In an era becoming increasingly overcome by spiteful, hateful and malicious political rhetoric, the placidity of the crowd at the Hillary Clinton campaign rally in Immokalee on Tuesday, Nov. 1 was a nice reminder that there can still be political discourse without ad hominem attacks.
Feeling oddly like fall, the almost un–Florida-like venue seemed as if it was from a Hollywood movie — the tall, white wooden house sitting next to two old wooden barns behind the podium, the pumpkin patches and tractors out in the field.
The event consisted of five speakers with the premier and final speaker being the 42nd president of the United States and potential First Gentleman, Bill Clinton.
“The difference between our two campaigns is that we want them to be a part of our America,” Bill Clinton said to the crowd.
The former president then proceeded to point to Donald Trump’s repeated divisive, marginalizing rhetoric as the only leg the candidate has to stand on.
As a journalist, at the top of the long list of questions I have for the Donald and his “best words,” is why continue to not only distrust but threaten the free press?
If you haven’t been paying attention to the presidential race recently — probably because you’re fed up with it already like most people — after polls showed him losing, Trump has re-fused to accept the voice of the American people this November, claiming the election is “rigged” due to media bias.
Several of my colleagues have shared their experiences of being booed, mocked and in-timidated at Trump rallies as members of the press. Despite seeing similar videos surface on social media, it saddens me when things like this hit home.
What really confuses me is that Trump has repeatedly admitted to saying outlandish things in attempt to get media coverage, but then, he complains and whines when the coverage isn’t in his favor. What perplexes me isn’t why the Donald is whining; it’s why are people buying this.
Searching for an answer, I remembered something I had watched awhile ago. In the movie “The American President,” Lewis Rothschild, President Andrew Shepard’s opponent suggests the analogy that the American people are so thirsty they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.
President Shepard’s response is that people don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.
In all honesty, the Clinton rally in Immokalee being my first real political field coverage was intimidating, especially with the clips I had seen from the Trump rallies.
To my surprise, as I slung my camera around my neck — standing up on the press stands to snap my first pictures of the crowd flocking in — the nearby group of women in the crowd started chanting, “We love the press.”
I was taken aback. I pulled my head away from my viewfinder and gave them a thumbs up. They proceeded to cheer, inciting a larger applause from the people flooding in around them.
There were only two interruptions throughout the event: a lone protestor removed his top layer to unveil a plain white shirt with black writing that read, “Bill Clinton is a rapist,” while he yelled the same thing, and a woman challenged the former president on his remarks about the Affordable Care Act.
The first was handled quickly, as the man was apprehended and escorted out. But, strangely, Clinton asked everyone to applaud the man, to not just drown out what he was yelling but to show that the Democrats are different from their opponents.
With cheers for successful policy instead of yells to “lock her up,” it seems one of our two major parties is heading toward progress and, the other, stagnation.