Politics are serious: Our votes affect livelihoods, freedoms and the pursuit of happiness. But sometimes, politics are unequivocally hilarious.
Dallas photographer Ron Shipp ventured to downtown Dallas on Nov. 14 to document the pro-President Donald J. Trump rally that took the streets to demand a recount of votes — or, more accurately, to stop counting at the point where their man wins.
Shipp says only a few of the people gathered in front of City Hall wore masks, while he wore three masks himself to brave the sea of Trump supporters with his camera.
“The number of conspiracy theories was astronomical, everything from QAnon to space aliens, and some I had to research they were so out there,” Shipp wrote on a Facebook post. “I also learned that Jesus apparently wants his disciples to be well-armed. Who knew?”
Shipp says that while the crowd was met with middle finger greetings from the other side, “the Trump supporters seemed to revel in displaying their dislike for others and to a large degree the residents of downtown, who are a highly diverse group.”
The photographer says he was approached by one Trump supporter, who kept a Trump sign in his pocket and his finger “just off” his gun’s trigger. The man asked Shipp about his hat, which had Cyrillic writing on it, as he had bought it during a trip to the Ukraine. He wanted to know whether Shipp worked for Russian news outlet Pravda.
“I explained that I did not, but that I thought Trump wanted to get along with Putin so what's the issue if I did,” Shipp wrote. “He then stepped toward me menacingly. I further explained that the hat was Ukrainian, not Russian. This apparently further enraged the man who puffed up and took several more steps toward me.”
Shipp said he “had enough of this little man and his gun trying to intimidate me” and told him he should "shove his gun up his ass,” which caught the man by surprise, and he turned around and continued marching after making “some strange sounds."
“Never in all the protests around downtown Dallas have I ever been threatened for my photography, much less by someone with a gun,” Shipp wrote. “The BLM protesters who carry long guns have them shouldered. A far less intimidating stance.”
"The 'Stop the Steal' rally in Dallas on November 14 was to this observer otherworldly," Shipp tells the Observer. "The crowd was large and enthusiastic, nearly rivaling some of the BLM protests earlier in the year. Walking up to the crowd, at best 5 to 10 percent were wearing masks — because science and facts are not their thing.
"The number of conspiracy theories was astronomical and branded on signs, flags, hats and T-shirts," Shipp adds. "A small sampling includes 'QAnon’s the Storm' which espouses that a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles is running a global child sex-trafficking ring, and Trump is going to stop them on Election Day. I don’t think that works out for them."
The day was full of lessons, Shipp says.
"I also learned that Jesus apparently wants his disciples to be well-armed," Shipp says. "This was made clear by the number of people open carrying pistols and assault rifles. Unfortunately, some of them were doing so irresponsibly in a threatening stance, such as having their finger just off the trigger ready to shoot, for the whole three hours."
One woman held a sign saying she had personally witnessed voter fraud.
"I told her the Texas attorney general [Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, actually] was offering $1,000,000 for evidence of election fraud and that she should speak with his office, as her civic duty," Shipp says. "I don’t know that she did.
"The rally ended back at City Hall where the group climbed the stairs and massed tightly around the three giant flags the city flies, in a scene best described as Mount COVID,” Shipp concludes. "I went home and took a long shower and disinfected."
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