Most of President Trump’s supporters, including myself, agreed with Mark Levin that the raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home was “the worst attack on this Republic in modern history. Period.”
That is one reason I joined thousands of like-minded people in Wilkes-Barre, PA this past Saturday to show support for the man who has been so unrelentingly demonized by the left that it has begun to feel like an attack on every single one of us. President Biden’s speech last Thursday night only validated that feeling.
Stalwart supporters came not only from around the Commonwealth but from across the country. It was exactly because of current events that so many of us felt overwhelmingly drawn there — and I soon realized that it would be one of the greatest, most meaningful experiences of my life.
It was like a family reunion with 12,000 strangers. We were there to merge our shared pasts, to bear our current struggles, and to advocate for a leader who is the loudest and clearest voice defending our hopes for the future.
“These are the people they are mocking,” I thought. Good, hardworking people who would give you the shirt off their backs or risk their own lives to pull you out of a burning car. Yet they are hated because they won’t apologize for adhering to the social norms that have held the fabric of our country together.
These are the folks that have maintained “the permanent things” against all odds. This T.S. Eliot phrase, popularized by Russell Kirk, kept swirling through my mind as I waited with the huddled masses. These are the people with strong convictions of justice and honor and enduring moral order that Kirk wrote about:
A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society —whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon the gratification of appetites, will be a bad society — no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be.
Many of them might not know Russell Kirk from Russell Brand, but that’s okay. If there is one thing a lifetime of reading has taught me, it is that a great many fancy words are wasted trying to describe a way of life that can be simply lived and innately felt.
Still, many of them readily talked of such favorite sources of information as American Thinker, The Federalist, and The Gateway Pundit.
The older man who sat next to me said he only knew of the conservative website The Federalist and no others because he had spent his life as a registered independent who voted Democrat…until Trump came along. “I’m still learning,” he said with a smile. A quiet man with gray hair who had driven alone, he too had felt overwhelmingly drawn here. Still bearing the Puerto Rican accent he came here with decades ago, he read medical protocols on his tablet as he waited for Trump to speak. This doctor from New Jersey was here for his second Trump rally, and he believed that it was an important one:
I am here because I want him to run! I believe he’s going to do even better this time around. Now he’s experienced; more polished. … All the things that came against him, it will be harder to make a dent against him. … They must see that everything he said has been proven true?! So many things. Look at Ukraine! And the Abraham Accords, what an accomplishment! Now we’re talking WWIII and such things. In a year and a half, the Democrats have turned the world upside-down!
When Trump came out on stage, the tablet went down, and the man’s face lit up as he listened in rapt attention for nearly two hours. At one point, he leaned over and whispered, “If you haven’t already, you must read Mollie Hemingway’s book: Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized our Elections.”
Another passionate pair I bumped into at a restaurant the night before the rally was Joe and his wife Ale from Putnam County, N.Y. Brazilians by birth and holding dual citizenship, they have lived in America for a long time. They were fans of Wendy Bell Radio, and Joe was particularly heartened to hear Trump’s recent comments regarding planned pardons for the persecuted January 6 demonstrators. “I can’t believe this is happening in America,” he said. “I mean this kind of thing happens in Brazil. The Supreme Court in Brazil is putting the right wing in jail for almost nothing. For talking on WhatsApp!” He then equated President Trump with Brazilian president Bolsonaro, saying Bolsonaro’s hands are tied now like how Trump’s were when he wanted to prosecute Hillary Clinton:
[Trump] wanted to use the proper channels to put her in jail, but they wouldn’t do it. The FBI and DOJ and others were so corrupt! If he tried to do something more they would have called him a dictator…and try to get a subpoena or do an impeachment…but they had nothing on Trump and still went after him!
Joe and Ale loved Dinesh D’Souza’s movie 2000 Mules and were disappointed that neither their favorite broadcaster, Tucker Carlson, nor their favorite network, Newsmax, would cover the movie and its findings.
I met many more of these first-generation Americans, some with shirts that read, “Latinos for Trump” and even a car that proclaimed, “Vietnamese for Trump!”
Folks expressed themselves with T-shirts, others with hats, flags, or buttons.
Among some of the best T-shirts were these:
- “I used to be a Deplorable, but now I’ve been promoted to Ultra MAGA”
- “Mean Tweets and Cheap Gas 2024”
- “Trump was right — about everything“
I saw many Trump supporters who’d had enough of the messiah/disciple attacks, as were launched on websites like Psychology Today, Christianity Today, The American Conservative, and a myriad of other places. Their answer came in simple shirts that read, “Jesus is my savior, Trump is my president.”
(Trump’s Christian supporters do not consider themselves as living in a “post-Christian” world. They are still here, thank you very much, and they don’t intend to leave quietly to pray in cloistered fear of the current ruling elite. They say they will continue to support Trump because he is not afraid to speak bluntly and fight the good fight. Those who mock as hypocrites Trump’s Christian advocates should remember that there is no white smoke that comes from a chimney when an American president is elected.)
I was struck by the fact that with everything they’ve already launched against him, including the intimate violation of raiding his home; and still anticipating the medieval siege weapons they have yet to drag through the moat in hot pursuit, Trump could still take to the stage as focused, motivated, and inspiring as he was. While the raid on Mar-a-Lago was unprecedented, Trump’s bold response in Wilkes-Barre the other night was also a pivotal moment in history.
Maybe it’s because now more than ever, it’s clear to him — and all of us — that he is fighting to protect every one of our own little Mar-a-Lagos.
Susan D. Harris can be reached at www.susandharris.com.