SEASIDE HEIGHTS – With Election Day right around the corner and the presidential race heating up with a barrage of commercials following the two major party conventions, some supporters of Donald J. Trump came out to express their support on the borough boardwalk.
It was described as a spontaneous rally with no organizing leader stepping forward, though that didn’t stop about 40 people from marching along the boardwalk wearing Trump hats, T-shirts, pins and carrying flags and banners.
Supporters saw a short message that was circulating on social media and while there were no speeches made, they weren’t shy about communicating why they felt the president deserved another four years in office.
Ted and Nancy Peterson learned about the event and knew they had to attend. The couple from Toms River sported shirts and hats that proclaimed their support of President Trump. “He’s for the little guy. He’s for us, for the Americans. A lot of times I think he is demonized. They twist his words and make him sound like he’s not for us but for Russia or China or somewhere else and he’s not,” Nancy Peterson said.
“We want to show our support because while a lot of people do support him many are afraid to show it,” she added, noting that while she had her pink “2020 Make America Great Again” ball cap for almost a year, she was afraid to wear it public unless it was at special rally events.
Despite Ocean County being a very red county in a very blue state on the political spectrum the Petersons said they were leery of putting up a Trump flag. “I don’t want to have any damage to my house or my car but I put the American flag out and I think that shows exactly the same thing.”
Her husband who sported an identical cap in red added, “he’s a good man.”
They sat on a bench waiting to see if the event would feature a march or if it was simply a call for Trump supporters to come out in Trump attire, banners and flags. Nancy Peterson said she and her husband had attended a Point Pleasant Beach Trump rally held a few months ago.
The Caldaro family, also of Toms River came out to see what was happening. Jack Caldaro was joined by his adult daughters Jackie and Stephanie for the rally.
When asked about the upcoming election Jack Caldaro said he felt “with the mail-in ballots I think it is going to be a ruse. There will be so much cheating if it is a close race, we won’t find out who the president is until months after the election.”
“The politicians are making the whole world divisive. Constantly lying. If the president came out and cured cancer the Democrats would find something wrong. I wasn’t a Democrat or a Republican I always voted for individuals. Now it got to a point that you have to vote Republican to get this garbage out. He’s doing a fantastic job,” he said.
His daughter Stephanie said four years ago she was attracted to Trump being a businessman and not a politician. “I said let’s try something new and see what happens. Things are so racially charged, politically charged and it is just out of control. They want to control us it seems. If you get political and wear things you are seen as scary.” Unlike her sister and father, she did not sport any Trump attire.
“I don’t want to be scared in America,” she added. “I wanted something different and he gave us something different and I’m proud of what he’s doing or the country.”
“I totally agree with my sister. They don’t look at the good things he’s doing,” Jackie Caldaro said.
Noriko Kowalewski is the president of the Ocean County Federation of Republican Women. She came out with her 24-year-old son Tom Kowalewski. She watched the recent Republican National Conference describing it as “uplifting and patriotic and gave us good feelings about our future under President Trump.”
“My whole life has been the same Bush and Obama and I don’t want it to go back to the same. I’m young I want him to remain,” her son said in support of Trump.
South Toms River Councilmen Thomas Rolzhausen and Sandford Ross came out sporting Trump shirts and hats. “We need to turn all of New Jersey red,” Ross said.
“This is a very important election and the way the world is going with their (Democrats) socialist agenda we need Trump to be in there,” Rolzhauser said.
Patrick Conner traveled from Howell Township for the event with his friends. He is a staunch Trump supporter. “I am voting for Trump because he knows what America started out to be. A free land, patriotic citizens who love their freedom all the amendments and the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and that all holds true today. Biden and the rest want to change everything to what it is not.”
The crowd began to migrate to the center and then decided to march down the boardwalk waving banners and flags and cheering before returning to their starting point. While a few people cheered the impromptu mini parade Manchester resident Aris Sykes expressed her view with a boo as they walked by the boardwalk business she was working at.
“I am not a Trump supporter at all. He is the worst president ever. I feel we have gone backwards in so many ways and that he is promoting violence. There are so many things he could have done differently,” Sykes said.
She noted Trump’s opposition to issues like climate change and that he had encouraged people to engage in violence. “He’s not behaving like a person should behave. He should not be tweeting as the president of the United States.”
“I don’t feel it is a political issue. It is a moral issue. Your moral and your ethics and what you should be standing behind and I feel Trump is not morally or ethically correct so I feel if you still support him after all of these things then I am not morally or ethically aligned with you either,” Sykes added.