First the conundrum – how does Missoula protest a Trump visit? After hearing rumors of a Trump rally, I envisioned a thousand protesters lining Highway 10 from the airport to Reserve Street. Since Trump isn’t leaving the immediate airport area, it makes the logistics of protesting much more difficult. If you haven’t noticed, airports these days have tougher restrictions and more law enforcement than a maximum-security prison.
So a giant shout out to Missoula Rises and associated organizations for holding a rally at Playfair Park, many miles away from the Trump venue. Billed “Love Trumps Hate,” here’s hoping for a potentially enormous turnout that defies Trump politics.
The reasoning behind an alternate event as opposed to an in-your-face protest is to counter the “angry liberal mob” memes coming from Trump tweets, media sympathizers and local zealots. But the threats of violence are coming from the right. Here’s a copy of the Facebook screen shot from former Montana Republican Party Chairman Will Deschamps:
For all the perspective attendees to the Trump event. Come early. Also all you protesters show up as well. This is a concealed and open carry state and we know how to use em.
It disturbs me that in deference to Trump’s and others’ hypocritical rhetoric, the resistance is to be distant and disconnected. Since when do tweets, Breitbart and Fox news dictate protest protocol? Make no mistake, there will be protesters at the airport, but the main gathering will be at a park near the fairgrounds. That location is preferred by organizers to avoid violent confrontations the right seems to be fomenting.
Now for the confusion — the venue has always been an issue. The University of Montana’s field house would have been the logical location. It’s where Barack Obama spoke to a capacity crowd in 2008. But Trump is no Obama and the potential for serious blow back in the People’s Republic of Missoula troubled UM officials.
So it’s a hangar at Missoula International Airport. With the event at the airport, there’s no need to have a secure route to a city center location, which pleases Missoula law enforcement and area taxpayers who would foot the bill for a local security detail.
The rally was to be held at the Neptune Aviation hangar but was changed to the smaller Minuteman Aviation hangar due to what event organizers say are photo opportunities with Air Force One in the background. Apparently the tarmac at Neptune can’t handle a Boeing 747 whereas it can at Minuteman. That’s the official version, anyway.
Expect a lot of disappointed people if, after waiting for hours to see Trump, there’s no room in the Minuteman hangar.
Parking for the rally is at the east end of the airport and Minuteman is at the west end. It will be a trek. A quick drive by tour of the facility at 5 p.m. Wednesday showed a bit of activity around the hanger, but not much. Where are the Porta-Potties? Lots of elderly folk with bladder, bowel and prostate issues will be making the pilgrimage, so that could be a problem.
It’s going to be a cluster… for air travelers and anyone between Reserve and the Wye from noon ’til night. Be cool, civil and safe, everyone.
Make it to Playfair Park, if you can. I have my tickets for the Trump rally at the airport. If I get in, and out, I’ll share my experience at this very site.