Dozens of North Texans braved the biting cold on Monday to express agreement with Donald Trump. Yes, the country is in a state of emergency, they said with chants and signs, just not the one that the president identified recently.
As part of a larger protest near the county courthouse downtown, men and women had fanned out across Weatherford Street, each carrying a large letter that collectively spelled, “Trump is the crisis.”
“Nobody is above the law!” a protester yelled into a megaphone before chatting with us.
“I’m here to ensure that we have a democracy that is upheld by the people,” the protester said, giving his name only as Benny. “We can’t have one person in office ruling us. This is not a dictatorship. That’s why I’m here.”
Another protester, Michelle Tharrett, said she had been a lifelong Republican before the highest office in the land became occupied by Trump, whose recent declaration of a national emergency along the U.S./Mexico border is what prompted Monday’s local protest and many others across the country. Political pundits – and people with basic observational skills – suggest that Trump is using the emergency to galvanize his hard-right base following his two-month battle and subsequent failure to secure about $6 billion in funding for his “beautiful border wall.”
The president even went so far as to undercut his own claim.
“I didn’t need to do this,” he said while making his case for the national emergency before adjourning to his private club to play golf. Again.
Two supporters of the president looked on as the protestors marched nearby. Justin, a young man sporting a MAGA cap, said border security is an issue in this country.
“Illegals come into this country and take our federal funding,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with people coming in legally. This country was founded on the idea of coming here to make it better. You have to do it legally.”
Doing it legally isn’t as easy as it sounds, with years-long waits for some migrants, and the separation of families – sometimes permanently – seeking asylum legally.
The president “needed to do something,” Justin said.
Declaring a national emergency to secure funding that Congress wouldn’t provide was OK by him. Likewise, Justin took no issue with the protestors or their message. The scene was an example of the First Amendment at work, he said.
Here’s another example of free speech we can get behind. Since Trump’s announcement, 16 states – of course Texas isn’t one of them – have filed suit, claiming the national emergency and allocation of federal funds represent a violation of the U.S. Constitution.