My camera urged me to pick it up yesterday and head over to Port Jefferson, NY, to capture some images of an event that was taking place there, in front of the building with the giant ice cream cone, across from the dock for the ferry to Bridgeport, Connecticut. That cone has has been punctuating a banner in support of Trump for many months now. I think it was taken down at one point and then replaced, but it is clear that the building’s owner is a huge fan of the man who currently occupies the highest office of the United States of America. The current banner reads, “President Trump: Our Prayers are With You.”
A big Tump rally occurred there a few weeks ago, and supporters continue to drive by regularly with their flags waving from pick-up trucks, honking support for the underlying message that lingers around the ice cream cone’s banner, “I support the flavor of malice dished out of D.C. these past 3.5 years.” Another rally was planned for Saturday, October 31st, Halloween, 2020.
I got there in the early afternoon, so maybe most of the crowd had gone off to wave their flags and don their red caps somewhere else. There were maybe 50 supporters, mostly unmasked, cheering vehicles that passed by with more flags and more banners. I parked my car and walked over across from the rally supporters. I passed a man who was standing with a young boy, around age 4, yelling to the crowd something about supporting a man that only cares about rich people. He was the only one that seemed to be there voicing protest. I felt sadness for what that child may be experiencing. The images and messages he is taking in at such an early age. I hope the bravery of his father overpowers the anger that can also build in young minds when exposed to such confusing distress.
A few people went about their business, going in and out of shops, some in holiday costumes, others chatting around COVID required outdoor dining areas. It felt like a small circus atmosphere and seemed appropriate that the ferry named P.T. Barnum was docked behind the rallying crowd, just past a village banner that reads “All we ask is to wear a mask! We are in this together!”
At first I hesitated to get closer, how close did I want to get to people I disagree with. I thought of a quote by one of my photography heroes, Susan Meiselas, “The camera is an excuse to be someplace you otherwise don’t belong. It gives me both a point of connection and a point of separation.” I crossed the street to get closer.
And got a different view.
I am reminded of another quote, “It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi.
I didn’t make any new friends, but the view on that side was good enough to stress how urgent voting on Tuesday is for restoring decency.