By JAMES SWIFT
A demonstration in support of President Donald Trump drew dozens to downtown Cartersville Saturday morning, with the 9 a.m. turnout alone easily numbering 50-plus participants.
“We are just pro re-elect President Trump and the agendas he stands for, which is back the blue, law and order, Second Amendment rights, Constitutionalists, pro-life,” said one of the event’s organizers, Bartow County resident Molly Chatman. “We’re just all supporters of that and we wanted to represent that.”
Another co-organizer of the event, Jennifer Hodgkinson, said the demonstration was intended to raise awareness about human trafficking.
Some demonstrators held signs with messages like “children’s lives matter” and “dead pedophiles don’t reoffend, change my mind.”
Others held signs referencing several online “conspiracy theories” — although in the eyes of many demonstrators in Cartersville Saturday, such are anything but mere internet hearsay.
Count Adairsville’s John Hazelwood among the true believers.
“We want to bring awareness to what’s going on with the sex trafficking of underage children, especially,” he said. “Obviously, we’re pro-Trump, we’re pro-Second Amendment and we just want to bring awareness into our community.”
One demonstrator carried a sign reading “Pizzagate is real.” The FBI describes that theory as a “fringe political” belief that “high ranking Democratic officials are or were involved in a child sex trafficking ring centered at the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C.”
Although such accusations have led to zero arrests to date, Hazelwood is adamant that “Pizzagate” is anything but a far-fetched rumor.
“They had this logo, and it was kind of like code that they have underage sex workers,” the 50-year-old alleged. “You go in there and order a code word, like you want on your pizza, ‘anchovies.’ Well, that means you may be into Asian children.”
Hazelwood said he has a “higher calling” to expose such purported crimes against children.
“My lord and savior, Jesus Christ, he says if you hurt one of these little ones, it’s better to hang a millstone around your neck and be tossed and drown in the sea,” he said.
However, Hazelwood said he’s not aware of just how prevalent sex trafficking is in Bartow.
“I’m not up on the exact facts, and I don’t want to speak nothing here today but facts,” he said.
Chatman said she believes human trafficking is indeed a global problem.
“It’s worldwide, actually, I don’t think there’s any place that it’s not happening,” she said.
“Given the covert character of the crime, accurate statistics on the nature, prevalence and geography of human trafficking are difficult to calculate,” the authors of the report stated.
Other demonstrators at Saturday’s gathering brought signs that mentioned the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“An 18-week unborn baby dreams of love, not for their fetal cell lines used in a COVID-19 vaccine,” one poster board read.
Considering the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chatman said she is unsure how November’s presidential election may be conducted.
“I trust the plan of what President Trump, whatever he issues, and what he thinks is best for the country, I’ll support that,” she said. “I think we’ll be at the polls in November, and I think he’ll win by a landslide.”
Hazelwood summed up what he considered the overriding political message of the event.
“Well, we definitely want Trump to be reelected, because we don’t want to go into a Marxist situation,” he said. “We definitely don’t want to lose our rights that we already have and that our president, Donald Trump, has worked so hard for.”
Chatman boiled down the overall intent of the rally a little differently.
“Turn off the mainstream media, the television and look deeper than what you’re told,” she said. “And just get really honest with yourself and your research.”