Two young men made a decision last week to attend a rally for Donald Trump. They are not Trump supporters, they feel the Bern. But they wanted to see what it was like to hear “Donald of Orange” speak. They thought it would be fun, all “jokes and hilarity.” They left changed, shaken to their core.
Jordan Ray Correll and his friend Seth Quackenboss of Boone, North Carolina decided to drive down to Fayetteville to see what the fuss was all about. They thought it would be a kick. They went incognito, carrying a Trump sign and big grins. They were prepared for some comedy. Correll writes that the speakers ahead of the Donald were “not well-organized.” This was funny enough, especially when one of them said that he had “shed blood on 7 continents.” Jordan joked that he must have missed the great Antarctica War.
Another speaker told the crowd to stop making 911 calls and deal with their problems themselves. Jordan and Seth found this speaker highly amusing, too. They were really looking forward to hearing Trump, now. To enjoy the “spectacle.” That attitude didn’t last very long. Jordan wrote about the experience on his Facebook page on Thursday:
Trump basically said the same few things the whole time. He knows exactly what will get a cheer from the crowd and he says it. He mentioned his wall several times… At one point he said ‘We’re going to build a wall. And who’s going to pay for it?’ And the crowd yelled, ‘Mexico!’ and then they lost their minds.. He mentioned ISIS several times… But not exactly how to stop ISIS. Just comments like, ‘We’re gonna get ISIS,’ and ‘ISIS is going down.’ Blanket statements. He did say that for America to win again (any sort of winning, not just against ISIS) we have to go outside of the law and he isn’t afraid to do it. And that’s unsettling…
We’ve heard exactly this from Trump time and time again. Nothing substantive, no actual policy, just platitudes and cheer leading. As Jordan wrote, “Completely void of content or substance.”
There were protesters at the rally, of course. They “popped up” at various times and places in the arena. Without exception, they were mocked, yelled at and removed from the building. It didn’t matter whether they were silent or yelling, violent or peaceful. They disagreed with Trump and the crowd, so they were discounted and demeaned.
It was horrifying… But out of everything I saw, the crowd was the worst part. I have never seen more hateful people in my life. Everyone was just filled with so much hatred. If a protester had a sign… they would take the sign from them, rip it up, and throw it back… Whenever a protester would get removed, the crowd would yell horrible things. Once, after a protester was removed, Trump said, ‘Where are these people coming from? Who are they?’ A lady, sitting not 5 feet from me, said, ‘Well hopefully when you’re president, you’ll get rid of em all!’ Get rid of them? Get rid of anyone who opposes Trump? It was sickening… these people loved the… drama and the chaos. And Trump fed upon it. It was easily one of the strangest and uncomfortable things I’ve ever witnessed.
God/dess bless those two young men. Bless them for walking into hell and for surviving. Bless them for testifying about the horrible event, an event that is being repeated every day as Donald Trump spreads his hate. Making the comparison to Germany in the 1930s seems over the top but, as author David Gerrold wrote Saturday night:
… if you don’t want people to think you’re a Nazi, you shouldn’t hang out with people who act like Nazis, who give the Nazi salute and who tell other people, ‘Go to Auschwitz.’
At one point I thought it was possible that Donald Trump was trolling the Republican party. That he was playing some great joke on them which they just didn’t get, reflecting their ridiculousness back at them. I still hope this is true but, every rally, every Tweet, every interview eats away at that premise.
What these two young men saw and heard was terrifying. But this is happening in our country. It’s happening now. Jordan and Seth took their picture before Trump spoke. Before, as Jordan put it, he “lost all innocence and faith in humanity.” Let’s hope that we can help him — and us — find both again.
Featured Image via Jordan Ray Correll’s Facebook page