It was 12:30pm and Airport Rd was already lined with cars from the Michigan Ave ramp to the protest site. Protesters were already lining the street on either side, some gathering by the Trump trailer, which sported a Harley Davidson and the hits from the sixties and seventies. The larger body of the protest gathered further down the road, away from the noise, where they communicated by megaphone the chants and songs.
The protest was organized by Michigan to Believe In. They are described on their website as a coalition of grassroots activists that work in tandem with the democratic party.
The crowd was off to a rocky start. There was no consensus on if the chants should have a legato heey heey, like the roll of a snare drum, or a staccato hey! hey! like the Ramones without the guitars. Their chants were often drowned out by police repeatedly asking for the crowd to remain on the shoulder of the road: a request they gave up on by 1, when they shut Airport Rd. down entirely. By then the crowd could not be kept to the shoulder, it had grown to large.
Protesters continued to arrive all the way into the 2 o’clock hour, when the official end to the protest was announced. Cars began to pile up on the snow banks.
The grievances ranged from the proliferation by Trump of alternative facts, climate change, black lives matter, to the tragic and comical “bring Obama back!!!” sign.
The surprising appearance (to this writer and photographer) of Socialist-Libertarians was the only point of tension. Though the vast majority of protesters, and handful of Trump supporters, remained non-confrontational, one member of the Trump supporters got himself into a shouting match with the Socialist-Libertarians. An argument which he decided to end by hopping on the Trump trailer Harley, and revving the motor.
“This is a Harley Davidson, made in America, by America hands,” he shouted.
Loud though it was, the statement was not entirely true. Like many so-called “Made in America” products, Harley’s are only assembled in America. Their parts are manufactured all over the globe.
The rest of the participants kept their anger focused on Trump, shouting, “Fuck Trump!” and “Trump Lies!” over a Trump supporter attempting to frame the protest as a pro-Trump rally.
“I’m glad we could all come out and support President Trump,” he said before his words were lost in a hurricane of sound.
In attendance were members of the Washtenaw body politic, as well as gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed, all of whom offered their support for the protesters.
The man of the hour, however, was a no show.