Election 2020 is a choice between the America of the Founding and an America beset with guilt.
The Million MAGA March
A report from the ground.
This weekend, vast crowds of President Trump’s supporters gathered peaceably in Washington, D.C. to call for a fair and accurate investigation into this ongoing election. Though Twitter clips of Antifa and BLM violence have been circulating, and though aerial shots of the group’s sheer size have abounded, there has been little coverage of the march itself from the ground—the spirit, character, and behavior of its many participants. Claremont Senior Fellow Chris Flannery here brings us a report of the Million MAGA March as it really was, and its stakes for all involved—Eds.
Welcome, and thanks for subscribing to the Roundup, where you'll receive our summary of The American Mind every week in your inbox. We're looking forward to bringing you the best writing and commentary on the ideas that drive the debate in this pivotal time for our nation.
Freedom Plaza to the Supreme Court
Saturday November 14, 2020
My much better half attended the Million MAGA March yesterday. I posted some of her pictures on Facebook. What follows is taken from her reports to me throughout the day.
A few minutes before four in the morning, in a large strip mall parking lot on the outskirts of Canton, Ohio: The Bikers for Trump bus was filling up fast—families, couples, and individuals, men, women, and children, settling into their seats, sipping their coffee, full of the energy of early morning and the adventure of the day. They were setting out for the six-hour ride to Washington, D.C. to join yet-unknown numbers of other patriots from who knows where for the Million MAGA March Rally.
A tatted up, good-looking, manly young biker in leathers stepped onto the bus as it was about to depart and introduced himself as “Renegade,” the founder of the local biker club, “Defenders of Liberty.” More of his guys would be meeting up with the bus on the road. He asked if he could lead the passengers in prayer. They enthusiastically joined him.
As the bus made its way through eastern Ohio and on into western Pennsylvania, several other buses and vehicles joined the caravan, all arriving in D.C. around 11 a.m., in backed up traffic, on a sunny, blue-sky day.
At the first sight of the Washington Monument, then the Lincoln Memorial, it became clear that many on the bus had never been to the nation’s capital before; those who had were just as moved by the beauty and rich history all around.
Near the Lincoln Memorial, bus after bus delivering individuals and groups of people from all over America. Every shape, size, color, and class. Nearly all wearing red, white, and blue and many carrying American flags. Streets around the White House and Mall were closed, so groups walked through the empty streets together. Couples, families, and individuals who had traveled by car, taxi, or on foot were walking along unsure of where to go or how things worked (most admittedly had never attended such an event). As they merged, they were eagerly welcomed into the larger contingent of folks with “good morning!” and “Where are you from?” and “Isn’t it a beautiful day?” Enthusiasm grew as the size of the groups grew. Police officers on foot, on bikes, in vehicles began to be seen here and there at street corners and crosswalks. “Thank you, officer!” and “Thank you for your service!” and “God bless you, officer!” were heard at every sight of law enforcement.
Then rounding a corner near Lafayette Square, one after another, folks grew silent as they came upon the sickening sight of the boarded-up buildings. Just beyond, the road was blocked with bicyclists dressed all in black followed by a large crowd on foot also dressed in black. They looked just like the BLM-Antifa terrorists you see burning cities on TV. They shouted with raised fists: “F— you!” and “Go Home!” and “Racists!” Police by the dozens moved forward to contain the BLM-Antifa mob so that those who wanted no trouble could pass by. Parents picked up their children. Men looked to position themselves to protect the vulnerable around them. It was an abrupt reminder of the violence and chaos that have reigned in America’s city streets these past months. From there the walk to Freedom Plaza was lined with policemen and -women. Slowly the crowds of patriots regained the good spirit of the morning as they moved into Freedom Plaza where what looked like some tens of thousands of their countrymen were already gathered.
Everyone was cheerful: smiling, laughing, and nodding to each other, giving one another thumbs up. All walks of life. All Americans that love their country. Hats were taken off and hands placed on hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the National Anthem. On the periphery some bad actors were always lurking (largely restrained by police presence), but here in Freedom Plaza the growing thousands became carefree, children ran and played, the elderly were given seats to rest, and everyone did his best to make those around him feel at home. All kinds of people from all over the country were gathered for what resembled a community Independence Day celebration. Maybe most striking, next to the shared love of country, was how kind, polite, and respectful the crowd of (what I am sure became I don’t know how many) hundreds of thousands was—all day long. “Excuse me.” “Pardon me.” “Mam, you dropped this.” “Please, go ahead.” “Can I help you with that?” “I see you are a veteran; thank you for serving our country.”
At some point in the afternoon, a group of men, identifiable by their black and gold clothing, made their way through the larger crowd. Most seemed to be seeing for the first time what they had only heard about in confused ways on the news: the Proud Boys. These men proceeded with the same politeness as those around them—“Excuse mes” and “thank yous.” At one point a couple of the men noticed an elderly woman in a wheelchair trying to get through the crowd. They hollered in unison, “Make a hole!” And a hole was immediately made for the grateful woman.
Speakers talked of love of country, love of God, and love of freedom; and of election integrity and defunding the media. Prayers were offered all day long privately and publicly.
The gathering at Freedom Plaza concluded with music and cheers and the hundreds of thousands of patriots began the march (which was a great deal like a 4th of July parade) to the Supreme Court.
As the gathering moved along Pennsylvania Avenue and up Constitution Avenue, attendees could finally get a glimpse of just how many of their fellow patriots had joined in the day’s festivities. Chants of “USA!” and “We don’t riot!” and “Stop the Steal” rang out. But mostly it was just a smiling, laughing, giddy mass of people grateful to see that so many others love their country too. A joyful procession. Most had never participated in anything like it. All agreed the country is in crisis and the American way of life is in jeopardy.
Along the march, folks continued to show their appreciation of law enforcement lining the route, with personal expressions of gratitude and public chants of “We back the Blue!”
More speakers at the Supreme Court. Families with kids walking and in strollers. It looked and felt very much like a church picnic all along First Street and on the Capitol Grounds: kids running around, folks sitting in the grass chatting, listening to speakers, meeting others from other parts of the country.
Always on the periphery, BLM and Antifa thugs lurked. A police perimeter protected the people in the rally. The Proud Boys also positioned themselves in a protective position on the outskirts of the rally.
Vernon Jones was the last speaker, and he was great. He captivated the crowd. He opened up by saying (in close paraphrase), “I’m the last—not because I’m black [uproarious laughter from the crowd]! But because I’m fired up and I’m here to fire you up!” And he did. Things wrapped up and folks in very good humor began making their way back to their homes, hotels, trains, buses, and vehicles. Friendly exchanges with police officers. Strangers exclaiming, “What a day!”
Then, with sunset coming on, a growing noise was heard. It didn’t sound like anything that had been heard throughout the day’s celebration. A large group of BLM-Antifa thugs marching and chanting “Kill the Pigs!”
On the bus heading home, viewers watched over livestream on cell phones as BLM-Antifa evil took over Washington, D.C., preying on, among others, kids, families, the disabled, and the elderly.
That’s the report. Here is the editorial: This is what is at stake in this election. The rule of these patriots or the rule of BLM-Antifa’s anti-American terror with the indispensable support of the Democratic Party. America is choosing.