Disclaimer: I am not, in any way, a trained journalist looking for specific points to illuminate, nor do I have the incredible ability it seems most media personnel have to churn out 4,000-word essays within an hour of leaving the rally venue.
Disclaimer to Disclaimer: I do, however, pride myself in my ability to view both sides of an argument and objectively and intelligently critique presentations with the knowledge I currently have.
Monday, a foursome of friends decided to open their minds to a different perspective. It was like one of those anti-punchline jokes: an immigrant, a black woman, a Buddhist, and a liberal walk into a Trump rally… and they sit and listen while a presidential candidate speaks about his views for an hour in order to broaden their horizons in hopes he will change their media-based opinions on him.
As a tangent of a complaint completely unaligned with any political values whatsoever, the four of us young women stood in line in pouring rain beginning at three o’clock. The doors opened at five, and the rally began at seven-thirty. This is not my complaint. My complaint goes out to the man attempting to sell pins who came across our party and promptly cried out, “Hot chicks for Trump!” He asked if any of us wanted a pin, and when Alexus responded with a “No, thanks,” he asked us, disgruntled, if we really were for Trump.
“Yes.” Yes, we were. We were there for Trump. Just because we do not support him doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be taken seriously-especially if we’re making an attempt to open our eyes.
Unfortunately, this man decided to call attention to our little group by shouting to those around us, “Got ourselves some infiltrators!” And then, to us, “It would be hard to get four for ten on you guys.” [four pins for ten dollars, I presume]
After he left, we waited for another hour or so, and finally were ushered inside to the security checkpoint. I must commend the security personnel for being so thorough with their measures while also respecting each individual’s personal space; the TSA could learn a thing or two from watching them.
Then, we were in.
Honestly, I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better place to be sitting, and I don’t mean that in a physical standpoint. I was seated between Poppy, who is a British immigrant, and a Michigan native who has followed Trump to Arizona, South Carolina, and as of yesterday, back to Michigan.
The introduction to the rally came at about 7:30 pm, with a prayer by an African American pastor from Greenville, whose name I couldn’t hear over the din, and unfortunately could not find through an internet scavenger hunt. His prayer illuminated that we should unite against abortion and focus on what is right, not what is politically correct or expedient.
This was followed by a Caucasian Eagle Scout from Cascade who presented the Pledge of Allegiance-and just as the pastor and the rest of the individuals who presented, I failed to catch their names and was unable to discover them within articles, due to the overwhelming mass of media on each search engine.
The Alexander Hamiltones sang an a cappella version of the National Anthem, and the intro was concluded by a woman who sang America the Beautiful; I wouldn’t be able to decisively attest to her ethnicity-she appeared Latina to me, but another in my party said she appeared Caucasian from her perspective.
After the introduction concluded, another friend of ours arrived with a companion of his and sat in front of us as we waited for the rally to start. Occasionally, a group of supporters would begin to chant, “We want Trump!” while waving their signs, before they became patient once again. An hour went by, and then the rally began.
The beginning of the rally seemed to be presented as a history of Trump’s success during the campaign thus far, what with him stating, “We’ll win”, followed by cheers from the audience. He highlighted his lead in the polls-46%-and was interrupted by a protester who was raised on his companion’s shoulders. The protester was escorted out, and was used as a rhetorical comparison strategy by the speaker, ultimately getting to the point that, just as everyone who stands against him leaves the race, whoever stands against ‘us’ [his supporters/the nation] should go ‘Pbbpttbpt’. This ‘down the drain’ noise was accompanied by a very adamant thumbs-down.
The subject of Putin approving of Trump was brought up with a, “Putin likes me,” and cheers, as apropos for the crowd. His argument was that diplomacy with Russia would be especially helpful in the war against ISIS, saying that with “Russia on our side, knock the Hell out of them.” This is true, a diplomatic approach with another of the world’s superpowers would be incredible, especially after our lackluster history together, but the running counterargument is that, what with Putin’s human rights issues, the support for Trump may be more of a red flag than one with stars and stripes.
“How do I describe our elite except for stupid?”
Another statement that earned applause from the audience came after an explanation of Trump’s intellectual history at The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania. He spoke about an extensive vocabulary, highlighting that he previously called our nation’s elite “grossly incompetent,” but that “stupid” was a more fitting word.
