Living in a Political Cartoon

When I heard that President Donald Trump would be visiting Minneapolis, I was immediately excited. There’s something etched deep into my genetics that craves chaos and conflict, and those DNA strands were going nuts.

People were talking. The mayor issued a statement saying that he wasn’t welcome in the city. My friends ordered seats at the rally with no intent of showing up so the stands would seem emptier. Professors were talking about it in class. Now people were making signs… 

I hadn’t been so excited since someone brought Cheez-Its to snacktime in elementary school.

It sounds bad that I was excited, so let me explain. 

Our generation has the weird coping mechanism where, whenever we are faced with an insurmountable problem, we laugh and make memes about it. I was in a similar mindset at this point. I knew deep down that no matter what happened, my presence would go virtually unnoticed. So I relied entirely on the idea of relishing in the bedlam and pandemonium that would doubtlessly be present. 

I wasn’t disappointed. Riding the train to Target Field, sign wielding folks clamored with indignation, sharing stories about the negative ways their lives had been affected by the Trump administration. 

The weather matched the mood. Sullen grey skies whorled behind the backdrop of the Minneapolis skyline, churning turbulently like the crowd gathering beneath it.

I stepped off the train and was met with the largest number of police officers I’ve ever seen in my life. They were almost comical, lined up like dominoes, holding their little bikes in front of them. I was inexplicably reminded of the droid army from Star Wars Episode I. 

I immediately noticed the uncomfortable set up of the protest. It was facing a massive wall of windows on the side of the Target Center. Inside, red hat-wearing denizens waited in a long line to enter the stadium. They all looked down on the protestors, some laughing, some shaking their heads in apparent disappointment. 

This only aggravated the protestors further. They chanted and shook their fists. Behind the glass, middle fingers were raised, and one fully grown man was doing the “Take the L” dance from Fortnite.

The glass wall reminded me of a zoo exhibition, but I couldn’t tell who were the spectators, and who were the animals in the cage.

I felt like that gif of Michael Jackson eating popcorn in Thriller. 

I know this is a serious issue. I really do. And I agree with the protestors, but there was something deeply saddening to see the current American political climate in such vivid manifestation. 

The next morning, one of my friends that I had gone to the protest with wasn’t in class, so I texted her to see what was up.

Apparently, later on that night, after I had left, things got out of hand. A neo-nazi had ran through the crowd, pushing people over. My friend was just helping people up when the cops pulled out the mace on the entire crowd. She said it hurt like hell.

I remembered at one point during the protest, everything had turned black and white. Peoples eyes bulged as their heads grew and their legs shrank. Suddenly I was standing in the middle of a political cartoon in the Star Tribune, and I couldn’t get out.