Recently, in late June, there was a Trump rally in the town square at Lake Sumter Landing in The Villages – that made the rounds on social media and headline national news. Pro-Trump golf cart owners got in the queue and proceeded to parade around the town square honking their horns and displaying their Trump flags and attire. Some other signs used included: No Socialism, Happy Birthday Donald Trump, America First, and Support Blue. At one point in the parade, a white man in a golf cart exclaimed “White power” several times to those anti-Trump protestors along the side of the parade. To add further controversy and divisiveness, President Trump, retweeted the video/audio tweet to his 80 million Twitter followers (which was later deleted). Trump’s Press Secretary claimed that DJT did not hear any of the recorded audio from this video. Rather, the reason he retweeted this tweet may stem from all the love and adulation those geriatric individuals were showing ‘you know who’ during the parade.
Based on this viewed video clip, most in pro-Trump golf cart parade just shouted words of encouragement and support for Trump and waved the POTUS favorite flag (a little hint, it wasn’t Old Glory). A few obscene gestures and taunting by parade participants but hardly serious confrontation.
Regarding the anti-Trump faction, there were some vocal protestors captured on video yelling at those in the parade which included several protestors yelling obscenities to those participants which hardly shines a positive light there in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown. I will interject here to say that I didn’t see one participant on either side of this wide divide don a protected face mask. You may feel strongly about your position and beliefs but that does not mean very close verbal confrontations have to occur – especially during a pandemic and without protective equipment. Think close shouting, laughing, and some verbal disputes which could quickly put The Villages back on the negative news loop. The parade appeared to later end with a whimper – one must realize the physical ability of these 70 and 80-year-old retirees.
This pro-Trump rally appears to be the biggest news from The Villages since October ’19 when Trump came to The Villages and said he would protect the federal government’s Medicare program from “socialism.” (I realize Trump was preaching to his base, especially in this primarily conservative community but the irony here is that Medicare is part of socialized medicine.)
Shortly after the news broke, a spokesman for The Villages said that person who made that racist remark was not from The Villages. However, according to the Miami Herald article published on 06/29/20, his name is Roger Stokes, a retired firefighter from Miami who is a resident of The Villages. Even if The Villages’ representative was correct that this man was not a member of The Villages, it may be possible to conclude that this racist comment by Mr. Stokes is something that some parade participants may say privately but don’t mention publicly.
Anyway, that one comment that made the national spotlight in no time does some damage to The Villages, also referred to as Florida's Friendliest Hometown? Perhaps the adage that ‘one bad apple spoils the whole bunch’ may apply in this situation. All will be forgotten if The Villages avoids such negative press during the next few years.
Dear Retirees at The Villages:
Before I get started, you all realize that your vote in Florida, a swing state is critically important, thanks to the archaic Electoral College system that's still in place. On to the substance of my letter.
Dear Retirees at The Villages:
We all know that many of you that reside here have plenty of disposable time to critically think and try to understand the current political affairs of the United States -- days before Independence Day number 244 in '20. I'll give you a mulligan when you cast your ballot for DJT in 2016 – I kind of get it, you couldn't stomach another Clinton at 1600 Pennsylvania and wanted to ‘drain the swamp’ and change Washington D.C. for good. But after 41 months of this administration, my attempt at being objective can’t quite wrap my teeth around the continued strong support for the POTUS after all his failings, especially the first 6 months of ’20. In other words, it's beyond my intellectual comprehension if you still support this man.
Think social and civil unrests, Covid-19, high unemployment, company health care gone due to layoffs, and the latest news regarding how Trump appears to be much more comfortable with our adversaries (dictators) instead of our allies. He's a divider and not an uniter.
Speaking of mulligan’s, let’s look back at one character issue during the last 30 years considering our POTUS. As some who critically consume the news, Trump was notorious for regularly cheating at golf. This has been commonly reported by journalists and politicians years before our last Presidential election. Business folks say that all the time, "You learn so much about one’s character on the links," that’s why business people like to play golf with other business people to determine their character. If you knew President Trump automatically to take mulligan after mulligan on bad shots on the golf course, isn’t that enough information to determine that type of character doesn’t qualify for the Oval Office?
Ok, you missed the mark in '16 but you can make up for it by choosing a new direction in 2020. Our country's health and future depend on it.