Letter writer: What did adults teach at Trump rally?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

My children and I recently went to the Donald Trump rally in Asheville to learn about the candidate, the issues and to experience a part of our democracy in the United States of America. My daughter was working on a middle school project on U.S. government, and so it seemed like a good idea to head downtown to the event. Neither I nor my children shared any indication, sign or nod toward our support of a particular candidate throughout the evening.

My daughter wrote of the experience:

“The night of the rally, my brother, dad and I went to the U.S. Cellular Center. The street was blocked on the way in, and outside there were hundreds of people shouting, chanting, waving. These were the folks protesting, yelling at us and waving signs in our faces telling us we should be ashamed. As we walked in, a man followed us and yelled at my dad, ‘Shame on you! You should be ashamed that you are bringing your kids to see Trump.’

Not everyone knows that while I was inside hearing Donald Trump speak, I was scared about what was happening to our country. There was yelling from so many people, and people said mean things about Trump and about Hillary Clinton, too. It hurt my heart to be in this atmosphere. I don’t ever want to be afraid to learn about someone else’s perspective. I wondered, ‘What do the adults of our country want us to learn from them during this election?’”

After a short time inside listening to Trump, angry protesters and angry supporters, my son asked if we could leave. I agreed that it was probably best after seeing his anxiety-filled eyes. My daughter disagreed and said, “I would rather wait and walk out with the big group. I don’t want to go outside alone.”

We eventually decided to leave just before the large group and try to avoid confrontation with the largest group of people outside.

[My daughter] Olivia described her thoughts: “As we were walking out, I made sure I held my head high even though people were giving us the middle finger. I just kept thinking, ‘They don’t know the whole story, they don’t know the whole story.’’

None of us do, and we won’t unless we are in relationship with one another. Inside the building or outside the building, we felt ill at ease and troubled. We were caught between. Even before this election cycle, we were experiencing more and more fragmentation of communities, families and humanity. Each day there seems to be less and less space for curiosity, listening, compassion and wisdom.

I am grateful for the insight and beauty of the words and hopes shared by my kids during this time. They are my teachers, the wise ones.

— Olivia and Scott Hardin-Nieri


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33 thoughts on “Letter writer: What did adults teach at Trump rally?

  1. John Penley

    One of the best letters I have seen on this. I believe we are still having a civil war in this country and that it was never over and has been going on since the first war between the North and South. Because of the Presidential election it has escalated and also it was clearly evident when confederate flags came down in the South. We are not a united country and really never have been.

  2. boatrocker

    From the description of your time inside, it sounds like you may have answered your own question posed in the title of your letter.

    For your children’s sake, maybe explain that adults don’t have all the answers and it’s a crazy mixed up world they will inherit?
    They’re going to find that out one way or another, eventually. Better for that fact to come from parents.

    I only hope pizza and decompression followed your kids having to see the worst of the far right.

    • The Real World

      One primary lesson it provides the kids is that the crowd that claims to be: open-minded, tolerant, inclusive, yadda yadda — in fact, evidences themselves to be anything but. Over and over they display their hypocrisy.

      And even worse, is how nasty and militant they can be. When people are simply attending a rally. Good grief! Total frauds at walking their talk.

      • Lulz

        LOL, yep. The left will use any means to influence, bully, and ensure their opposition is silenced. And hopefully this wakes people up to that.

  3. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    You most likely have the DNC to thank for the animosity you witnessed. According to this undercover video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IuJGHuIkzY – the 69-year-old woman who got assaulted at that rally was a DNC operative engaged in what they call bird-dogging. Bird-dogging is the behind-the-scenes activity the DNC utilizes to disrupt Trump rallies by trained/paid operatives for the purpose of negative media exposure. There were probably many more ‘bird-dogs’ there than just her trying to stir up trouble. The video exposes high-level DNC operatives explaining how bird-dogging works.

    • bsummers

      Nowhere in that video does it say that Shirley Teeter was “a DNC operative”. Even <bJames O’Keefe (convicted liar) doesn’t say that (he has better lawyers than he used to). His video is creatively edited to make it look like that’s what was said, and now you’re spreading it without any evidence that it’s true.

      Be careful believing anything this convicted liar tells you, or you might wind up sharing a cell with him.

      • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

        She’ll have her day in court, at which point she will be put under oath to testify if she was indeed working with DNC operatives. Her assault accusation totally contradicts the testimony of witnesses and video evidence, A video shows her coming up from behind a legally blind elderly man (the one she accused of sucker punching her after a heated verbal exchange) and grabbing him on the shoulder. He turned around and she fell to the ground. All evidence at this point suggests that O’Keefe is indeed telling the truth that she was bird-dogging to try to stir up trouble for the sake of media exposure (which she got).

      • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

        btw, it’s possible that O’Keefe didn’t incorporate the specific info about the person because the context in which it was explained made it too difficult to incorporate into the flow of the video. Editor’s choice. Nevertheless, O’Keefe should release the raw footage to silence naysayers like you. Maybe it will be in part 2 when it comes out today. He may have left it out of part 1 for that very reason.

