A few days ago I came across this open letter from Seaside Brewing. In it, the owner mentions a rally on August 8th at which Trump supporters exercised their rights to open carry. Customers at the brewery expressed concern, many saying they would not be back to Seaside — a town that has depended on tourism for decades. Jimmy, the owner of Seaside Brewing, went to a city council meeting and expressed his concern, requesting that the safety and comfort of the community and visitors be the top priority. As a result, his business became a target and a protest using his location was staged by the gun-carrying Trump supporters.
I decided I wanted to support a business that is willing to take a stand. Not a political stand, but a human one; a stand that maintained respect, decency, and the rights of ALL to enjoy a peaceful drink, good food, and the opportunity to discuss different views. So, I showed up at the brewery today to get a beer, intentionally arriving when the planned protest against them was supposed to start. I wanted to see it for myself.
When I arrived this afternoon, there were 20–30 people on each side of the street. The Trump supporters were across the street from the brewery with flags, signs and their beliefs. The business supporters were in front of and around the brewery with flags, signs and their beliefs. Police were making their presence highly visible on both sides of the street. And many people — including some families with kids — were within the brewery’s outdoor seating area enjoying a beer, and watching.
I witnessed yelling through blow horns by the Trump supporters be met with the beating of drums and music. I head one person mention that just one of the Trump supporters had a small pistol — nothing like the rally on the 8th at all.
I was there for only about 20–25 minutes before the Trump supporters packed up and left. Maybe I got there at the tail end of things (after all, I wasn’t exactly part of the “in” crowd for planning and could have gotten the time wrong). Maybe they hadn’t intended to be there long in the first place. Maybe there was a smaller crowd than they thought there’d be. I don’t know.
But I was there long enough to see at least one thing that made a real impact on me.
After many months of seeing only the stories on the media with their various biases shining through, I witnessed first-hand human beings standing for what they believed in. Human beings with families, friends, and neighbors waiting for them at home. Human beings who didn’t agree on how things should be in the world around them, but showed up with far more similarities than differences in an effort to create a world they believed would be good for the future of this country.
Human beings who were simply… humans being.
I have my own beliefs and biases. Yet, I also wonder what might happen if we stopped condemning each other and started seeing each other as human first, and political beliefs last.
I am aware that there is much more that is going to be revealed this year. We are still very much within the cocoon of imaginal cells melting down into the chaotic mix of possibilities not yet formed. For many, this time is full of fear, uncertainty, and an ongoing sense of things falling apart.
I believe we are living through a time when an old paradigm that no longer works is dying. It is natural for those who are most invested in it to fight hardest at the end in an effort to retain what they are most familiar with — we have all done something similar at some point in our lives. It’s a survival instinct to keep the familiar, even if it’s not working, rather than dive into the utterly unknown. Diving into the utterly unknown tends to trigger a total self-identify crises that leaves us feeling vulnerable.
This does not mean that those who are most attached to saving the old ways are “bad” in any way. They are no more to blame for their lashing out at others than a wild animal that’s injured and trapped. The survival instinct to protect themselves and their way of life is strong. Countless have died across several millennia defending their way of life against those who threaten it — for better or worse.
But nature has shown us that all will be well. Only trees that are healthy lose their leaves. Spring follows winter. What is released and allowed to die provides the nutrients for new life. Death is not the end. It is only part of the cycle of life itself. A birth is also coming. The imaginal cells will reform and the caterpillar that entered the cocoon will exit it with colorful wings and a whole different perspective on the world.
What I saw today was a community grappling with its differences while conversations continued over good food and good beer. I only wish those on either side of the street would have sat together in the outdoor seating area.
I highly recommend the stout, by the way.