Brian Hester Reporting
July 3, 2020
As promised, the update as to the change of plans. Originally the plan was to drive to Devils Tower for the day on July 3. Well way back when we, my wife and I, planned this trip, the plan was to see Mt. Rushmore on the Fourth of July. Then we learned of Con Don’s plan to be there on July 3rd so we shuffled our plans to avoid 45 altogether. We went to visit Mt. Rushmore a few days earlier, see previous report. After surveying the landscape I realized that with my trusty Sony A7r IV and a 200 mm lens with a converter, that I might be able to get a shot of the fireworks over Mt. Rushmore from a safe distance of up to 10 – 12 miles away. The entire trip was planned with the design of avoiding close contact with large crowds due to the Covid beast. So, the plan changed. I found a spot along a trail that had a great view and should not be crowded. Decided to visit Deadwood, don’t waste your time, and then swim in a lake in the Black Hills National Park and then head to the trail, alone, isolated, just me and my isolation partner, my wife.
Again, we plan, and the Universe laughs. All was going well with the Deadwood visit and the lake swim but as we tried to access our section of the park that was to remain open we could not as a large group of Native Americans were protesting Trump’s visit to the land that was stolen from them. This was better than any picture could hope to capture. More power to the Native Americans for standing up against Dirty Donny. After two hours of driving around trying to get a view to Rushmore without getting close to any crowds. As fate would have it we ended up in a hotel parking lot on the edge of a town called Keystone, SD. In another odd twist, a friend from college texted to ask if I was still in SD as she had seen my posts and she was in Keystone. She offered to let us watch from her hotel balcony. Very nice of her. Unfortunately, we would have had to walk several blocks through crowds of unmasked Trump supporters. Not worth the risk. We did not quarantine for 3 months to walk through this crowd of losers. More on that later. First, we start with Deadwood, SD.
Deadwood. A tacky tourist trap filled with low end gambling halls, tee shirt sellers, and storefronts and window displays celebrating prostitution. This town should be avoided at all costs. Do not waste your time. After seeing so many MAGA hats and Trump tees all over SD, I did not expect Deadwood to be any different. I was pleasantly surprised to find an anti-Trumper, a woman wearing an anti-Trump tee shirt. I had to speak with her. Turns out she is a long-time town resident that had moved here from Minnesota many years ago. She shared her views on Trump and told us that she had encountered some very vocal opposition to her shirt. I understand. I will need stiches from biting me tongue so much in South Dakota. Probably would not be smart to engage Trump supports when so outnumbered. They operate in a mob mentality. We have all seen the videos of them beating the hell out of the one person that disagreed with them at a rally. The POTUS encouraged the crowd to pummel the man. Sad.
I could no longer resist the urge. I walked into a tee shirt shop that had displayed several pro-Trump tee shirts in the window. I asked the woman behind the counter if the Trump shirts sold well. She replied that they sell well all year long. I told her I was very surprised by that fact. I further explained that with the nationwide toilet paper shortage in March and April I could certainly see the shirts being big sellers, you know cut them up right and you could a dozen wipes from each shirt. The look on her face was priceless. She went ballistic. Told me he is the greatest president that this country has ever had. I asked her if she paid taxes. She said yea what has that got to do with anything. I explained that her dear Donny had not paid income tax in 3 decades. I told her he is a con man and crook. She threw me out of her store. No worries, it’s not like I was going to buy any of her shirts, the toilet paper shortage is long over now. Deadwood, dead to me, don’t waste your time.
Fast forward to later that day. After being turned around and redirected by an army of SD State troopers and an army of local volunteers we ended up trapped on the edge of Keystone, a small town nestled in the foothills of Mt. Rushmore. Population 320. This town is also tourist driven like Deadwood but at least this town has an actual tourist attraction. As we ended up forced to the outskirts, we parked on a hillside a few blocks outside of town and walked to get a closer look. Several hundred Trump supporters lined the street of this one block stretch. They could be overheard asking each other if “He” had driven through yet. They are so smart, really a special bunch. Did these rubes think the POTUS was going to drive through their little town on his way to Mt. Rushmore? They exploded in cheers as Airforce One flew over head and then later as Presidential helicopters roared by overhead. Still after seeing this most of the crowd was still looking to see his motorcade drive through town. Special.
We ended up in a parking lot on a hilltop overlooking Mt. Rushmore. This lot grew more and more packed with unmasked, drunken rowdy Trumpers. As the program began with several very expensive flyovers the crowds roared. Many had the live Fox News YouTube stream playing at high volumes for all to hear. The crowd cheered with each of Trumps Hitler-like comments. I was ashamed that these are m fellow countrymen. Racist and rotten to the core. I kept my mouth shut. I am very anti-Trump but also pro-survival. I saw one large group of 20 people taking a group photo. No masks. All ages. Infants to the elderly. Even though I despise their political views I pray that they do not meet Covid head on.
The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. Fireworks. Hotdogs. Cookouts. Celebrating our national rebellious freedom loving ways. This year will be no different. As I watched all of the big pick up trucks driving around with the giant American flags side by side with their Trump flags I feel as though they are attempting to change the meaning of our patriotic symbol. I will not allow anyone to steal the what Our flag means to me and so many others. It means hope, freedom, a promise of a better tomorrow. Join me in reclaiming Our American flag on this Fourth of July. God Bless The USA.
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