How dare they. How dare people drive through the campus of an Ivy League university playing the national anthem and waving US flags!
That was the reaction of some students at Brown University where, in the wake of American flags being desecrated on Veterans Day, “a group of 10 to 12 vehicles drove through campus” engaged in those activities as well as “beep[ing] their horns,” according to Deputy Chief of Campus Police Paul Shanley.
You can probably guess with a high degree of accuracy how this was met by students: The Herald’s sub-headline says the patriotic “counter”-protesters “le[ft] students feeling daunted.”
“It felt incredibly intimidating,” student Katherine Jiménez said, adding that “it felt very white nationalist and alt-right.”
“I was at Sears Hall, and when I looked out there were all of these white people in these white trucks” […] Jiménez ’19 said, confirming that the group appeared to be exclusively white. She added that some of the vehicles bore American and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. “They were being very loud and roaming the area,” she said. …
“I called DPS, and they told me that they knew it was going to happen,” Jiménez said, adding that she was told that “DPS along with the Providence Police would be overseeing the so-called protest.” She added that she was told the protest would end by 5:30 p.m. and that DPS had not received any complaints about the motorcade. …
In a post on the public Facebook group “Resist Hate RI,” Elisabeth Hubbard wrote that she saw at least 20 vehicles circling the College Hill neighborhood “complete with a Dixie horn.”
“They noisily circled several times and then sped off like cowards,” Hubbard wrote. “I just witnessed a horrible act of intimidation.”
“It’s come here, guys,” Hubbard wrote to the group. “We need to be vigilant.”
“Hate” in the minds of Brown students is displaying items of national pride, but trashing those very symbols on a day dedicated to those who serve(d) the country is … what, exactly?
And remember — it doesn’t matter how the protest actually transpired. It felt “intimidating” … and felt “alt-right.” And that means it was.