Counter-protest in the Suburbs

Trump opponents and supporters occupy opposing corners at busy intersection in a Chicago suburb.

Schaumburg, IL (Nov. 22) - Big-city protests and marches effectively capture the attention of activists, journalists, and the general public. Hundreds, perhaps thousands gather noisily and - in their way - colorfully.

Most protests in the Chicago area during the Trump era have been downtown. Now and then, though, opposition groups have called for action in a nearby suburb. Because Trump supporters had been gathering each Sunday at a well-traveled intersection in Schaumburg, northwest of the city, the Refuse Fascism organization announced a counter-protest.

Their numbers might be small, but enthusiasm and energy outweigh crowd size.

No one was at hand at the expected starting time (11 a.m.). No Trumpians across the street, either. But a handful of orange-shirted representatives of Refuse Fascism could be seen in the parking area, unloading signs and paraphernalia from a car. One of the organizers explained that the Trump faction had changed its start time to noon.

While waiting for additional participants to appear, the sun peeked out for a few minutes; but overall, it was a gloomy autumn day.

"We don't engage" with the "Trump thugs," said one woman who, like her colleagues, was well-masked for the occasion. Local police usually come by, she added, to keep the two groups apart: anti-Trump faction at the northeast corner, with Trump supporters occupying the northwest corner.

Around 11:30, the opposing groups were positioned and poised. No more than ten anti-Trump protesters were present as the festivities began. Little more than a dozen Trumpians – dubbed "MAGAs," or as one protester seemed to mutter, "maggots" - stood along the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. Plenty of drivers blew their horns in accord with one of the factions, though it wasn't always clear which side they were backing.

Contradicting the woman who'd spoken of refusal to engage, insults and expletives roared across the street in both directions. Most call-outs came from the Trump side, issued by a loud-voiced man. One member of the anti-Trump group occasionally responded, taking advantage of a mobile PA system.

"Trump and Pence, out right now," the Refuse Fascism group chanted, updating the message sung countless times by the anti-Trumpers. "People die from Covid-19," some cried, as Trump sits in the White House, Inciting his "mean moron" followers.

Some of the shouts from the Trump corner seemed to be resurrected from an earlier time. "The only good commies is a dead commie," for one. Others expressed a note of threat, if not violence, in a more contemporary form. "We know where you f*****g are, yelled a loud Trumpian. You can't hide from us." In a calmer mode, the Trumpers reflected the importance of social media in today's protest world. "Thank you for the hashtag," one voiced. "Not my President." Convenitntlly, this particular chant is usable by either side.

Nationwide counter-protests were scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, including one in downtown Chicago - meeting up with the pro-Trump faction at the foot of the Trump hotel.

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