Jill Stein supporter remains seated during the national anthem at Trump rally

Nicholas Michel anticipated the moment he decided to remain seated for the national anthem at a Trump rally to protest police brutality.

The rally was held in Germain Arena, where Trump supporters eagerly waited to see him.

One of the people among the crowd was Michel, a Jill Stein supporter. He attended the rally to discuss racial issues going on in our country, and to protest the national anthem.

Michel angrily walked up to a man wearing a shirt that had Hillary Clinton’s face behind bars on it with words underneath saying, “I Have A Dream,” and informed him that his attire was offensive to him.

“I figured the guy knew exactly what message he was going for from wearing that shirt,” Michel said. “I’m the one person in the rally that was vocal about it and told him it was offensive. I guess I was really mad at it, but more disappointed.”

The crowd was filled with passionate Trump supporters, however some were hesitant to share their reasons as to why they chose to support him. Others however, were open to sharing their beliefs.

“I support Trump because of his policies and the changes he plans on making to America,” Bill Toledo said, a man wearing a shirt with a picture of Hillary Clinton behind bars. “He can put people back to America, and not the same old rhetoric of a promise and don’t deliver.”

Jane Bogot, a former Obama supporter, stood in line for three hours as she waited to get into the arena. She said Trump would not be her first choice for president, but at this point, she does not feel like she has much of a choice but to vote for him.

“I don’t want Hillary…I think our country is going into the totally wrong direction, no offense to you,” Bogot said, pointing at Michel. “The Democratic Party doesn’t do anything for minorities, they like to keep them down…there needs to be a change.”

People angrily fought with each other as others tried to cut in front of them while waiting in line. As the doors opened into the arena, swarms of people flooded in, going through security and metal detectors. There was not one empty seat.

There were many guest speakers that spoke, but the crowd impatiently waited to hear the person they came to see—Trump. Commercials on numerous televisions portrayed negative images and information about Clinton, and each time they came on, everyone in the arena booed and shouted, “Lock her up!”

Francis Rooney, former United States ambassador to the Holy See, spoke out about his concerns for the current state of this country.

“After eight years of a president trampling on our constitution, mocking American traditional values and stealing away our rights, we are at the breaking point,” Rooney said to the crowd. “That’s why we need Donald Trump.”

After hours of the crowd chanting and screaming for Trump to “Make America great again,” Donald Trump finally made an appearance on the stage. Cameras were going off and everyone was on their feet applauding the Republican nominee.

“I wasn’t really impressed seeing him speak in person,” Michel said. “The things the crowds were yelling and saying…it was crazy. The fact that there were no other protestors also made me really mad.”

As everyone stood for the national anthem, Michel remained seated. The people behind him were very displeased with his actions, and he said they mumbled hateful words towards Michel and one of his friends.

“I sat down for similar reasons to Kaepernick,” Michel said. “There’s a lot of oppression and subjects regarding race that aren’t being addressed. It seems that’s the only way you can get people to be talking about these things.”

Michel is referring to American football player, Colin Kaepernick, who recently kneeled during the national anthem at a football game. Michel’s reasoning reflects Kaepernick’s statement about police brutality in this country, mostly directed towards minorities.

“Between the rally and the videos of Terence Crutcher, I’m losing hope in this country,” Michel said.

Terence Crutcher was shot and killed by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is one of the many victims of police brutality, especially directed towards African American males.

“I’m not gonna lie…I feel scared, and I’ve never really felt scared before,” Michel said. “Like I look around now, and I just don’t feel like I belong.”

People camp outside of the arena as they wait in line for hours.
Trump supporter wears a shirt that Nicholas Michel finds to be disrespectful.
People waiting to be let into the arena.
Volunteers sell Trump attire and signs to the people attending the rally.
The crowd screams out chants as they wait for the arena to be filled.

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