It’s June 19, and my wife and I are on high alert. Why? We have family in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who live, work and own businesses not far from the places where politically charged events are scheduled today and tomorrow. My daughter there tells me that I am lucky to be safe and in the “cheap seats” when it comes to all this. She’s correct. This isn’t Tulsa, but just suppose …
It’s late June, and we get word that there will be a presidential campaign rally right here in Egg Harbor, in one of our parks. A number of public officials invited the campaign here, arguing that it would put the candidate in front of active retirees in a swing state. The campaign accepted the invitation. A number of originally opposed public officials who were in a position to say no bend to power. The date is set – July 3 – but then it’s changed to July 5 to avoid conflicts with the holiday celebration.
As the day approaches, rumors begin to spread. The demand for rooms in the county has never been higher. Everything is booked. Ads appear offering hundreds of dollars to regular visitors who would allow the use of their rooms or campsites, even if just for a night. A number of civic and religious leaders – both for and against the candidate – plan to attend and hold their own events before or during the main rally. Some extremists also plan to attend, including several citizen militia groups. We see interviews with business owners expressing concern about damage to property if things get out of hand. We worry.
We think, why here? This is not Door. This could be dangerous. How can we stop this? We learn that only the organizers can, but apparently the candidate wants it and needs it.
Against this, we have no immediate power. That is, until November.
That’s what it’s like to be in a community put at risk by powerful interests. That’s what it’s like to be in the “not cheap seats.”
Egg Harbor, Wisconsin