Forty-eight states in 48 days.
Charlie Adler, an Attleboro, Massachusetts native, embarked on 48-day journey across the continental United States with one mission — to inform citizens of the potential effects of a country under the presidency of Republican candidate Donald Trump.
“I came up with the idea to try to go to other states (a few weeks ago) and I counted the days until the election,” Adler said. “There were 48 days remaining so I decided to try to do 48 states in 48 days.”
Adler made his 21st stop Wednesday afternoon at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem. He arms himself with a white sheet of foam core embellished with the words, “For our country’s sake Don’t hire this man” and a photo of Trump.
Adler said his journey was born from genuine concern of Trump’s proclivity of “fanning the flames of anger” as they relate to his ideas for making “America great again.”
He said Trump’s ideas are riddled with falsehoods and a country under his leadership would mimic a Vladimir Putin-style authoritarian government.
Adler said he considered spreading his concerns in his hometown in Massachusetts, but decided he would have to visit states in which people tend to vote Republican in order to truly make a difference come election time.
“I think the pundits and experts all weighed in on Trump months ago and how he’s unfit for office, but if people see an ordinary person saying these things, maybe they’ll give it an extra thought,” Adler said.
On Thursday, Sept. 22, his first day, he got in his Toyota Yaris and visited Rhode Island and Maryland.
He outlined his route using Google Maps and makes two-hour stops in every state. His next stop is California, and he plans on circling back through the southern states before finishing his journey in Connecticut.
“This is the shortest route and it’s still 13,000-plus miles,” Adler said.
In order to stay on his $4,800 budget, which he calculated himself bearing in mind cost of gas, tolls, lodging and parking, Adler stays in the cheapest hotels he can find, sometimes reaching out to friends of friends for a warm bed.
Adler said he’s mostly encountered supportive locals at each location.
In Salem, Adler mostly received thumbs up from passersby, and others stopped for a quick chat.
Carol Stoddard, 64, of Woodburn, Ore., stopped on the sidewalk to voice her support.
“I think it’s marvelous that he’s travelling to each state,” Stoddard said. “I’m not a big fan of Clinton, but I think it’s unbelievable he (Trump) has become the Republican Party candidate.”
But Adler said he has also dealt with more hostile reactions to his protest.
“I’ve had a few interactions where I note a sense of hostility so I try to treat those people with kid gloves,” Adler said. “But in general I’m more interested in the ‘why’s’ of people who say they’re supporting Trump than I am of people who are supporting Hillary Clinton.”
He said he sometimes receives remarks that mirror language Trump has used in his campaign, like referring to Clinton as a “crook,” but others use more derogatory insults describing the Democratic presidential candidate.
As Adler approaches the half-way point of his trek, which will come to an end Tuesday, Nov. 8, he said he hopes to make an impact on passersby who see his sign and reconsider their choice for president.
“I’ll have no idea probably how many, if any, minds I’ve changed,” Adler said. “We’ll just have to see how things go.”
You can follow Adler’s journey at https://48states48days.org/.
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