This post has been bouncing around the internet, so you may have seen it. But it is worth noting: “After Attending a Trump Rally, I Now Know Democrats Have No Shot in 2020.” The author is a member of the knitting community–yes, there is such a thing.
You might not think of the knitting world as a particularly political community, but you’d be wrong. Many knitters are particularly active in social justice communities and love to discuss the revolutionary role knitters have played in our culture. I started noticing this about a year ago, particularly on Instagram. [I]t was impossible to ignore after roving gangs of online social justice warriors started going after anyone in the knitting community who was not lockstep in their ideology.
The author, Karlyn Borysenko, writes that she considered all Trump voters to be “racists.” But seeing the hate within the left-wing knitting community caused her to question her assumptions:
I started to question everything. How many stories had I been sold that weren’t true? What if my perception of the other side is wrong? How is it possible that half the country is overtly racist? Is it possible that Trump derangement syndrome is a real thing, and had I been suffering from it for the past three years?
And the biggest question of all was this: Did I hate Trump so much that I wanted to see my country fail just to spite him and everyone who voted for him?
The answer to that question, for pretty much every member of the Democratic Party, is Yes.
Ultimately, Ms. Borysenko’s disquiet led her to attend President Trump’s New Hampshire rally the evening before that state’s primary:
In chatting with the folks at the [MSNBC] taping, I casually said that I was thinking about going over to the Trump rally. The first reaction they had was a genuine fear for my safety. I had never seen people I didn’t know so passionately urge me to avoid all those people. One woman told me that those people were the lowest of the low. Another man told me that he had gone to one of Trump’s rallies in the past and had been the target of harassment by large muscle-bound men. Another woman offered me her pepper spray. I assured them all that I thought I would be fine and that I would get the heck out of dodge if I got nervous.
What they didn’t know is that they weren’t the only ones I had heard from who were afraid. Some of my more right-leaning friends online expressed genuine fear at my going, but not because they were afraid of the attendees. They were afraid of people on the left violently attacking attendees. This was one day after a man had run his car through a Republican voter registration tent in Florida, and there was a genuine fear that there would be a repeat, or that antifa would bus people up from Boston for it. Just as I had assured those on the left, I told them I thought I would be fine….
She was, of course, fine. What did she see at the Trump rally?
As I waited, I chatted with the folks around me. And contrary to all the fears expressed, they were so nice. I was not harassed or intimidated, and I was never in fear of my safety even for a moment. These were average, everyday people. They were veterans, schoolteachers, and small business owners who had come from all over the place for the thrill of attending this rally. They were upbeat and excited. In chatting, I even let it slip that I was a Democrat. The reaction: “Good for you! Welcome!”
Once we got inside, the atmosphere was jubilant. It was more like attending a rock concert than a political rally. People were genuinely enjoying themselves. Some were even dancing to music being played over the loudspeakers. It was so different than any other political event I had ever attended. Even the energy around Barack Obama in 2008 didn’t feel like this.
I had attended an event with all the Democratic contenders just two days prior in exactly the same arena, and the contrast was stark. First, Trump completely filled the arena all the way up to the top. Even with every major Democratic candidate in attendance the other night, and the campaigns giving away free tickets, the Democrats did not do that. With Trump, every single person was unified around a singular goal. With the Democrats, the audience booed over candidates they didn’t like and got into literal shouting matches with each other. With Trump, there was a genuinely optimistic view of the future. With the Democrats, it was doom and gloom. With Trump, there was a genuine feeling of pride of being an American. With the Democrats, they emphasized that the country was a racist place from top to bottom.
That is a pretty good on-the-spot window into American politics, circa February 2020. If the knitting community is starting to wobble, who knows what might happen next?