This Ausyn Crites thing has me all nostalgic. It calls to mind my own run-in with the Secret Service.
November 6, 2012. I was a freshman at the George Washington University, living in the infamous Thurston Hall dorm. Thirsty Thurston is so close to the White House I could smell the smoke from Obama’s beloved Newports from my bedroom.
It was election night. I’d spent the prior summer as a staffer for the Republican Party, willingly surrendering the last hurrah of youth to fourteen-hour days campaigning for Mitt Romney. A lifelong Romney superfan, this was the moment I’d been waiting for.
The mood was low at the College Republican’s vote-watch party as a cancer of blue spread across the electoral map. Finally, the election was called for the President. Heads dropped into chests. People hugged. Tears were shed.
But I wasn’t perturbed. Touting two water bottles full to the brim with Russian Standard, sporting a three-piece suit under a thick mail of Romney/Ryan buttons, I rallied my partisans for a quick jaunt down to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The sight that met us there was truly harrowing. Our Democratic counterparts from all the nearby universities – GW, Georgetown, American, Catholic, and Howard – were out in force. The Avenue teemed with kufiyas and horn-rimmed glasses; hovering just above their heads was a halo of Obama/Biden signs. The atmosphere was elated, almost riotous, and a cordon of Secret Service Agents stood guard along the fence. Snipers peered down from the roof of the Oval Office.
My fellows were disheartened and, one by one, dropped off back to their dorms. I would have none of it. Tearing a Romney/Ryan sign from one of my comrade’s hands, I rushed headfirst into the crowd, taking fortifying sips from my bottles as I went.
When I looked up, I was staring at a small army of Secret Service agents. They looked at me. I looked at them. They knew exactly what I had in mind – but, thanks to the good ol’ First Amendment, there wasn’t a damn thing they could do about it.
Summoning all my spirits and quietly invoking Mormon Jesus to strengthen my larynx, I raised the sign above my head. The chants of ‘O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!’ were deafening; I replied, de profundis, with a chorus of ‘Mitt Rom-ney! Mitt Rom-ney!’
The ralliers smelled blood. One by one they began swatting at my sign, then at my glasses, then at me. I paid no heed. Their hatred sustained me. I pranced about like a drunken imp, singing the name of my fallen leader, revelling in their disdain.
Eventually, one of the Obamunists had enough and jumped me. One minute I was fumbling with the cap of my water bottle; the next I was flat on my back, the hands of this young agitator wringing my throat.
But just as soon as it started, it was over. The chap simply rose off the ground, Wingardium Leviosa style. I sat up in time to see his lanky frame slip over the steel cordon. Two Secret Service agents had taken him by the arm and effortlessly lifted him over the fence. I watched him struggle as they carried him off to the paddywagon. And I smiled.
I stood up and dusted myself off, discarding my sign. It wouldn’t be needed, I assumed: they were clearly going to arrest me next, if not for inciting violence then for any of six alcohol-related felonies I was committing within spitting distance of Marine One.
But, to my surprise and slight disappointment, they didn’t come for me. Quite the opposite, in fact. One of the agents looked at me sympathetically, waved me over, and said, “You have every right to be here, buddy, but it’s not safe.”
That made me feel bad. I’d come to trigger the shit out of a bunch of self-congratulatory college lefties; getting one of them arrested was just icing. But I was also making this already difficult situation more vexing for these good men.
Watching the agents rush onstage to hurry Trump off reminded me of my aviator-clad guardian angel. The Secret Service are the unsung heroes of American democracy. Their whole job is to take a bullet for the men and the leaders of the free world. They shouldn’t have to deal with scumbags like Crites and me.