I went to a Trump rally. There. I’ve said it. Six words I never thought I would piece together. Why did I do it? For you, dear reader, for you. But before I share with you some of my observations of the event, let me lay out my biases in the interest of full disclosure.
I will not pretend to remain impartial regarding Trump’s candidacy in a futile attempt at objectivity. In this election I will be (protest) voting for Gary Johnson because I refuse to vote for leftist crooks or racist, short-fingered vulgarians (not to paint with too broad a brush or anything). So to the commenters, fire away. I look forward to giving the most serious consideration to your insightful and reasonable political commentary.
Last Thursday, a friend of mine texted me asking if I wanted to go to the Trump Rally. Given my strong opposition to Trump, my first response was nothing short of incredulous. But, like Bill Clinton alone in a room with a female intern, I couldn’t resist the temptation and I decided I should put aside my bias and approach the event with an open mind. What was there to lose? In a throwback to my college days, I threw on my shortest red shorts, a Texas Flag button down, and my favorite Rockets snapback in preparation to go undercover to the event. I obtained assurances from my friends that they would say nice things about me at my funeral if my cover were to get to blown.
When we arrived, I was surprised at how easily we found parking. If you’ve never been to Houston, be aware that the parking situation is usually atrocious both in the city and in the suburbs, given that everyone drives everywhere. I’m not exaggerating.
As we walked from the parking deck to the line, a jacked-up F350 skidded to a halt next to us as one of the occupants shouted in the thickest redneck drawl imaginable, “Hey brother! Where’d y’all find parking?” I pointed to the garage and the truck sped off. It must be noted that the truck was not carrying any Confederate Flag paraphernalia. We eventually made it to the line, which stretched and snaked endlessly down several streets, many of which were blocked off by cops to make room for attendees. There were many high-school aged boys walking up and down the line selling bottled water ranging from $1 to $3 per. This made me happy – I love seeing capitalism in its purest form.
I soon realized that none of the water bottle salesmen were in any way affiliated with the campaign. In fact, during the entire evening, I did not see a single Trump campaign staffer save for inside the actual convention center where the speech was to be given. The hat salesmen (of which there were exceedingly many), the “Hillary For Prison 2016” t-shirt salesmen, the Trump-themed bedazzled accessory saleswomen – all of these were unaffiliated with the Trump campaign. Again, I have to commend them on their capitalist instincts, but this surely can’t bode well for the Trump campaign given such a low level of organization.
The demographics of the rally differed from my expectations. A vast majority of attendees appeared to be average, middle-class people from across the age spectrum (I expected mostly old people). I was also surprised at how many Latino constituents were present in support of Trump, given his negative perception among Hispanics. I saw lots of cowboy boots worn by both men and women. Unfortunately the talent was lacking, and with regards to this aspect, I went home more disappointed than Chris Christie at a salad bar.
Of course, there were plenty of crazies. You know, the Alex Jones/InfoWars/Sovereign Citizen types. In fact, there was a cameraman there actually from InfoWars covering the event (the protestors, not the actual speech).
One of the crazies (carrying a full-size Confederate Flag on a pole) complimented me on my “Confederate Flag shirt.” When I politely corrected him that the flag emblazoned on my shirt is a Texas Flag, he began ranting about the Civil War and how the Texas Flag is actually a Confederate symbol but the liberal media has brainwashed us about something or the other. I walked away, afraid that the crazy might rub off, but not before I heard a black cop standing nearby call the dude a “motherfucking dumbass.”
Again, there was definitely a Sovereign Citizen (if you don’t know what this is, I highly recommend you look it up) element to the crowd, but it was overwhelmingly middle class and (seemingly) reasonable. Oh, and the crowd was significantly cleaner than the crowd in attendance at the Bernie Sanders rally I attended in New York this Spring.
The protestors were definitely the most exciting part of the event. There were two main areas of protestors, both outside the entrance to the event. One section was rowdy and populated mostly by young men waving Mexican Flags. In this area, one of the protestors took exception to something said by a Trump supporter and attacked him. Someone yelled “fight” and the cops took the guy down in less than five seconds. I was about ten feet away so I got a great view of the dude getting taken down and got a good laugh at the fact that he tried to start a fight when there were at least 20 cops within arm’s reach of him.
In the ensuing chaos, I saw a morbidly obese (at least 300 pounds) cop build up a head of steam and shove a high-school age Latino protestor. The dude was just standing around and had gotten separated from the protestors in the chaos, but the fat cop took the opportunity to prove his manhood and shoved him in the back, unsuspecting, directly into the street. To that cop, if you are somehow reading this (or having it read to you), you are a piece of shit. Otherwise, I didn’t see much bad behavior.
On the other side of the street, the other group of protestors, significantly calmer than the first, formed something that resembled a dance circle. In the middle of the circle, under the watchful eye of a police officer and the InfoWars cameraman, Trump supporters and protestors took turns in what I will generously describe as “political discussion.” They shouted at each other in what seemed to be an attempt to settle the important issues of the day once and for all.
Given that the election is still going on, I think it is fair to say that they fell short of their goal, but give them credit for their totally valiant efforts. Plus, it was cool to see the equivalent of a Facebook political argument but in real life. Take it from me: all those slogans and catchphrases you’ve seen Trumpers and SJWs spit out on social media sound just as stupid in real life as you would expect.
Overall, it was a great experience. Based on my time at the Trump rally, I can say that I think the media has overhyped the “violence” on both sides of the issue, whether it be Trump supporters or the protestors.
For the most part, both groups behaved reasonably well and the Founding Fathers have a silver lining to the dark cloud that is the atrocious candidates we have been served in this election cycle. I’ve now attended two political rallies (Bernie rally in NYC was my first) and I plan on going to Hillary’s and anyone else’s (Gary Johnson!) should they make their way to my neck of the woods. I highly recommend you do the same..