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Rantz: Thank Trump supporters for peaceful May Day

A Trump supporter takes part in a May Day protest in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

May Day 2017 was a bust if you were hoping to see any kind of mass disruption in Seattle. The reason? A few dozen Trump supporters who occupied the space normally reserved for anti-capitalist mayhem.

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When Trump supporters took up shop in Westlake Park, I thought all hell would break loose the second the anarchists found out. And there’s no doubt that the Trump supporters were ready for a fight, if it came to that. But they went out of their way to peacefully assemble and stand their ground, all in the name of free speech.

Yes, they poked fun at “snowflakes” and asked if people felt “triggered” by their presence. But they overwhelmingly sought dialogue with people who disagree. They were shouted down, they were insulted, they were condescended to, but they acted peacefully and graciously, thanking cops for the work they were doing. Their actions quelled unrest.

Had the Trump supporters not shown up, the typical anti-capitalist activists and anarchists would have turned their ire to the Seattle Police Department. The SPD, of course, wouldn’t engage in debate. And thus name calling would have likely ensued and one protester would end up getting too gutsy, perhaps violent, and chaos would break out. The Trump supporters were there to take the brunt of the anger, instead of the cops. It was a surprise. I thought it’d be crazy and instead it was barely a protest.

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I never thought I’d say this, certainly not in Seattle, but the Trump supporters set a high bar for the behavior of future protesters, regardless of ideology. They were behaved, they still had some edge — and boy were they effective in controlling the media narrative and getting their message across — all while looking reasonable doing it. For Trump supporters in Seattle, that’s no easy task. I have no idea who any of those protesters were; most didn’t seem local. But they acted in a way that made May Day tolerable and peaceful; for that, they should be congratulated.

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