copy of A Patriot’s History of the United States, but otherwise, the day was a bit irritating.

Yeah, the Antifa cowards showed up in their toy ninja suits, which everyone expected. There was plenty of fire power around, amateur and sworn, so they left after exchanging screams rather than blows with their right wing corrolaries in the MAGA hats. I’m not supposed to say that, as arguments go, the two sides are equally silly, of course, but I didn’t hear anything reasonable or compelling from either side.

This loud “debate” took place next to the sidewalk, adjacent a boundary marked off with red & white striped tape, little American flags, and armed people in uniform — pro law enforcement in Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department polo shirts and the amateurs (with whom the Sheriff’s staff were amicably chatting) in full forest camouflage. (Despite the Southern Poverty Law Center’s calling them “anti-government,” groups like Oath Keepers are fiercely dedicated to solely legal activity, and are made up primarily of ex- or retired law enforcement and military.)

One of the most childish of the screamers was uploading videos to YouTube, and I was watching some of his stuff at home before heading down. It was immediately obvious he was using the event as an excuse to insult and abuse people, especially women. You can’t call a left-wing fat woman a “heifer” without that insult including all fat women. That insult is about misogyny, not politics. Ditto for the guy wearing the t-shirt with a cartoon of Trump on a motorcycle, with Hillary Clinton falling off the back. Trump in the cartoon was himself wearing a shirt that read “If you can read this, the bitch fell off.” Yeah, sure, Conservatism doesn’t have a sexism problem. There’s difference between open debate and thinking you have a license to act like a bullying brat. And, by the way, how is “heifer” somehow more acceptable than calling someone “racist” or “XYZphobic” or any of those other terms that get loud, Right Wing men so “triggered?”

And, most importantly, what are Conservative women supposed to do with guys like this — and the men who are worse? Does Conservatism have room for Mona Charen? (I don’t think her equating Trump with Moore is accurate, but that’s no reason to boo her out of CPAC.)

And, what if you are not 100%, toe-the-line “Conservative?” What if you know of ways the world needs to be changed, but believe it’s best to make that change in ways that honor individual liberty? Where do we belong?

The good news is, most of the people there were not screaming, at anyone. Most of the people there were determined to keep the peace and to treat others with respect. I’m reminding myself that their silence is far more important that anything I might have heard screamed over the fence.

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