Everything has meaning to everyone. In 2020, that meaning has proven to be immune to context. Party lines get drawn down the middle of just about everything.
At competing rallies either calling for support of, or the removal of, Lauren Witzke in her U.S. Senate race on Thursday, September 24, 2020, against incumbent Chris Coons following controversial social media posts depicting Black babies dancing while celebrating the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, division was succinctly on display, with a meta twist:
"Everyone is so hyper-reactive right now, that it's it's hard to even pay attention to one individual incident," said Aaron, who declined to provide a last name. "It's 2020. Civility is out the window. We're on the verge of a civil war. So a Facebook post, I mean, it means nothing to me, honestly."
"This is 2020. The United States, we're in a really different predicament where we are fighting all kinds of things," said Crystal, on the other side of the road. "I have a problem with putting somebody that has just been involved with drugs three years ago in the U.S. Senate. I mean, it's a government office."
Both are Republicans, but as the America First movement continues to pick up steam in local races, even members of the same party find themselves divided on the messaging, and standing across from each other.
Ultimately, Thursday's rally was largely uneventful, as the ten or so Remove Witzke Immediately group members who did show up for their originally planned rally found themselves outnumbers by dozens there supporting Witzke. Some Witzke supporters were open carrying. When they sensed vulnerability and word started to spread that turnout appeared low for those gathering in a nearby apartment building parking lot on the side calling for Witzke's resignation, one man said "Think I'll have to take a walk down to the end of the block here, since I've got this," patting his hip to show off his handgun.
Organizer Kristina Kelly said they wouldn't be intimidated, and that low attendance wasn't likely due to a Black Lives Matter rally being organized at the last minute in Bear, but moreso due to what she claimed was police at the scene denying them access to the lot they originally planned to use to rally, while admitting access to pro-Witzke rally members.
"We get up here, state police are telling us Delaware Cadillac doesn't want anybody in the parking lot. The whole parking lot's nothing but vehicles with Trump stickers and Lauren Witzke stickers and signs, and a Trump campaign bus. It's not right. It's not right," she said. "I understand FOP has their candidates that they back or whatever, but preventing one group from entering an area where you've allowed another group to sit? Not right. And, to be honest, I mean, police stations are supposed to be bipartisan no matter what, right? It's supposed to be an unbiased thing. Well, this shows bias, in my opinion."
Republican Rob Arlett, Delaware chair for the Trump campaign, noted in an email that the "Trump campaign bus" referenced in the quote from Kelly is not actually a campaign bus for the Trump campaign, just one using his likeness as a basis for support for the local campaign. He sent an email reading:
"[Referencing the vehicle as a Trump campaign bus] is in error as the vehicle referenced has no affiliation with the Trump campaign nor is it supported or endorsed by the Trump campaign. It is strictly owned by individuals who support President Trump but are in no way affiliated with the campaign. Please update your article to reflect the accurate information."
Delaware Cadillac released a statement Friday stating they had asked police not to let anyone, from any organization or affiliation, onto their property:
"The property that was used by Witzke and her supporters is rented by the Republican National committee, who arrived prior to police arriving. The property management had asked that no one come onto the property, which happens to be adjacent to property used by Delaware Cadillac Body Shop."
Witzke, for her part, was thrilled with the turnout and show of support her campaign found.
"It's awesome. It's overwhelming to have people who are willing to come out and stand with me," she said. "We will not cave to the mob...We're taking a stand today, and saying that we do not cave to far-left radical demands, and we never will."
This is 2020.