Video: I tried to get the guy's name, and he replied, "PATRIOT, AMERICAN PATRIOT! YOUR NAME IS TRAITOR!!" pic.twitter.com/CyMhvLWgVc— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) August 12, 2016
My friend 'Becca went to a Donald Trump rally up in Sunrise last Wednesday. (The video posted above is not from the rally she attended...but from another Trump rally in Kissimmee the following day.)
'Becca posted a few pictures on Facebook and wrote this: "I laughed almost all the way through Trump's vaudeville routine. And marveled at the crowd. Do they hear the actual words? Do they know they're being punked? What a strange religion. But... the vehemence against protesters was disturbing. That's not my America."
Since 'Becca happens to be one of the smartest and funniest writers I know, I asked her to tell me more about her night.
She didn't disappoint...this is what I got back....
My day job is working for a bunch of radical Commie pinko types -- you know, people who believe in a living wage, access to healthcare and a workable immigration policy. The number of protest-oriented T-shirts I own is reprehensible.
'Becca and her new friend.
(Click image to enlarge.)
But my essential nature is, and will ever be, that of a voyeur. A writer, a giggler, a cynical kid sneaking smokes in the back of the bus and holding forth on the foibles of the folks for whom politics is religion (no matter what side). It is all funny to me, even though, sure, I do generally believe in trying to make things better than they are.
So...Trump. He started as a joke and then tapped into that vague unrest, particularly among people who look like me. That, too, is funny to me. As a gringa who has embraced living in Miami, I already live in the America of the future. I am the child of an immigrant who never fails to tell me how to vote even as she refuses to become a citizen. My child is the son of an immigrant whose country is rapidly melting down due to staggering corruption and unfavorable oil prices. My favorite anecdote about what it's like to raise such a child is the moment somewhere in toddlerhood he demanded, "Mama, limpia my booty."
Anyway, I was curious about the Trump crowd in South Florida and when a friend asked me to go, I freaking went. We rolled up with a die-hard Republican fellow in his fifties, meandered through a gauntlet of merch and characters dressed for photo-ops. The stadium was packed. We were trying to sit near some other friends who were planning to protest, but ended up in the last open section.
I felt like I was at a barbecue/prom for folks who stopped advancing with the culture somewhere in the early 90s. When Trump took the stage, it was like the blooper reel of Gangs of New York. He really needs a little more steampunk in the wardrobe and a mustache to pull it off though.
If you listen to Trump, no matter where you reside politically, it's utter nonsense. It was not real to me. I couldn't even be offended by the various racist, misogynist and other unfortunate "ists" the man uttered in that stadium. I just laughed, long and loud. I mean, c'mon!
Click image to enlarge.
What was real was the reaction of the crowd. The WWE comparisons are not far off. I guess that's a pretty common phenomenon, back to Roman times.
The crowd absolutely loved it whenever a small band of protesters would get to booing. It allowed them to unleash all the negative bullshit they'd been holding in, dumping years of discomfort on the heads of a handful of scrawny kids with brown skin or curly hair or gauges in their ears.
Four rows from my seat, I watched one such young man booing. The people around him immediately started pointing him out, threatening him, or moving away. He and his two friends shortly got a visit from police officers who took them out of their seats. Two white guys, one sporting a star-spangled bandana, the other playing over-protective dad, actually high-fived each other, as if they were Red Dawn-era Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen fighting for the red, white and blue. Against what, exactly?
The kids eventually came back, much subdued. Ugh. As much as I didn't want to wear a damned T-shirt and declare anything to anybody, it's embarrassing to be identified as American when Americans act like the Trump crowd. What year is this?
Well, eventually, even our Republican friend, he who merrily chanted "Lock her up!" with the rest of the goons, got tired of the scene. So we went to Bahama Breeze for apps and, in my case, a coconut mojito. We met up with with our protester friends, on a similar mission.
Now that is the America I can relate to, the one I discovered in Miami. The one that resembles a Warner Bros. cartoon. "Mornin' Sam," says the wolf. "Mornin' Ralph," replies the sheepdog, as each clocks in for another absurd day.