This may be a biased consideration, but especially after aligning himself with an Ivy-league education, I would have preferred Trump to have used a word other than ‘elite’ to describe our leaders and politicians. Someone who is an ‘elite’, according to dictionary.com, is the “choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons,” “persons of the highest class,” or “
Another protester shouted something about racism, was escorted out, and on his way out of the arena, was high-fived by a man wearing a “Vote for Pedro” sweatshirt. Trump took this opportunity to address protesters as a conglomerated entity, and to rally the supporters by stating that, “there’s nobody outside!” Nobody outside on the sidewalks, nobody protesting with signs? In reality, the two fellows who joined our crew after the introduction were asked by protesters on their way in if they were there to see Trump himself or to protest. When they answered that they were there to see Trump, they were jeered and shouted at, and walked through some unidentifiable dung, which gained laughs from some protesters. Even as we were leaving the DeltaPlex after the rally, there were protesters standing with signs and shouting, “Dump the Trump!”
Protesters seemed to come out of nowhere following that. About five minutes after the “nobody outside” statement, a man shouted about disagreeing with Trump’s statements and was removed, and was followed not ten minutes later by a man who exclaimed, “Trump, you’re fake!” before he was escorted out.
In reference to the influence of media in political affairs, Trump referred to the journalists and newspeople standing on a platform near the back of the arena, saying “Turn the camera!” to show the hordes of people who had come to support him. After some of this haggling, the cameraman at the front of the pack swiveled his camera around before giving a nonchalant thumbs-up.
I would consider this a kind thing to do under pressure, seeing as earlier during the rally, Trump had stated that “I hate some of these people [journalists], but I would never kill them,” and that they were “…Lying, disgusting people.”
It is true that the mass media is known for skewing information, but in my own opinion, stating this so rudely was inappropriate and unnecessary, especially when these workers could simply forgo their pay by boycotting the rally and not covering it in the first place.
Something Trump was decidedly proud on-and something that the supporter who sat next to me was impressed by at each rally he attended-was that he did not need to use a teleprompter to deliver his message and ideals. He explicitly stated that he did not use one, and my question to all presidential candidates is this: why would you need one in the first place? It should not be something to pride yourself on, not something to brag about, not something you should be able to use to bolster yourself amidst other candidates. You should know your stance and have it as as an entity just as concrete as yourself as an individual because it is a part of who you are and is what the entire nation is aware you are promising to uphold. I was simply surprised and disappointed that it was so impressive that it became a leverage point of Trump’s.
A black man was taken from the rally after he began shouting “Black lives matter, he’s lying, he’s tricking us people!” and was followed out by his friend. After this outburst, I turned to the supporter next to me and relied on his rally experiences to get a more accurate perspective on the number of protesters inside any given rally.
My words: “Is this normal?”
His words: “Yeah.”
Finally, we reached the point where politics became involved. I, personally, went to see if Trump’s social policies were as awful as they seem to be, but he never really touched on those policies during his speech. It was more economic policy, which I will illuminate in the following portion, so I cannot say my opinion was changed, but another, separate opinion was formed.
He began by stating a national truth: that we don’t want nineteen billion dollars of debt. That, we can all get behind. He then went about speaking of our auto industry, about Detroit and how he resents the possibility of our companies moving to Mexico-which was a smart move, considering the locale, but it was a rather obvious move, and I would have enjoyed to hear policies regarding other states’ economic well-being as well.
Trump stated that he is all for free trade, but he would like it to be smart trade as well. He wondered what has happened to all the jobs here, how they’ve all been outsourced, and how we can’t have employment opportunities everywhere but here in the states.
This was shortly interrupted by a statement regarding his campaign, about how his lack of spending (money from donations, lobbyists, etc.) shows how he can manage money well and come out on top. While my companions and I noticed he had not included himself in the list of people whose money he has used and wondered if he was using his own money for his cause, that is actually not the case and I am actually very impressed. Jeb Bush’s campaign is exponentially more expensive than the second candidate in line-44.5 million compared to Chris Christie’s 9.8 million. Trump is at 1.6 mill. source
Back to the topic of outsourcing, the Michigan economy, and lack of employment, Trump commented on the possibility of the Ford company building a two-and-a-half billion dollar plant in Mexico. He assured the crowd that if Ford did so, he would impose a 35% import tax on every car, truck, and part that found its way into the U.S. in order to give an incentive to the business to stay within the United States.
In order to dispel any possibility that Trump aligned negative economic policy with a negative view of the Hispanic public, he assured the crowd that he has “Great relationships with Mexicans and Mexico.” I would have enjoyed some information to back that claim, other than stating that he employed many Hispanics as a businessman. It is a legal requirement that employers do not discriminate based on ethnicity. Legal requisites do not always align with morality and ethics, and it would have been appreciated-rhetorically speaking-to have more meat to the bone of the argument.
This assurance was interrupted by three Caucasian men shouting something that sounded like, “Donald Trump, you are racist, U.S.A.!” When asked to leave, they did, and seemed to be mocked by the following comment from the speaker: “Very non-combative people. I ask them to leave and they walk out.”
