To my friends and assorted loved ones who expressed concern that I was plunging into the belly of the beast by attending a Donald Trump re-election rally, I have good news.
I survived. Intact. No one laid a hand on me. No one got angry. I stayed for as long as I wanted to stay and left on my terms.
There. Now that we’ve cleared that up, I want to offer a word or two about what I saw at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas this afternoon and evening.
I saw a huge crowd of Trump fanatics — the vast majority of whom (close to 90 percent, I am guessing) — wearing Donald Trump gear. MAGA hats. Shirts with assorted sayings and slogans; some of them were profane and expressed a good bit of anger.
I met a very nice couple from Rockwall, who drove all the way into Dallas to see their man, the president. I confided in them while we waited outside that “I am not a Trump supporter. I am here as an observer.” OK, I didn’t tell them the whole truth, that I was there as a fervent anti-Trump voter and that I intend to keep skewering Trump whenever possible. They promised to read my blog on the subject and I hope they don’t hate me too much.
There were t-shirts with the message: Trump Supporter, I Won’t Apologize For It.” When have you seen a political supporter offer up that qualifier? Anyone? Oh, and there was this gem: “Fu** Your Feelings.” I didn’t have the courage to ask if those wearing that article of clothing were among Trump’s evangelical base of supporters.
The crowd outside was remarkable in its ethnic/racial makeup. It was not as lily white as I expected. I saw several African-American men wearing “Blacks for Trump” attire.
Then there was the shirt that said “Jesus Is My Savior, Trump Is My President.” Actually, that one made me want to hurl, given that the shirt contained the name of Jesus Christ and arguably the most anti-Christian man ever elected to the presidency. Enough of that.
I stood in a line that stretched more than a mile and a half. We snaked our way around several barriers outside the AAC, then walked up the steps and into the building. The U.S. Secret Service did a remarkably thorough but quick inspection of everyone entering the arena.
I found a seat way up high.
Then out came the president of the United States, applauding along with the cheering crowd. I never can tell why he claps so much when he enters a room. Is he cheering those who are clapping for him … or is he just so damn proud of himself that he cannot resist giving himself an ovation?
He launched into the same tired tirade I’ve been hearing since he took office. Democrats are the enemy. So are the media. Everyone opposed to Trump and the Republican Party want “open borders,” they want to “take away your rights,” they favor “socialism” over capitalism, they hate the United States, and on and on.
Admission time: I didn’t stay for Trump’s entire tirade. I heard all I could stand and left.
My final takeaway from this Trump “Keep America Great” rally is this: The enthusiasm of the 16,000 or so in the arena and in line waiting to get into the AAC is as fervent as anything I have ever seen at events such as this. I will give Trump credit for that much; his base of support is seemingly unshakable.
Which makes me wonder yet again: Are these Trump loyalists so blinded by their fealty to this man that they can overlook the crimes he has committed? Or are they — and there’s no pleasant way to say this — just plain ignorant?