FALMOUTH – About 15 people stood on the Falmouth Village Green opposing President Trump and calling for his impeachment at their weekly rally on Saturday.
This group, many of these same people, have been doing this for 116 weeks, said Paul Rifkin. Some weeks there are more than others, he said. In August, U.S. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) of “the squad” joined the group.
Cape Cod Wave attended most of Saturday’s one-hour rally and talked to a handful of supporters. As cars drove by, there were beeps, thumbs up, and middle fingers.
By our amateur observation of cars driving by, there was a large majority positive reaction to the demonstrators.
We saw a van drive by with a wooden sheet-board hand-painted Trump Make America Great Again sign attached to the top.
“He drives by every week,” said Rifkin.
A group of citizens concerned about the direction that President Trump was taking the country began this weekly vigil in August, 2017, said Rifkin.
On Saturday, they held handmade signs, smiled and waved, while chatting with each other as if they had known each other 116 weeks.
I feel very strongly about what’s going on in the country and I am happy to be at this protest,” said Joyce A. Johnson of Falmouth. “It’s really important to be out here.”
Richard Latimer of Falmouth said, “We want to keep the focus on the obnoxious behavior of the Trump administration.”
“We are showing a physical presence,” said Rifkin. “Congress won’t listen until people get out in the streets.”
Rifkin cited demonstrations around the world, such as those in Hong Kong, as the type of demonstrations that need to start happening in America.
“The only way Congress is going to listen is if there’s millions of people out here in the fucking streets,” said Rifkin.
Earle Barnhart of Falmouth said, “I would like to see Trump impeached as soon as possible. We would like the public to know that there are people here who are strongly opposed to him.”
And Hilde Maingay of Falmouth said, “We will keep gathering here until he’s out.”
Cheryl Keown of Bourne explained her attendance at this and previous rallies as being sort of for the same reason as she votes.
“Your one vote, you know, arithmetically, it doesn’t count,” she said. But there is a zeitgeist in the air when you vote. Everybody else I know, through my essence, knows I voted. When I come here as one person in a small group, it is noticed by those driving by.”
In interviews with a handful of those who attended, two specific points were emphasized – Trump’s lack of character, and his disregard for the Constitution.
Although the litany of specific policies, words and actions by the President that offended them was long, we asked them to sum up their concerns.
“I became aware of the character of Trump before the election and I became aware of the danger that he represents to the survival of our planet,” said Rifkin.
“The obvious lack of morality and decency that he presents 24 hours a day. I feel like he’s an existential threat. A cancer that needs to be excised and removed from our body politic,” said Rifkin.
“Look at what kind of people he has surrounded himself with his whole life,” said Maingay. “He has divided people. He has cheated people.”
“He’s just in it for his own satisfaction. He’s not for the people,” said Johnson. “He’s out there spewing his poison. He’s doing bad things to this country and the whole world.”
Trump only does things that are beneficial to Trump, said Latimer. “I’m more concerned that he’s a puppet of Vladimir Putin,” he said.
Latimer summarized his thoughts on Trump’s relationship with Putin this way: “Giving aid and comfort to our enemies is treason,” he said.
Jane Husebo of Falmouth called Trump’s presidency “such an assault on our democracy.”
She cited “his whole policy of removing families and putting children in, essentially, a concrete cages,” as one thing that is particularly upsetting.
And, she said of Trump, “He wants to be strong, but in the sense of totalitarianism. He has a very narrow view of who should have rights in our country. Just whites and big business,” she said.
When asked about the lack of discourse, and what can be done, one particular incident was raised over and over, what they call “the snowplow incident.”
In February, during one of their weekly vigils, a snowplow driver subcontracted to plow for the town of Falmouth drove his snowplow past the demonstrators, lowering the blade and spraying them with snow, ice and water. Ten minutes later he did it again.
In June, the driver admitted sufficient facts to a charge of disorderly conduct. He lost his job with the town.
“I dropped out after the snowplow incident,” said Keown. She recently started coming again, she said.
Latimer said he didn’t mind drivers going by and giving him the finger. “It doesn’t bother me if someone shows off their single digit IQ.
When they drive a snowplow at me, that’s different,” he said.
The incident was a display of “the anger their president has fomented,” he said.
Beyond that incident, Cape Cod Wave asked about what Trump supporters said on Thursday at a rally in Hyannis: that divisions in the country are caused mostly, if not all, by liberals and the media.
“They are just deflecting from the root of the issue that is the president is a monster,” said Rifkin. “They either can’t see or they can’t understand.”
And Maingay said, “That’s exactly what Trump has changed. It’s always the other person. He never does anything wrong,” she said.
As for his supporters, she said, “They don’t want to get along. They only think of themselves.”
Keown said, “I believe in the two party system. That has lost its way with many Republicans. It used to be conservative politics are different than mine, but let’s talk. But now there is disrespect as a result of his behavior. People need to be not so condescending.”
Latimer said, “If you support a president whose attorney general put kids in cages, I don’t know what to say to you.”
Trump supporters, he said, “are from another planet.” Talking to them, said Latimer, “is like talking to martians.”
While there was not a lot of optimism about trajectory of the discourse, Husevo said, “It’s not irreversible.”
It was raised more than once by people at the rally: What if Trump is impeached and even convicted by the Senate, or loses the election but doesn’t leave office?
“I’m not optimistic through either impeachment or elections,” said Rifkin.
Trump, said Rifkin and others, has ignored the Constitution many times already.
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