    • bsummers

      Also, the term “bird-dogging” isn’t about “disrupting” anything, certainly not inciting violence. It refers to (and the guy in the video describes it as such) the practice of trying to get the candidates to react to specific questions, etc., in front of reporters. O’Keefe claiming that ‘bird-dogging’ is “a word we had not heard” is complete bull. It’s a tactic political types have used forever. Here’s just a couple of links that show this goes back years before his ‘OMG – bird-dogging means inciting violence!’ lie:

      Bird-dogging: A tactic that gets candidates talking

      Tips for Bird Dogging Candidates

      bird-dog (bûrd’-dôg), v. To follow, monitor and/or seek out a subject of interest, such as a public official, with persistent attention to get answers to questions or influence the subject.

      This is another James O’Keefe lie video – but that won’t stop you all from continuing to spread it as if it were gospel.

      • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

        Bird-dogging is sending bird dogs into the bush to flush out pheasant so hunters can get a shot. In the context described in the video, bird-dogging is sending paid/trained operatives into crowds to try to provoke them into ugly behavior and/or violence in order to paint them as unstable and violent; or as it appears to be in the case of the Asheville rally, assault a man, then claim he assaulted her.

        • bsummers

          Wrong. The political operative in the video only talks about ‘bird-dogging’ in the context of trying to get Trump to react to provocative questions, which is fair game. Through deliberately deceptive editing, O’Keefe conflates that with the instances where Trump supporters react violently to people who just show up saying or wearing the wrong thing.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            You didn’t watch it carefully enough. Bird-dogging as I described it was clearly explained. In fact, at one point the operative said that they prefer agitating the lines of Trump supporters outside, rather than being inside where Trump is because the Secret Service has control of the situation.

          • bsummers

            I watched it plenty carefully enough. Bird-dogging is about going after candidates on topics they don’t want to talk about. Period.

            But once again, like the “70% of Charlotte protestors are outside agitators” lie, you will hang onto this lie forever, long after it’s exposed as a total fabrication.

          • The Real World

            So much denial. It. Makes. Everything. Worse. Please stop.

            Indeed from the decidedly left-wing rag, Clinton News Network:
            Many troublemakers left town
            Nwadike, who marched with protesters on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, said the sharp spike in violence Wednesday wasn’t a coincidence.

            “I think a lot of outsiders came into town Wednesday,” Nwadike said. “Sometimes, if there’s an opportunity for looting, some people from the outside are going to take it.”

            The timing makes sense, too. Nwadike, who has attended rallies across the country, said it usually takes perpetrators a day to get into town. Then, “you see all these license plates coming from surrounding cities, trying to pretend that they’re part of the movement.”

            The next day, he said, the out-of-towners are usually gone, and the violent in-town troublemakers have already unleashed their anger. http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/23/us/charlotte-violence-to-peace/

            And I spoke to a brewer from Charlotte who was here recently for Oktoberfest about the protesting and she said, while shaking her head, “well, I’ve only lived in Charlotte for 5 years but it was completely unlike anything I’ve seen or experienced there. So, I don’t know where that came from.”

            Plus, as best I could tell from internet searching, Todd Walther still has his job with the Fraternal Order of Police. If he intentionally fabricated, it would be immediate cause for dismissal. But, he wasn’t lying. And today really is Tuesday no matter what any denialist says.

          • bsummers

            Mr. Selective Editing strikes again. You copied that CNN story word-for-word, but then deliberately chose to leave off the last sentence:

            “It is unclear how many protesters in Charlotte were from other cities, but of the 46 people arrested Tuesday and Wednesday, online records show four people had out-of-state addresses.”

            This is what – the third, fourth time you’ve done that? Learn a new to lie, Anonymous Sockpuppet.

          • The Real World

            Good grief, Summers …. now you’re calling Ken Nwadike a liar. Or is it that CNN is committing libel? It could be so many nefarious things, we need the PC police, stat!

            You know, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you.

            I guess these juvenile tactics are to be expected now that the loons can’t sling the tin foil hat crap around anymore. Wikileaks has been the gift that keeps on giving and proven how breathtakingly corrupt HRC and the DNC are. Time to stop the denial (it really is still Tuesday).

            Oh and, the latest? “Early in Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, she and her staff were observed removing lamps and furniture from the State Department which were transported to her residence in Washington, D.C.,” the summary of the interview says.

            Yep, our world-class grifter Democratic candidate is still stealing from the American taxpayer. But then we knew that.

          • Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

            No, you either didn’t watch it carefully, or you’re being dishonest (again).

            Transcript starting at 7:09

            “Scott foval is creamers attack dog. foval and his people trained the agitators to go to trump rallies, and nothing is left to chance. the script. there is a script. there’s a script of engagement. sometimes the crazies bite and sometimes the crazies don’t bite. they’re starting confrontations in the line, right? they’re not starting confrontations in the rally. because once they’re inside the rally they’re under secret service control. when they’re outside the rally the media will cover it no matter where it happens. the key is initiating the conflict by having leading conversations with people who are naturally psychotic. I mean honestly it is not hard to get some of these assholes to pop off, right? it’s a matter of showing up to want to get into the rally in a planned parenthood t-shirt, or you know Trump is a nazi. you know the you could even message to draw them out and draw them to punch you.”

