Thursday, July 18, 2019

"Send Her Back"

I can't stop watching this clip of Trump supporters chanting "send her back!" in reference to naturalized U.S. Citizen and U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar.

The first time I saw the clip, I focused on the sound. It's cacophonous. So many voices. So much anger. It seems to fill the entire venue.

My 10 year old son was with me when I saw it the first time. I tried to explain who these people were, what they were chanting about, why it was so horrible, and why I was so upset. He was both confused and trying to comfort me when he said: "...but if she's an American citizen, they can't send her back!" (We'll see how sure he still is of that statement after he finishes They Called Us Enemy--George Takei's graphic novel about the Japanese internment, which also covers the government's efforts to deport U.S. citizens of Japanese descent like Takei's own mother).

As I rewatched the clip, I started to notice more than the noise. I started to notice all the people behind Trump.

More people than I first would have imagined are not chanting. Even though it sounds like everyone in the room has taken it up, look at the faces of those in the shot. There are at least nine who are not chanting. Sure, some are smiling. But is that the smile of someone in an uncomfortable social situation? I don't know. Others are clearly wearing stonier expressions.

There are the two women who seem to be shouting "send her back!" with their their entire selves. There's the woman at the bottom left of the screen in a MAGA hat. And there's the woman near the top right of the shot, wearing hot pink.

I also noticed the little girl. You can see her her just over Trump's left shoulder. She doesn't take up the chant immediately, but eventually she does. The woman standing right next to her is not chanting. Is that her mother? Just before BBC cuts this clip, the woman turns towards the little girl. Will she say something?


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