Trump Inauguration Compels South Plains Residents to Travel to Ceremony, Marches


Many Lubbock residents were struck emotionally by Donald Trump’s election. In the historically conservative South Plains community, many voters cast their ballots for Trump in November. The Lubbock County Elections Office reports that 66 percent  voted for the Republican candidate. But that means another 34 percent of voters did not vote for the business-mogul-turned-politician.

Everything spoke with several people from the Lubbock area headed to D.C. to watch the election, and several others heading to marches around the country to demonstrate during inauguration weekend.

Inauguration Attendees

Jason White, owner of Jason White Dentistry in Lubbock, said he’s been a Donald Trump supporter from the start of Trump’s campaign. 

“I’ve been really disappointed in both parties, very disappointed in the political environment,” White said.”I feel like there’s so many issues that aren’t being taken care of, so when Trump came out and said he wanted to be president, I knew right then and there he was the man who I was gonna support.”

White is very public with his support for Trump, his office features a life-size Donald Trump cardboard cut-out and a “Make America Great Again” hat. He has shared his support for Trump on local media throughout the campaign. White said his views have gotten him ” a little heat,” but he stands behind his candidate.  As a small business owner, White said he relates to Trump  and believes he will bring strong negotiating and decision making skills to the Oval office.

As soon as the election results were clear, White made moves on acquiring tickets to the inauguration. Within days, he had a trip planned.

“This is a historical election, it’s been unconventional,” White admitted there are certainly days that he shakes his head at the things Trump tweets or says. “But when you really get past that and see what kind of family he has the kids he has, the businesses he has and how he’s handled challenges and failures in his businesses, that’s what all of us in small businesses we strive for.” 

He said that policies from the past two presidential administrations have squeezed resources from his business. White is hopeful that Trump’s business expertise will bring in an era of fewer regulations and taxes. White values the freedom to run his business as he believes is best. His dentistry practice has distinctive flair, featuring mounted animals he’s hunted on the walls as well as a map of Texas and a miniature oil rig.

“I worked less ten years ago, made more money ten years ago, was able to provide for my staff  ten years ago, way more than I am today,” White explained.

White knows demonstrators will head to D.C. for the inauguration as well, which is one of the reasons he feels compelled to attend the inauguration, he wants to stand in support as Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

“I’ve enjoyed the journey of following him through this election and it’s been awesome and unconventional, it’s a bucket list deal to go to an inauguration,” White said.

He admits that he is nervous about some of the animosity he’s heard surrounding the inauguration. White hopes for a peaceful transition of power and a safe weekend for everyone heading to D.C.

“That’s what unique about our country, that we have that right to protest and we also have that right to support and so it will be a great day for our country,”  he said.

Donna Gafford, also of Snyder traveled to D.C. Wednesday with her husband and 23-year-old son to see the inauguration. Gafford said the main reason her family requested tickets from Congressman Arrington’s office was because of her son.

“My son is a hard core Trump Supporter he has read all of [Trump’s] books, it was a huge thing for him to go,” Gafford explained.

She laughed noting that the inauguration trip is worthwhile, but cost their family about as much as a trip to Ireland would have.

Gafford said their excitement for the event has been clouded by fear of how others will react during the ceremony.

“It’s been horrible for the last two years,” she explained, noting that unlike many Texans her family never liked Ted Cruz and instead threw their support behind Trump. “Not that Trump is perfect, there is nothing perfect about him.  I’m on a lot of social media,  it has been really hard it has been very hard, my health has suffered for a year and half probably because of it.”

Gafford admits that she feels scared of possible violence at the inauguration

“I’m apprehensive to tell you the truth, it’s a little bit of a damper,” she said.

Snyder resident Paula Hatfield also has tickets to the inauguration. She spoke with Tuesday from Washington, D.C.

“So far it has been absolutely great,” Hatfield said of the trip. Hatfield said that she and her husband have been Trump supporters from the beginning as well. They obtained tickets through Congressman Jodey Arrington’s office.

“We were ready for a change and wanted to be a part of this historical event that is going to be a change for our country,” she said, adding that she feels proud to represent West Texas in D.C.

“The security is good here, I’m thankful for the people who put their lives out there to protect all of us,” Hatfield said.


88 year-old Sylvia Ashby is packing her bags  to attend the Women’s March in Austin Saturday. The Women’s March is part of a national effort, happening in Washington, D.C., Lubbock, and cities around the country Saturday. Ashby explained that while the march aims to make sure that women’s issues aren’t ignored, it’s also a forum to decry what Ashby calls bigotry.

“I’ve been wearing the safety pin since I first read about it,” Ashby said, pointing to a large metal safety pin fastened to her jacket. “Because I want to say ‘no’ to bigotry and that’s what the safety pin means, it means I’m concerned about your safety, I can be concerned, even if I live in Lubbock, Texas I’m concerned.”

Specifically, Ashby said she is worried about the way Trump has spoken on the campaign trail about women, minorities, people with disabilities, and other groups.  She added that  reported hate crimes following Trump’s election have also concerned  her.

“I feel solidarity with all those folks who feel marginalized too– and that’s a wide variety of people– and that’s whether I’m concerned with women’s rights, or gay rights or Muslim rights or civil rights,” Ashby said. “And there are so many people who feel threatened now.”

As a woman, she has also been worried about the way Trump has spoken about women and women’s issues.

Ashby is heading to Austin with several of her friends and meeting with other Lubbock demonstrators there. She is particularly excited about a sign her son is designing for her that she described as battery operated, revolving, and “very cool.”

“I’m not an activist I haven’t been but I’m becoming one at this old age, to say ‘no’, to stand up. I’ve been very worried about how things might play out [in a Trump presidency,” Ashby said.  “I’ve been thinking a lot about lobsters, you put lobsters in a pot and [the water] is cool,  but by the time you turn up the heat a little, they might notice, but by the time that lobster realizes he’s in hot water, it’s too late. And that’s why I’ve turned into an activist.”

It’s not just Women attending the marches on Saturday, Lubbock native and Texas Tech student Kabl Wilkerson said he also plans on going. Wilkerson is also concerned about the rhetoric Trump has used.

“This is not a march about the legitimacy of his presidency, it is a march to say that what he said is wrong,” he explained.

Wilkerson is studying Political Science at Texas Tech, he’s assisted in a research project there surveying hundreds of Texans about how they feel about Donald Trump.  Even as a political science student, he said he was shocked over the election results.

Personally, he felt sad at learning Trump had been elected because he also thought of the marginalized groups who may feel disrespected by Trump, which is why Wilkerson decided to march.

“This is a movement that says this is a substantial amount of people that say we do not fall in the ranks of this sort of hateful speech,” he said. 

“As scared as we are right, now it’s something we have to speak out,” he said. “Without proper criticism towards our democracy I don’t believe it will function properly, it’s something that helps express our opinions in a peaceful way.”

“I can’t say why others are marching or precisely what they hope for, but I think it’s important to send the message that we are just going to stand up, we are going to hold [the government] accountable,” Ashby summarized.

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