Jes Holland Cronmiller is the Raleigh woman who got whacked in the jaw Friday night at the Donald Trump rally in Dorton Arena. A total sucker punch, she says, landed by an as-yet-unidentified Trump supporter who went ballistic when Cronmiller and other protesters dared to disrupt the Dear Leader.
On Sunday, Jes said her face still hurt, and her mouth wasn't opening all the way. But the loose tooth she'd been worried about seemed to be firmly back in place. Had she seen a doctor? No, because she doesn't have health insurance.
"I'll survive," she told me in the no-nonsense voice she uses to ward off sympathy. "It's not my first rodeo."
I've known Jes since Occupy Raleigh was in bloom four years ago, with her in the forefront as organizer, spokesperson, den mother to those for whom it was a first rodeo, and actual mom to her precocious daughter, Cass, now 11.
Since then, I've caught up with her at Moral Mondays and other lefty protests, as well as in Raleigh restaurants where she works as a server. She's smart, speaks her mind and will be the first to tell you that her life would be easier if she spoke it less. The truth is her thing.
From the many other ugly incidents reported by people who attended the Trump event, journalists included, a motif emerges of Trump onstage, stirring his kettle of hatreds while his followers scanned the people around them for anyone who wasn't chanting "Build That Wall!" or "Send the Syrians Back!" with sufficient vigor—folks who should be screamed at, spat on or roughed up.
I wasn't there. But I'm convinced that what happened to Jes should not be dismissed as an isolated attack, but rather seen as an example of a virulent rage that is building on the political right that may soon become a firestorm.