Our street protest infrastructure needs revamping here in Palm Beach County.
As you know, the Official 2017-18 President Donald Trump Protest Season kicked off last weekend in West Palm Beach for what promises to be six busy months of weekend street demonstrations and counterdemonstrations.
And one thing is clear. We’ve got some venue issues.
The go-to spot for last year, Bingham Island — the Southern Boulevard Causeway that leads to Trump’s Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago — is unmarchable due to construction.
This is putting undue pressure on the residents of Trump Plaza, a pair of 33-story South Flagler Drive condominiums in West Palm Beach that have Trump’s name but haven’t been owned by Trump for a quarter-century. If the marchers keep showing up outside the condo much longer, I’m afraid the residents will start hiring banner planes to beg for mercy.
“Trump lost the building in foreclosure ages ago!” the banners might read. “Trump doesn’t make a dime here. Please go away.”
While places to protest are limited, the Trump protest and counterprotest industry in Palm Beach County promises to be in demand more so than ever.
That’s because Trump has an inexhaustible supply of protest-prone policies still up his sleeve.
This just in: The Trump administration is reversing an Obama administration policy that banned American hunters from importing elephant tusks and other elephant kill trophies from hunting trips to Zimbabwe and Zambia.
And wait until he raids health care for tax cuts going mostly to corporate donors who will use the extra money to kill more endangered elephants. It’s going be a busy season.
There’s no time to waste. We need to develop a focal point for all the energy/merchandise that will be coming our way.
I’ve got an idea. A Trump statue. A big one. It will serve to let all our protest tourists and residents know where to congregate.
There’s a great spot for it. First, we’ll have to move the statue that’s already there.
I’m talking about the statue of Henry J. Rolfs Sr. that faces the eastbound traffic on Okeechobee Boulevard in front of the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach. The city commissioned the statue of Rolfs in 1994, a posthumous honor to the developer of Uptown/Downtown, the urban renewal project in that area.
The Trump statue would work well in that spot, whether you’re there to praise or bemoan his presidency.
Not only will you, your signs and your elephant costumes be visible to the high volume of passing vehicle traffic on Okeechobee Boulevard and Parker Avenue, but you’re only steps away from the Hilton Hotel that has been used by the traveling White House press corps whenever Trump’s in Palm Beach County.
Even the laziest of reporters will be able to see you out there protesting, and you’ll make for terrific background shots for their stand-up TV reports and their man-on-the-street opinion segments.
Local tourism and business boosters will love it, too. Protesters will be within strolling distance of Kravis shows, shopping and dining at CityPlace and lots of parking at the Palm Beach County Convention Center lot on the south side of the street.
And if there’s some need to spread out for a white supremacist-Antifa showdown, the city’s sprawling Howard Park is right there on Parker Avenue.
Out-of-town protesters will find it convenient to hop off the Tri-Rail commuter train, which stops steps away, and the Palm Tran public bus stops there, too.
Just imagine the larger-than-life Trump statue staring at passing traffic with his upraised imperial jaw, windswept bronze hair, and a wide tie hanging way below his pupik, as his latest tweet flashes on a video screen embedded in the statue’s pedestal.
We need something like that.
It’s not healthy to face these dysfunctional times without a functional protest site.