No, I didn't go to support Donald Trump, I wouldn't support that bigoted, misogynistic jackass for dog catcher. I went because events like this have the potential to be a photographer's gold mine, and I had high hopes of coming away with at least one interesting photograph. I believe I was successful, but you are more than welcome to judge that for yourself.
The rally was held in a plane hangar in Bloomington, Illinois, and based on my own rudimentary method of counting heads, I estimated the crowd size to be somewhere between 3 and 5 thousand. Had the hangar been larger, the crowd too would have been larger, as I learned after the event that some of the hopeful attendees had been turned away due to size constraints.
Accompanying me was my youngest son Nick. We arrived two hours prior to the start time, thinking this would be early enough to get a front row view of The Donald. Boy oh boy were we wrong. When we arrived, the police were already directing heavy traffic, and a hundred or so protesters were lined up along the street. When we finally did make it inside the hangar, it was already at half capacity.
Here's a selfie of the two of us as we waited for the event to begin:
Not being a Trump fan in the least, there was one thing that impressed me about the whole event, and that was Trump's entrance. I found myself giddy with excitement as we watched his private plane taxi up to the hangar. I think I may have even exclaimed out loud, as others did: "look, it's Trump's plane!"
The excitement didn't last, as reality quickly set in when the arrogant clown stepped up to the podium and started to speak:
Here are some notable highlights from Trump's speech:
Trump started with a reference to the "very dishonest media", but failed to elaborate on what it was that made them dishonest. I suspect this comment may have had something to do with the negative press he was getting for inciting violence at his rallies, and making unbelievably stupid comments. Trump regularly denies things which are shown to be true through video evidence, so it seems that Trump may have been projecting his own dishonesty here.
Trump criticized the nuclear deal with Iran, saying "it may be one of the worst deals I've ever seen of any kind", but failed to elaborate on what it was that made the deal bad, or what he could, or would have done to make it better. Here Trump seemed to be relying heavily on the misinformation that Fox News regularly put out regarding the Iran deal, as well as the folk lore that he's the ultimate deal maker.
Trump said he was going to keep businesses from leaving the United States, and bring others back using tariffs. I wondered to myself how many of Trump's supporters actually understood that tariffs translate into higher costs for goods and services, for everybody, which includes those Trump supporters who were cheering this idea on.
Trump claimed that nobody had been injured at any of his rallies, despite the many videos that have surfaced showing people getting sucker punched, spit on, and body slammed at his rallies. Then, not two minutes later, Trump contradicted this claim when he blamed the violence at his rallies on the protesters, adding that his supporters were simply hitting back in self defense. He also claimed that he hadn't personally provoked any violence, despite the existence of videos where Trump can be heard telling rally goers that he'll pay their legal fees if they "beat the crap" out of protesters. These comments were especially ironic, considering Trump's earlier attack on the honesty of the media.
Trump threw out the same petty insults that he has used repeatedly in the televised debates, where he refers to his opponents as "little Marco" and "lying Ted". Classy guy this Donald Trump.
Trump spoke about how "they are chipping away at Christianity", but didn't mention who they are, or what it is exactly that they are chipping away at. Trump added that come Christmas time, "everyone will be saying Merry Christmas". This I believe was a nod to the Fox News inspired war on Christmas, where saying the more inclusive Happy Holidays is tantamount to outlawing the celebration of Christmas.
Trump told the crowd, as he has throughout his campaign, that a wall is going to be built between the US and Mexico, suggesting that it would be similar in stature to the Great Wall of China. This is a goal that falls in line with one of Trump's initial campaign themes, which is that Mexico is sending criminals and rapists over the border, and that we need to build a giant wall to stop them. He also told the crowd that Mexico is going to pay for the wall, although he failed to elaborate on how he is going to get the Mexican government to comply with this rather crazy sounding idea.
Trump claimed that he'll be getting rid of Obama Care, but failed to elaborate on what would replace it for those millions of Americans who would be losing their health insurance.
Trump said that Common Core would be going away, because as he put it "we're bringing our education local". There were no specifics offered to explain why national standards for education are a bad thing, and why local control, which is what Common Core offers, isn't what he considers local.
Trump claimed that nobody is more conservative than him on the second amendment. When he said this, I thought to myself: why weren't rally goers allowed to bring guns into this event? Each and every person that entered this event was searched, and the message was made very clear: no guns allowed. The most vocal conservative supporters of the second amendment have been claiming for years that gun free zones put Americans at risk of mass murder, and are therefore an affront to the second amendment. Here I stood at a rally for Trump, and it was a gun free zone. I had to conclude that Trump isn't as conservative on the second amendment as he claims to be.
Trump bragged a lot during his speech, at one point proclaiming that he is going to be "the greatest jobs producing president that god ever created, believe me", He also bragged about his "big plane" in a weird sort of way where he claimed that not even the elites have a plane as big as his. Not sure what his point was if it wasn't to point out that he's even more elite than the so called elites.
Overall, I saw and heard nothing that would inspire me to support Trump for anything. He sounded exactly like the know nothing jackass I've always believed he was. He's arrogant. He's a bigot. He's a braggart. And by any reasonable standard of evaluation, he's not just a horrible excuse for a human being, he's an ignorant boob.
Something else worth mentioning was the occasional outbursts from protesters who were scattered throughout the crowd, and at various times disrupted Trump's speech. I'm somewhat conflicted regarding those individuals, because on the one hand, their behavior is rude. This was Trump's event, and he has a right to be heard by his supporters. On the other hand, Trump is a bully and a racist who seems to be inspiring a lot of animosity towards various groups of people, and he has a reasonable shot at becoming our country's leader. With that in mind, I suppose it's completely understandable that people are reacting towards him the way they are.
I'm holding out hope that Trump will be recognized as the ignorant jackass he is and not be able to garner enough national support to win the presidency. It just seems unfathomable to me that this country would elect an intellectual like Barack Obama to a second term, then turn around four years later and elect an anti-intellectual like Donald Trump.