President Donald Trump is holding his first rally of the new year in El Paso, Texas on Monday.

It will be within shouting distance of where possible presidential candidate, former member of the House of Representatives, and the man who almost beat Ted Cruz, Beto O’Rourke, will be speaking as part of the March for Truth event just blocks away.

March officials said “We will unite to enjoy music, entertainment, and great company with the backdrop of our vibrant, multi-cultural region. We look forward to showcasing our local talent and creating a family-friendly event that El Paso will be proud to promote to the rest of America.. El Paso is a strong and safe community because of its people and its values. Border communities are a place of opportunity and hope. Trump’s fixation on a border wall and his distortions of life in El Paso and along the border are unacceptable. Our communities will always stand to include immigrants, oppose racism, and defend the truth. All of us must make a choice about whether we stand up for the truth or allow Trump to degrade our dignity and rights.”

Beto is a native of El Paso and not only did he represent them in the House of Representatives, he served on the El Paso City Council from 2005 to 2011.

Mayor Dee Margo: El Paso was NEVER one of the MOST dangerous cities in the US. We‘ve had a fence for 10 years and it has impacted illegal immigration and curbed criminal activity. It is NOT the sole deterrent. Law enforcement in our community continues to keep us safe #SOTU

Prior to his speech Beto O’Rourke will join a one-mile march from a local high school along the border, past the site of Trump’s event at the El Paso County Coliseum and ending at a sports center located across the street on the other side of a field from the coluseum where Trump will be speaking.

According to Mother Jones, O’Rourke’s counter-rally, The March for Truth, ending at the Chalio Acosta Sports Center where O’Rourke and others will speak and perform, was organized with dozens of community advocacy groups and partners, including Border Network for Human Rights and Women’s March El Paso. US Rep. Veronica Escobar, a Democratic ally who won O’Rourke’s former seat in Congress last year, who will join the event. 60 local musicians including Fixed Idea, Radio La Chusma, Sinbuenos, and mariachis will perform on Monday evening at a “Celebration of El Paso” event at 7 p.m. local time — across the street from Trump’s rally and at the same time it is set to begin. The events will feature music and other speakers,. They are intended to highlight El Paso’s strength as a binational community — and push back against Trump’s long-sought border wall. (Alternet)

O’Rourke, who  famously was once part of a punk rock group, may play with some of the bands, thus cementing his creds with millennials. If you’ve just awakened from a coma, read Rolling Stone’s “Beto O’Rourke Shares the Story of His Old Band, Foss — and a Single.”

We know how Trump thrives on the adoration from his crowds, even if they are concoctions of his vivid self-aggrandizing imagination. He even just changed his Twitter image from one of him speaking at a campaign-style rally to him addressing the joint session of Congress for his State of the Union speech, hardly a venue filled with glassy-eyed MAGA-tized supporters.

The El Paso County Coliseum is a small venue as far as Texas stadiums go with seating for only 6,500 and (according to Wikipedia) was originally built for rodeos and livestock shows, but later expanded to cater other types of events. A variety of events that have been held at the Coliseum have included hockey, high school graduations, basketball, boxing, circuses, concerts, dog shows, flower shows, icecapades, roller derby, and more. It even was once used to house prisoners of war. This may prove to be its highest profile event yet filling its seats to the rafters. If not it will be a humiliation to the president if he can’t even find 6,500 hundred sycophants to waste their time listening to the same old same old presidential rants when they could be marching with Beto.

Let’s not forget that when he was running for Senate Beto O’Rourke, with a little help from fellow Texan Willie Nelson brought out a crowd of 50,000 at the “Vote Em Out” concert in Austin where the “Red Headed Stranger” wore a “Beto for Senate” t-shirt and sang “”If you don’t like who’s in there, vote ’em out/That’s what election day is all about, and the biggest gun we’ve got is called the ballot box,”

Monday looks to be a lovely partly cloudy southern Texas day with temperatures in the mid-fifties. I know where I’ll be: at home watching the split screen battle of the band of bandits and the band of Beto which Mother Jones calls “a master class in trolling.”


From El Paso’s Spanish language newspaper online:

Chocarán línea dura republicana y visión pro inmigrante de Beto O’Rourke

El Paso, national battlefield:
Will hit Republican hard line and pro immigrant vision of Beto O’Rourke

Partial translated excerpt:

Will hit Republican hard line and pro immigrant vision of Beto O’Rourke

A national ideological battle will take place in El Paso on Monday afternoon during President Donald Trump’s visit to this city.

The president comes to El Paso accompanied by the toughest wing of the Republican Party: Vice President Mike Pence, Governor Greg Abbott, as well as Senator Ted Cruz.

Two visions of the United States will be seen face to face. On the one hand, the president of the United States will try to convince his base of the urgency of the border wall; on the other, Beto O’Rourke and activists will hold a march and a rally against the President.

“While some try to stoke fear and paranoia, spread lies and a false narrative about the US-Mexico border, and demand a 2,000 mile long wall at a record moment of safety, El Paso will join for a March and a celebration that highlights the truth, “O’Rourke said in a statement, in a veiled reference to Trump.


Related column 1/25/19:  Democrats should embrace open borders.

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