Pride was the prevailing emotion after Wednesday’s Donald Trump event at Stephen Decatur High School.
It had nothing to do with the candidate or his politics. It had all to do with the majority of mature individuals, ranging in age from teens to seniors, who attended the candidate’s rally and the respectful way most handled themselves throughout the afternoon and evening.
Because of his blunt delivery on his positions, his business and television background and his celebrity status, Trump is arguably the most polarizing figure to ever run for the presidency. Consequently, there was much controversy surrounding his visit to Berlin this week and the fact he would be speaking at a public school.
While there were some tense moments outside Stephen Decatur High School between protesters and supporters, the event by and large was peaceful. Considering in excess of 10,000 people of diverse backgrounds and socio-economic profiles converged on the school, its grounds and nearby properties, it’s impressive there was not more trouble in our view.
Along those lines, as concerns and rage seemed to mount over the 48 hours prior to the event, our editor released this heartfelt message online. It was embraced by the online community.
It read, “Over the next 36 hours, as has been the case over the previous two days, there will be a number of posts, articles and photos surrounding the visit of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“I have personally been moderating our various online forums and it’s quite clear Trump is a polarizing figure, bringing out the best and worst from commenters. It’s been disturbing to observe the name calling, vulgarity and foul language from some against strangers. We will continue to delete obscene messages.
We have already, and surely will continue to be in the days ahead, been accused of sensationalizing the candidate’s visit to Berlin with a number of stories.
“While we disagree, believing instead this is a major news event for the lower shore based on the few precedents in our history, we understand the rage and support from our readers. We would ask, however, that everyone exercise tolerance and good judgment this evening if planning to attend the rally. It will surely be a spectacle unlike any seen around these parts in some time. The school system has called it ‘historic,’ while detractors have called it shameful.
“No matter where you fall philosophically and politically, Trump and this entire political season has brought out the extremes in people. We understand and embrace the dialogue. We simply encourage the community to approach this evening’s rally with a balanced and civil perspective.
“Let’s show the country how special this area is to call home and let’s make ourselves proud, whether we agree or disagree with the politics at hand or the decision to even welcome this campaign event in the first place.
Today, tonight and into tomorrow, through team coverage, we will do our best to keep our readers updated as to what’s happening inside and outside of Stephen Decatur High School.
“We all need to be safe, smart and respectful with our actions, words and decisions. The world will be watching. Let’s not give anyone reason to criticize our judgments. This community is made up of good, kind and tolerant people. Let’s prove it with a peaceful gathering tonight.”
Fortunately, that was the case. There were a few arrests and some isolated cases of disruptions, but there was never a question of public safety being in jeopardy and no embarrassing moments that cast the area in a negative light.
A heavy and coordinated law enforcement presence deserves much of the credit for maintaining peace and order in what could have been a chaotic scene, but the general public also gets kudos for approaching this event with the maturity and excitement it merited. We have always been proud to call this area home and Tuesday night was yet another example.