Political polarization takes over the city

Natalee Stinebiser, Asst. Editor

On Sunday, Sept. 6, a Make America Great Again (MAGA) boat and vehicle parade was held at Dobbins Landing.
There, hundreds of people from inside and outside of Erie congregated to show support for their candidate of choice: Donald Trump. Of course, this was not going to happen without counter protesters coming to show their opposition.
An anti-hate rally was organized and encouraged those who did not agree with the MAGA parades to come and stand against it. I knew that I wanted to be a part of this demonstration especially in light of recent events this year.
Many opposers even came to the dock early that day to take up all the free parking so those coming in from out of town had nowhere to park.
Participants in this say, “You want to come and support this? Well, you will have to pay. Hate doesn’t park for free today.” That day, I was really able to see how polarized the two sides were and how fast people are able to stand their ground.
Around 1:30 p.m., the motor parade begun with a loud roar from all the vehicles participating, ranging from motorcycles, cars and even a bobtail truck. And at about 3 p.m., the boats approached shore, so I stood along the sidewalk with my “Love Trumps Hate” sign as I watched them approach us.
Naturally, they did not take our counter protesting lightly. We were greeted quite rudely, with people revving their motors and others shouting directly in our face. It was insane how some of the paradegoers were riled up just by me holding my sign quietly, some putting me on Facebook live and calling me “uneducated,” “government bum,” and all of the other inappropriate names under the sun.
That was quite hard for me to process. How can a complete stranger assume these things about me, especially since I was just being quiet? I can appreciate that those people were so passionate about what they believed in, as I was, but the way that it was delivered was rash.
It is disheartening that politics has become so black and white (more like blue and red) nowadays when that is not how it is supposed to work by any means. No one is truly ONLY red or ONLY blue, no matter what they may think. It is a gray area where we agree a little bit with both sides. Obviously, this will not stop me, or anyone else, from continuing to go out and protest.
The reason that I keep going out and protesting despite the hateful comments I receive is because protesting, along with voting, is our duty as American citizens.
It is a powerful way of keeping our system in check. Also, being a bystander is just as bad as performing the actual harm. It is just allowing ourselves to perpetuate a system that is flawed.
Being silent is being complicit, so it is important to speak out and show your support for whatever position you wish to take. Get out, let your voice be heard and be safe AND respectful.

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