Local News
Faith-based Trump support missing as the chill winds of 2018 arrive
February 2, 2018
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Above, on Dec. 20, only two faith-based pro-Trump demonstrators were present; below, on Jan. 31 the Wallers are visited by Vigil for Democracy organizer Len Sherp. Photos/Roger Bianchini

FRONT ROYAL – Stopping by to photograph and stay in contact with both sides of the dueling pro and anti-Trump demonstrations across Chester Street in Historic Downtown Front Royal over the first weeks of 2018, we witnessed an unexpected development. – That was that the faith-based pro-Trump Catholics who had joined original pro-Trump demonstrators Michael and Ralph Waller in front of their East Main Street pawn shop in late May 2017 had vanished.

According to both sides of the street, as of January 31 it had been three weeks since a representative of the pro-Trump Catholic contingent of about eight to 15 adults had been seen. Well, it was cold through much of January – too cold apparently for even flat-Trump, the life-size cardboard cutout of the president who became a regular along with some of his new Front Royal pals.

Bob Hill crosses the political divide to offer Sherp some back up. 

But in the mid-to-late January absence of the faith-based Trump supporters, the more playful interaction between the two opposing sides of the political street re-emerged. As Royal Examiner has reported in past coverage of these dueling political camps, the emergence of a faith-based group of Trump supporters had diminished the positive dialogue that had begun between Vigil for Democracy participants and the Wallers between March and early May 2017 (The trend of a faith-based unwillingness to seek common ground for political dialogue will be explored in depth in a coming Royal Examiner feature story).

But back to the final three Wednesdays of January 2018 – as illustrated in some of the accompanying photographs, a more playful crossing of political lines was evident as Vigil for Democracy organizer Len Sherp and Bob Hill crossed Chester Street to re-engage the Wallers in dialogue and some pointed, aggressive, yet humorous political banter.

Before the reinforcement arrived on Jan. 31, Sherp found himself in a friendly tug of war with the Wallers.

As Sherp and Hill returned to the Vigil for Democracy side of the street, this reporter remained on the pro-Trump side to discuss the previous evening’s State of the “Uniom” (how early tickets were distributed by the White House, spelling error included) speech, as well as evolving situations surrounding the Trump presidency. A major sticking point was the special prosecutor’s investigation of any possible Trump campaign ties to Russian efforts to assist them in the election, as well as what some perceive as an escalating partisan panic from Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill as that investigation closes in on the Trump inner circle.

My parting shot was to note the supposedly compromised law enforcement officials around that investigation are virtually all Republicans by Party preference and/or appointment, including Trump-appointed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the ultimate target, Special Prosecutor and life-long Republican and George W. Bush appointee to head the FBI, Robert Mueller.

As our decades-old opposing perspectives were re-engaged, Ralph offered that your humble reporter was “sick in the head” to distrust the veracity of the president, or to trust existing or former leadership of the FBI to engage in a fair investigation of Trump and his team.

“And tell them over there they are sick in the head too,” Ralph offered as I began to cross the street to photograph the loyal opposition.

But you know what? – Those assessments were offered with a smile, a laugh and no indication we could not re-engage our discussion of varying perspectives the following week.

As for those varying perspectives expressed on January 31, 2018 …

Not an uncrossable political divide, but perhaps just a difference in priorities – and perspectives …

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There are 3 comments

  • Ruth Chichester says:

    Roger, thanks for your continued coverage of this weekly event. “The trend of a faith-based unwillingness to seek common ground for political dialogue will be explored in depth in a coming Royal Examiner feature story.” I look forward this article!
    The above comment is exactly why I am anxious to see your future article. Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that DJT supporters are simply witlessly and unmercifully brainwashed by FOX(faux) news anti-left rhetoric and pure propaganda, a systematic wash that started long before the orange bozo even hit the political scene! They were estranged from truth and made to believe all sorts of mythology about our previous administration and our nation. And, aside from something similar to a salvage of their senses from their tRump cult like those who send a squad of “kidnappers” to rescue a manipulated loved one from a cult, there is no “REASON” or reasoning with them! All my conversations with these dullards have been as futile as trying to nail jello to the wall! I would LOVE to find something akin to “common ground” within this massive chasm of a political sh*thole!
    Again, thanks for your honest reporting of both sides.

  • Darrin Gifft says:

    It’s not good for tourism when there’s 30 people waving Anti Trump signs in peoples faces my Stepdaughter has a business near there and it effects her customers coming and going . We are a small town and Our Main Street businesses have it ruff enough without all these people acting like a bunch of unhappy babies , if you really cared so much you wouldn’t have time to protest believe me .

    • Luann Jacobs says:

      Really? Then Sir or Madam, you do not understand Democracy at work. Stand up for what you believe by participating in dialogue to find common ground. That’s really what the Vigil is about. All citizens have a right to a fair and just government. If anyone has a complaint about how our government is representing our rights we have the opportunity to talk, write, and demonstrate peacefully. Without these rights there is no Democracy.

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