OAK LAWN, IL — Supporters of President Donald Trump flanked the intersection at 95th Street and Cicero Avenue nine days before the election to show their love for the president and the police.
Cathy O’Shea, who said she was a lifelong Democrat until 2016 when she crossed party lines and voted for Trump, organized Sunday’s “Trump-Back the Blue” rally. O'Shea said she’s been a Republican ever since that year and was so inspired by the president that she ran in the GOP primary for Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District.
“The Democrats are anti-American,” O’Shea said of her conversion. “Trump needs our help. We need to get the House and Senate. I predict a massive red wave."
Although O’Shea wore a red MAGA face mask, most rally attendees didn’t. Although Trump is under fire for his handling of the pandemic, which has killed over 225,000 Americans, O’Shea thinks he has done an excellent job handling it, imposing travel restrictions on China. The news media are just fearmongering, she said.
“COVID is real, and no one is saying it’s not,” O’Shea said above the honking horns. “I’ve known a lot of people who’ve had it. The cases on the news, they don’t say they’re home and fine. [The news media] has everyone believing everybody's in the ER or on a ventilator, and that’s not so. They need to be more specific when they say there’s so many cases.”
O'Shea says she'd rather be in Washington but that she is still fighting for America. She attended a Trump MAGA rally in Wisconsin, which she described as “electric.”
“He brings on energy,” O’Shea said.
At the beginning of pandemic, she encouraged Oak Lawn Mayor Sandra Bury not to enforce the governor’s stay-at-home order.
“I told the mayor she didn’t have to shut down businesses,” said O’Shea, who is rumored to be contemplating her own run for mayor next April. “[Bury] didn’t want to defy the governor. We need leaders, not followers.”
Devon Jones, the Republican committeeman for Chicago’s Democrat-heavy 18th Ward, said he doesn’t take flak for being Black and supporting the president.
“I know people have a visceral reaction to President Trump,” said Jones, who lives in the city’s Ashburn neighborhood. “I really try to express his policies, the judges he’s appointed, and all the things he’s done, not just for the Black community."
Most of the problems people experience in Chicago and in the Black community are because of the city’s municipal leaders, such as Mayors Lori Lightfoot, Rahm Emanuel and Richard M. Daley, and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx — not Trump, Jones said.
“It’s our politicians who are there on the ground, the Bobby Rushes with their abandoned churches,” he added.
Standing with his buddies by a pickup truck displaying an extensive collection of Trump flags, a man named Jake said the reaction to the flag-waving Trump supporters had been more positive than negative.
“I’m here to support our president, support our police and support our country,” Jake said.
At the beginning of the rally, attendees told Patch that someone threw eggs and a drink at them from a passing car. A few broken egg yolks and shells stained the sidewalk.
A Trump supporter who did not wish to give her name said an egg hit one of her flags. She complained that some anti-Trump supporters drove by with the rapper YG’s “F--- Donald Trump” song blasting with their small children in the car.
Rally attendee Angela said she wasn't intimidated by the long lines for early voting that have been shattering records throughout the country.
“Real Trump supporters come out on Nov. 3 after 5 p.m. when they get off work,” Angela said.
Nathan, in town visiting his parents from battleground state of Arizona, was watching Oak Lawn Patch’s Facebook Live video as Patch filmed the rally.
“I saw the comments. A lot of people say it’s disgusting that we’re supporting Trump,” he said. “All that matters is who wins. It makes me smile.”
He said he doesn’t believe the polls that show Trump trailing Democratic candidate Joe Biden, just as the 2016 polls showed Trump trailing Hillary Clinton. That’s because Nathan and his friends in Arizona have been telling pollsters they’re voting for Biden “just to mess with them.”
“There are a lot of secret Trump supporters,” Nathan said, predicting a second term for the president. “There are silent Trump supporters who aren’t honking.”
~ Video by Lorraine Swanson/Patch