Pro-Trump rally draws support and vocal opposition
Local supporters of President Donald Trump gathered on Saturday afternoon at the intersection of State Street and Las Positas Road for a Freedom Rally.
The group demonstrated in favor of the Commander in Chief, as well as local Republican candidates.
As the demonstrators waved American flags, “Trump 2020” flags, and signs with messages in support of law enforcement, the group was met with both honks of approval from passing vehicles as well as shouts of vulgarity and middle fingers raised.
The loudest responses against the rally included a man who drove past it a few times and paused to call the demonstrators “Nazis.”
He eventually made his way over to the rally on foot and shouted at the demonstrators.
Additionally, two young women walked over to the rally with signs bearing some choice four letter words directed toward police.
One of the women smacked a sign a female demonstrator was holding and the sign hit her in the face. The police were then called and responded to the intersection.
Caroline Abate, a Republican running for Goleta Union School Board, said the more aggressive responses to the demonstration are indicative of the stark political divide that America is undergoing and must overcome.
“This is what’s at the root of the problem in our country, and the work that needs to be done is for each person to think very carefully about their own personal behavior and how to make sure we stay one country,” she said.
The school board candidate told the News-Press that she hoped their presence would get the public to think hard about what kind of future they want for the United States, which she said is undergoing “the single most important election” in its history. She added that the country is being torn in two diametrically opposed directions, “Christian capitalism” and “atheistic socialism.”
“There’s so much at stake on this ballot and in this election that we hope to make people aware, to think about the issues a lot more carefully and a lot more thoroughly,” she said.
“People need to think very carefully about their vote, because the direction in which our country goes has significant consequences.”
Santa Barbara Tea Party president Steve Thomas told the News-Press that he and his fellow ralliers were out to show the community that there are people in town who support “freedom and conservative politics.”
“Santa Barbara tends to be a very liberal town and sometimes the conservative side of things don’t get much attention,” he said.
Mr. Thomas added that he doesn’t understand why left-wing individuals have such animosity toward conservatives.
“The amount of hatred coming from the Left is astonishing to me. I don’t understand all this hatred, I really don’t,” he said.
Roman Higgins, a 14-year-old Santa Barbara High School student, was one of the youngest people at the demonstrators, which mostly consisted of older individuals. Roman explained that he was out showing support for President Trump because of the improved economy created under his leadership, and because of the lack of support his challenger has from law enforcement.
As for some of the angrier reactions directed toward the demonstration, Roman said, “The Democrats claim they’re tolerant but all they do is hate on other people with another political opinion.”
Edgar Castellanos, a 29-year-old Oxnard resident drove up the coast to go shooting at the Winchester Canyon Gun Club and just so happened to stumble upon the Freedom Rally.
Despite many disapproving passengers shouting insults like “racist” as their vehicles passed the demonstration, Mr. Castellanos said he was happy to stand with the demonstrators and show support for the president.
“My family is Mexican, I consider myself American, I even fought for this country for four years in the United States Army, so to be right here is a privilege,” he said.