          • bsummers

            I’m not calling anyone but you a liar. You (once again) selectively edited a quote from a news story to remove the part that undermines your narrative. How ‘O’Keefe-ian’ of you…

            Let it go. Console yourself with the knowledge that many people who do not pay attention to detail will take what you say uncritically. And no one will ever hold you accountable, because you cower behind a pseudonym, terrified that people will know you. “Real World”, indeed.

          • bsummers

            No, you either didn’t watch it carefully, or you’re being dishonest (again)

            I’m not the one with the proven record of deceit, but OK. Notice the word “bird-dogging” does not appear anywhere until 5 minutes after the point where your transcript starts. In the part you quote, Foval is talking about having people simply show up and saying or wearing something that the “naturally psychotic” people will react to. He doesn’t ever call that “bird-dogging”.

            When Foval is talking about bird-dogging, 5 minutes later, he clearly describes it as directed at the candidate – trying to get him to respond on the record to something that he doesn’t want to. That’s it. O’Keefe edited them together to conflate the two, but these are obviously two separate discussions.

            But as I’ve said before, nothing will stop you guys when you have a good lie in your teeth. Go nuts.

        • boatrocker


          You are referring to the idea of an ‘agent provocateur’ (also an awful Journey album).
          Hoover’s FBI did this to civil rights folks, anti war folks, women’s lib folks etc under the COINTEL program, approved by Hoover and started
          by your boy Nixon. It obviously worked pretty well for you to equate hatey violence to the DNC.

  4. The Real World

    Snowflake – oh no, no… “it’s just all lies” say the liberal religious zealots. And no paid shills are bussed into staged, professionally-organized protests (actually riots) — no that doesn’t happen either.

    Nor does DeRay MeKesson live in a home owned by a board member of the Open Society Foundation. No, nothing to see here (blinders firmly affixed; denial complete).

    • boatrocker

      Oops, I forgot- I thought all lefties were atheists.

      It is impossible to be both a Muslim and an atheist, as the atheist- commies kind of fought against the mujahadeen headed up by bin Laden funded by the CIA and espousing Islam in the late 70’s or was that locker room talk too? And Marx was the guy who founded the idea of ‘the opiate of the masses.’

      How are Hillary folks commies, Islamy types and atheists again?

      If you need $2 for a library card, just say so. I will help you to understand, gain common sense and of achieve course open mindedness.


      • The Real World

        You’re right, they do protest too much; it’s pretty much constant. “OMG, a micro-aggression — I need my safe space, right now!” And on and on and on and on. A bunch of shrieking toddlers who are clueless that Hillary, Obama, the DNC etc. have used their Alinsky tactics primarily on them. Hello!

        People who think for themselves and don’t automatically buy what the prophets of that religion are spouting recognized this stuff many years ago. But, the acolytes remain committed even though your Prez has duped you countless times. But, that’s what zealots do — they obey.

        • boatrocker

          No,I think you know which poster I refer to- the ones who see the cradle to the grave as a Democrackkk plot-
          The line itself comes from a Shakespeare play and refers to those who so vehemently deny something that you know they gotta be fibbing,
          but you knew that as most of the comments you make match with Trumpeters to a tee- a total divorce from reality.

  5. bsummers

    What did these parents think their children were going to learn at a Trump rally? Seriously – you took your kids there for some sort of learning experience? I can’t believe that any adult in America who has been paying even a little attention would be surprised by what they experienced there.

    • boatrocker

      Hopefully what the poor kids took away from being dragged to a Trump rally:
      – reading is fundamental
      – stay in school
      – run away and join the circus ASAP
      – adults do not know it all
      – always check for spelling and grammar errors on all the signs demanding Hillary be jailed/shot/deported- point them out to Trumpeters as they’ll need those writing skills to tweet articulate messages at 4am in 2020.

    • boatrocker

      In reading all these comments again, the best way to teach one’s kids about how the gub’ment works would have been to encourage them to volunteer
      somewhere to register new voters (just turned 18 types) and to hand out a copy of the Constitution so they could tell fact from fiction reading the news.

  6. Snowflake (Social Justice Worrier)

    Oh my! The lady who claims she was sucker punched by a Trump supporter at the Asheville rally is now retracting her story after the Veritas video exposed her as being a paid DNC operative. What next? Pressing the police to drop charges so that she doesn’t have to testify under oath in court? I predict the man will counter sue.


  7. suerenity1

    I so agree with the letter writer. Everyone had a right to be there and it was hideous to watch people being called racists and worse as they entered and left the Cellular Center. This is not what our loving city is about and it is sad that it was portrayed in this manner. Among the protesters, there were many who held signs about Love and were peaceful and respectful. Sorry you and your children had such a negative experience.

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