I have trouble understanding what makes a person fly a flag or put a bumper sticker on their car in support of a political candidate. If you believe in democracy, you should believe that whoever is elected, regardless of the party they are from, represents all Americans — the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick, the educated and the unedcuated, those who voted for him or her and those who didn’t.
Sadly, this is not the America we live in today. America in 2020 is a bifurcated nation clinging to the thinnest of fibers holding our democratic republic together. The chasm that splits the American populace runs deeper and darker than mere politics. It is an increasingly sharp gap splitting those who believe in an America for all and those who believe in an America for some.
That American bifurcation was evident this afternoon in Doylestown, Pa. Those on the side of equality gathered at the four corners of State and Main in the center of town, brandishing signs and chants in support of women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, science, and democracy. A small gathering formed near the old county courthouse, wielding signs and familiar red baseball hats that have become synonymous with a political party hell-bent on ripping basic human rights from their fellow citizens and destroying democracy from within. This smaller contingent awaited a caravan of vehicles rallying in support of the president* and candidate they worship.
And that’s where my troubled understanding of the current state of politics starts. Those gathered in the center of town weren’t there to chant for a candidate, though a few did hold signs with the candidate’s name on them. They were there in support of the rights and lives of others. Those at the courthouse and in the caravan chanted for their candidate like he was the return of Christ, giant flags waving out of their sunroofs and truck beds as if it was a Super Bowl celebration parade.
I captured a few images from the events. I’ve chosen to only include the images from the gathering in the center of town. My role as a photographer is to capture a glimpse of the world around me, to freeze moments in time for future generations. But with that comes an ethical obligation not to exploit those who have become detached from reality and lack the cognitive ability to understand their vulnerablity in falling prey to a sociopathic cult leader.