Nobody Is Above the Law Protest March, Burlington, Vermont
It was cold November evening, when I walked over with my Leica in my hands to the U.S. Post Office that is located on Elmwood Street and Pearl Street in Burlington, Vermont. On my arrival to the front of the post office, I was actually shocked to see hundreds of Vermonters that were gathered near the sidewalk and they began flowing out into the streets. Observing them closely, I noticed that the majority of them were middle class men and women, young students, along with mothers with their small children, and old men like myself, holding up signs. They were listening to marching instructions, before they marched up to the streets that led to City Hall.
I followed them by walking up front in the procession along with other photographers, as the night came on with its bright city lights. There were stars out, and gray clouds drifted along with moonlight spreading out across the skies. The protest chants were poignant, as the people called for the protection of Robert Muller and his investigation of the Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election. What angered the Vermonters the most was the tweet by Donald Trump in which he had tweeted “We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States. He will serve our Country well.” The people in their chants mocked Trump and Whitaker who in their obvious, crude ruse, would now try and end, or shut-down the Trump-Russia probe that was part of the Muller investigation. The massive protesters’ language against Trump and Whitaker was almost violent in the stinging cold night air, and I sensed the hostility was serious.
As the Vermonters moved toward the part of Church Street in front of Burlington’s City Hall, I suddenly thought of those Germans who had marched in the streets of Berlin and the other cities of Germany as Hitler began to make his move towards solidifying his hold on the German people and the German people, before the complete fascist deluge. Suddenly, a young man in the massive crowd yelled out “The deluge, the deluge is here like it was in Germany!” and I heard others say “Germany, Germany!” in a mocking tone, and there was a hush in the crowd, before the protest leaders began their speeches railing against Trump’s tyrannical behavior, and there was rancor and hatred in the way they spoke of Whitaker.
I thought of the first days of the American Civil War, and I found myself being more pensive and more involved as the historian in what I was noticing about the Vermonters in their political rage against Trump on a robust and cold November night. I turned on my IPhone, and with the help of a university student, created a Live Feed of the protesters leaders’ speeches from the cement balcony of the classical New England building. I realized that my photos were nothing compared to what I would retain of what I heard in these peoples voices and body language this November night. Now all the political hatred was coming out in the open against Trump and his lackeys, and the crowd made it very clear with their harsh chant “Nobody is above the law!”, and their repeated shouts of “Democracy, Democracy, Democracy” were like fragments of meteorite slags falling across the earth, and now more than ever, I understood why I had read Tocqueville over and over again to understand this country of my birth.