This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending two rallies, one for Donald Trump and the other for Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee .
The difference in the atmospheres between the two events, which were ony about a dozen hours and 20 miles apart, seemed blunt and shocking.
The experience Friday night at the Trump Rally could ony be described as chaotic. Protesters yelled at policemen; they were climbing trees; they were holding signs depicting everything from expletives to descriptions of male body parts to a risqué image of Melania Trump.
Profanity laced many chants. Screaming matches broke out interspersedly around the crowd. Many Trump supporters yelled back at protesters, which only seemed to stoke the political fire. Police officers dotted the crowd.
Saturday morning at the Cruz rally, I was inside and listening to the speeches. I half expected a major protest inside the event to break out, but nothing. Speakers centered topics on the constitution, standing strong and God. When asked who the youngest Cruz supporter in the room was, many babies were held in the air and the audience cooed. Many children attended.
After the speeches, I gathered my camera and headed outside toward the front of the venue, fully expecting to capture riotous protesters.
But I didn't see a single activist. Did none of them come? Did they all leave early? Was there a special hidden area for protesters to hang out? Not likely.
Instead, I noticed a large playground, buzzing with playing children who had come with their parents. Cruz walked through a line of people that had formed and stretched around the yard, shaking hands and chatting.
The evening before, when the Trump rally ended, a massive group of protesters moved their chanting party down the street. Police kept some distance, but apparently felt obligated to follow them.
What I witnessed at these two events made me question why they were so different. Why was the Cruz- Lee rally was so peaceful, even respectful? And why did the Trump rally make me feel anxious, even fearful of bodily harm — or at least nervous about getting in the middle of a decent tongue lashing?
I got smiles at the Cruz-Lee rally, but I literally got mooned at the Trump rally?
Is there something to be said about the candidates setting the tone at their events?
Watch the video and decide for yourself. Why were these two rallies, only a few hours and miles apart, so different from each other? The contrast may shock you.
You can find Jenelle on twitter @Jenelle_Stone, on her blog at Get2theGist.blogspot.com, or at writejenelle (AT) Gmail (DOT) com.