OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Johnson County saw people engaged politics and exercising their right to free speech Saturday. People on both sides of the aisle met at separate events in Johnson County.
Hillary Shields is a member of Indivisible KC, a non-partisan group which promotes citizen engagement with elected officials. Shield is helping people channel passion into action. She said, “There’s a lot of passion that’s been stirred up by this recent election. We need to engage with our elected representatives throughout their terms in office, and that’s really the only way they’ll be able to represent us.”
The grassroots organization held a training session in Overland Park Saturday morning. Speakers taught people how to take part in the political system and how to contact local elected representatives.
Attendee Jake Lupardus said, “I’m not sure I’d want the guy [President Donald Trump] running an organization, let alone running the country.” Lupardus said he speaks for American values and that we deserve better than our current president. “It’s a bad look for America. At its lowest level, it’s just a bad look overall for our country,” said Lupardus.
At the same time, down the road near the Overland Park Convention Center, several hundred people met in support of President Trump. Organizer Cheryl Degler said, “What happened in the campaign was just rhetoric to get people’s attention. It didn’t really describe who Trump was. He’s a very successful businessman, and he’s going to turn this country very successful.”
The Spirit of America rally was one of dozens planned in cities across the U.S. Saturday, celebrating Trump and his administration. Veteran David Snelling appreciates what he calls Trump’s strengths as a businessman. “There’s never been a doubt in my mind how patriotic he is, how much he loves this country,” Snelling said.
Though they disagree on policy and on the president, both these metro men meet in the middle when it comes to democracy. Snelling said, “Get out and educate people about it, get in contact with your representatives, your congressmen.” Lupardus said, “Being a part of the process is really what we’re here for. We want to know what we can all do to make sure our voices are heard.”