President Trump made a stop at the Columbia Regional Airport Thursday endorsing Josh Hawley for Missouri’s seat in the U.S. Senate. Just 20 minutes away protesters gathered to rally against Trump and mobilize voters for next week’s midterm election.
Among the event’s speakers was Dr. Maren Bell Jones. She rallied the crowd in support of Democratic policies and her campaign for the Missouri House of Representatives in District 44. In defiance of a term adopted by some conservatives to criticize liberals, she asked the crowd, “What are snowflakes for? An avalanche.”
Other people spoke in support of ballot initiatives like Clean Missouri and medical marijuana, but everyone had their own reason for coming.
Monica Lee moved to Columbia 20 years ago from South Korea. Disheartened by the 2016 election, she decided to become a more active citizen. That’s what brought her to Rally for Sanity on the Boone County Courthouse steps Thursday.
“We are very proud to be American but what is happening is heartbreaking. This isn't what America should be,” she said. “America is a beacon of democracy and humanity. It stands up for what's right.”
Anger, not disappointment, motivated other attendees.
“I'm mad as hell and I won't take it anymore,” said Bob Swope, holding a “Tuck Frump” protest sign.
“[President Trump] is making people take sides and in the end, that's not right,” said Swope. “Because we're all Americans and we should be trying to improve the best we can.”
A self-described “hippie at heart,” Kathleen Rice has demonstrated at multiple rallies following the 2016 presidential election.
“Nothing [President Trump] has done has been in my best interest and in a lot of people's [best interest],” she said. “But I think that a lot of people are blind or hoodwinked.”
With the midterm elections days away, Rice didn’t come to the rally to brush up on the ballot initiatives or candidates. She’s said she’s already done her homework. Instead, she came for the comradery.
“I feel pretty sad about the political climate,” she said. “I'm hoping that things will change for the better...I can't say that everything's going to go our way. But I hope we can make some strides.”
And it’s voter mobilization that the rally sponsors, Boone County Democrats, CoMo for Progress and Our Revolution Mid-Missouri were aiming for.
“We're hoping to refocus people's energy to be more constructive, just a more constructive attitude and give them actual tangible actions that they can do to help the election,” said Kory Davis, chair of Our Revolution: Mid-Missouri.
“It helps to show up to a protest or a rally briefly and show your support. But what really helps more is to commit to a candidate and put in the hard work that it takes to get them elected to elect people who are going to fight for us because then you’re really magnifying your effort,” they said.