On March 4, a ‘Trump / Spirit of America Rally’ was held at the Knoxville’s Victor Ashe Park. We talked to supporters of President Donald Trump to find out why they chose to attend. About 75 people were at the Knoxville event. It was one of about 50 such rallies across the nation, including another rally in Nashville, Tennessee. About fifteen people protested without incident.
Roberta and John Dennis live in Roane County, Tennessee. Roberta is a realtor and John works as a truck driver.
John Dennis: I think both parties have compromised their standards. I am not partisan – not Democratic or Republican. I didn’t care for our past president, but for eight years I prayed for him.
Roberta Dennis: Trump is against late term abortion and so I am.
Robin Delph, retired, lives in Knoxville.
Delph: I am here to support our President, our country and I am very patriotic. All the opposition, it’s so ugly. I think we need to stand up for what we believe in – God, country and family. God needs to be the center of your life. He is real because I know him. I think God sent Trump to help us. I never prayed for a presidential election until now. I felt like if the opposition was elected, we’d lose all our freedoms, our rights.
Chris Trentham attended the rally with his son Zion Trentham. They live in Knox County, Tennessee. Chris Trentham works in customer service.
Chris Trentham: I’m here just to show support for the President. I really agree with that movement and this is a way to keep them moving forward. For me, it’s shifting the focus to what America needs and what’s wrong with America. We need to take care of our own. I am not with either party, I am American. I voted for Trump.
Anthony Allen is an engineer and computer scientist in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Allen: What makes me come out here today? To support Donald J. Trump, to support America and to protest against the far left Democrats – they have been out rioting and looting. We seen over the top – people doing rude and crude things. I call it sore losers. I’m here to let people know that there are conservative Christians that support Americans. We didn’t riot and loot during the eight years of the Obama Administration. We are called racists and bigots because we disagree.
Susan Eiland, of Knoxville, is a mortgage banker.
Eiland: I am here to support our President. I think he’s being unfairly picked on for not doing anything wrong. I think the media and the liberals need to give him a chance. I think they prejudged him. Instead of being open-minded, they’re being closed minded.
Students Hallie Lafon, left, and Caleb Townsend are from Maryville, Tennessee.
Lafon: I am here to make friends, support the President that I trust and to get different views points. I expected there would be protestors. As a female member of the LGBT community, it’s important to get our voice heard. The media is not the enemy – the enemy of the people is biased media.
In the beginning it was scary. Pence, I don’t like. I am afraid of him. But, I am more accepted in the right wing. People in the left wing don’t support diversity of intellect – they support diversity of skin, background and sexuality. But the right wing, while they don’t support homosexuality, they do support me being out and they support my opinions. Some people said, I was ‘going to hell,’ and ‘Jesus doesn’t love me.’ But my friends support me.
Townsend: I love being patriotic and show my support for the new President.
Cindy Elliott of Knoxville was one of the Trump, Knoxville event organizers.
Elliott: After the election I thought, ‘What do I do?’ I went to the booth in November. I voted for somebody and now all this? I feel Trump was truly elected by the people.
In ‘100 Days, 100 Voices’ Nancy Andrews presents photographs depicting the diversity of voices across Appalachia. These portraits strive to show the varied faces, passions, issues and opinions from around the region. These interviews have been edited for brevity and clarity. If you have an idea for ‘100 Days, 100 Voices’ please contact Nancy Andrews on Twitter @NancyAndrews or email at nancy.andrews [at] mail.wvu.edu.