They might have just said what they wanted to say and respect the fact they will get escorted out either way and want to leave on their own accord. They may just be non-combative. Two options. There are an endless amount.
As is natural, Trump is vying for a low unemployment rate. As a businessman, he stated that he has created “tens of thousands of jobs.” If that is an exaggeration, I do not doubt that it is a very mild one. Economically, his opinions seem to be backed, though they lack a decisive plan.
The next topic involved Trump’s opinions on our military. Yet another idea that most Republicans and Democrats alike can get behind is better care of our veterans. This following statement is not in my notes, but I specifically remember something being said about better funding for our wounded warriors.
Contrasting this contempt for injury, Trump stated that, if elected President, he would create a large, powerful military to intimidate others from getting involved violently. This intimidation tactic works politically, but in the case of rouges like ISIS, we can never be sure if intimidation will work or if the prowess of a strong military will be seen as a challenge, a test of bravery and valiancy, or if fighting us to the death would be seen as the ultimate sacrifice.
A woman from the side of the arena opposite me began chanting “Dump the Trump!” and was met by an arguably sassy response from the speaker:
“Well, she doesn’t have a very strong voice; that’s a weak little protest, might want to get a ladder.”
It was the first time the during the rally a personal jab was made at one of the protesters, and once she was removed, the jab continued as Trump connected substance abuse with those who were protesting. “That’s a possibility, because they’re standing up around 9,000 people that want to kill them.” He then went on to explain how he believed that if he sat them down and told them the basis of his politics, how he wants to make America great again (which, if one thinks about it, is something everyone wants: a great America-we just have different ways of going about it), they would understand.
Keeping on track with economics, Trump continued on talking about how he wanted to fix our 500 billion dollar yearly trade deficit with China. I’m all for that, but I just want to know how. When you’re a presidential candidate who wants to improve the welfare of our wounded soldiers and veterans, wants to rid our country of wars that cost two trillion dollars (as he stated was the case with Iraq), and still want to build a large and powerful military and build a wall around our borders, I’m unsure if you want to filter those two trillion dollars from the lack of conflict and 500 billion dollars from economic trade equality we would be saving during your presidency into creating costly intimidation tactics with our military we wouldn’t be using and a wall so tall that nobody is able to get over.
Please note that in the paragraph above my bias is clearly evident. I am aware of the positive effects getting rid of these monetary deficits would cause, but there was no plan laid out for how this money would be spent in lieu of debts, and it leaves too much space for speculation.
From here on out, there were protesters galore.
A Caucasian man: “What about the people leaving?” Which was in reference to the streams of people who were beginning to walk out of the arena for whatever reason. “All the smart people leaving, what about them? What about the small people?” He was escorted out, but not before one Trump supporter managed to punch him where the sun don’t shine. This act, in fact, did bother me some, due to the verbal protester having been escorted out while the man who physically harmed him was allowed to stay within the arena.
A Hispanic man: Yelled something unintelligible from where I was sitting while wearing a curly brown wig and a plaid tank top.
Unseen protester 1: Began with “Reject basic-” before I was unable to hear the rest of their retort.
Unseen protester 2: “Down with Trump!”
African American female and male: “You don’t represent us! You don’t represent us! You don’t represent us!” A supporter walked up to the female and held his coat in her face in hopes it would block her view and probably her sound.
Trump moved on to the topic of the Middle East and how we recently unfroze “150 billion in assets” as part of the nuclear deal with Iran. He went on to talk about something I must admit, as a seventeen-year-old, I had no idea about. He was speaking of when the Middle East had ‘equilibrium’, and he exclaimed, “You had a dictator, who the Hell cares?” Maybe this dictator held some sort of ground politically that the Middle East is lacking, but I’m pretty sure there is a lot of civil unrest during a period of dictatorship, and the United States would probably come in to act as an authoritative figure in an effort to get that dictator to concede and create a democracy in place of the previous method of rule.
As to the problem of ISIS, Trump was adamant about their defeat. No, “it could be tough because of ___, or because of ____, we don’t want___,” and he specifically targeted those who spoke in such a way. “I want general Patton,” he explained. “Where is he?”
I wish we could just use the brilliant language of the last visible protester of the night and have ISIS off our backs for good. “Go home, loser,” would resonate in their heads and they would burn their weapons and resort to peace. But that’s not going to happen.
If you want Trump for President, I’d love to hear your opinion on him and why you appreciate his ideals.
If you don’t want Trump for President, I’d love to hear your opinion on him and why you don’t appreciate his ideals.
If you were a protester, I’d love to hear of your experience, and if you were escorted out, I would enjoy to hear that experience as well.
Thank you, all who participated in whatever form you did last night.
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