On May 20, Mike Pence gave the keynote speech at the Grove City College commencement. Grove City College is a small private, conservative, Christian college located in NW PA and while it is an excellent school, it is an unlikely venue for such a high level politician to speak much less the vice president of the United States. As it turns out, the president of the college and his wife are very good friends with the Pences and so the invitation was honored.
It was not without controversy, of course, as very little about this new administration escapes opposition. Molly Wicker, a junior at the college, wrote an excellent opinion piece about the debates happening all over campus prior to commencement. That piece landed in the New York Times. And the resistance group known as the Slippery Rock Huddle organized the Pence Resistance March to coincide with Pence’s visit.
As a participant of that March, I can say the overall experience was satisfying to once again be in the company of like-minded activists. As a group we were calm and respectful. There wasn’t an antagonist among us so there was a lot of jovial chatter, the usual chanting and collective sign waving. Many people driving by honked horns giving us a thumbs up. There was some opposition, however, and I offer some observations about the Trumpp [sic] supporters who drove by.
♦ We raised our voices to sing This Land is Your Land. They raised their middle fingers.
♦ We chanted Love Not Hate Makes America Great! Two motorcyclists moved in close and revved up their engines to drown us out (although they couldn’t do that once we were outside the college gates because of the mounted police patrolling the area.)
♦ We moved respectfully along the sidewalk. They slowed their pick-up trucks to blow thick black exhaust on us and yelled obscenities waving Trumpp [sic] flags.
There was such a marked difference between our actions and theirs, it makes you wonder how the divide will ever be bridged. But bridged it must be if we are to survive this hateful time. I remain hopeful. Still.