We crashed a Donald Trump meeting and this is what we learned
There was a foul odor that reeked of cheap cologne and marker ink behind a white door where an insufferable gathering was taking place. I played it calm, but inside I was scared as all hell. This was no ordinary gathering, and it had a risk, though a small one. It’s not often a progressive writer seeks to crash a Donald Trump meeting, but that’s exactly what I did. I wanted to look into the eyes of Trump’s America.
Johnny Cash was playing as I walked into the residence where the meeting was taking place. I have nothing against Johnny Cash, in fact, it made me somewhat angry to hear good music played in such a disturbing place. Every piece of furniture was laminated, as if some great execution was to unfold. Jesus was a staple, mounted on every shelf and corner. Even the carpet was disturbing, a sort of blackish-green that reminded me of envy for some reason. The worst part was the people, however.
I expected there to be loons, but it seemed the entire madhouse was invited to this cringe-worthy corner of suburban Louisiana. I choose not to say who organized it, or give any names, or the location (simply out of courtesy and precaution, and the fact that I drank a lot of their booze). Obviously no one there knew who I was, nor should they have. As far as they were concerned, I was just another red-blooded white American male, ready to spit in the eye of social justice and defecate on any trace of common sense or human decency.
I was incredibly paranoid. I went so far as to wear an Old Glory visor cap, though I spoke softly. I asked random questions, playing off that I was a writer for a conservative blog. I asked questions like: “How will Trump make America great again?” “What will Trump do that’s any different than other Republicans?” “What is Trump’s best policy prescription for America?”
Some answers were straightforward, like, “He’s gonna bring the country back away from the evil of liberalism.” Some answers were just redundant, “He’s bringing greatness and glory back to America.” Other answers were just plain hateful and incoherent. “He’s gonna kick out the Muslims.” “Fuck the Mexicans” (someone actually started their sentence with that). A speaking session began by some sixty-four year old self-styled Ted Nugent knockoff, dressed in military fatigues and a white cowboy hat… This is when I started to drink.
There were vague statements about taking America back from the liberals that destroyed it, something about sticking a finger up the ass of DC, and a veered off topical statement about the speaker’s dog who apparently was a very good swimmer. Three glasses of bourbon/coke chasers later, I forgot there was someone even speaking. I looked around the room, angry faces that seemed ever more similar to an anxious horde.
The meeting soon turned tedious. The owner of the home, decided to reveal his gun collection. The guns were impressive, to say the least. It wasn’t an arsenal, but it was disturbing enough for me.
I had never been hit on by more old women than I had at this meeting. The experience was very disappointing. Going in, you think you’re going to uncover something great, some new perspective on a human experience. Instead, all I felt was cold and disgust.
It seemed that in this obscure corner of America, no better understanding could be reached. I had some semblance that maybe there was something more to Trump and his supporters. Instead, it was an affirmation of all that was ugly in the American character. Greed, racism, hatred of the lesser, all seemed to converge within these people, and it was impossible to comprehend how deep this ran.
What I heard and saw reaffirmed the worst possible understanding of Trump’s fame. Trump was not important at all here. He is just a carnal representation, a figurehead of the perverse. Trump simply feeds off of views that already exist. These were suspicions long held, and it seemed even worse to confirm it personally. All I could think was; this is a mad time in America.
At the end of it all, the parting words by a speaker, “There’s a revolution coming to this country. Trump’s gonna give it back to us real Americans. And if he don’t win, then we will take it back ourselves, by any means necessary.” These words played over and over again, and the entire time I could hear the sound of Jimi Hendrix playing the Star-Spangled Banner. The faces of the gathering looked like ogres, and Trump stood tall among the bleak shadows of these dark Americans.
I don’t even remember leaving the event, but I assumed I did, as I woke up at home, still wearing my clothes. It wasn’t long after I vomited from my obvious hangover, I checked the news on my computer. Familiar words came back to me, “By any means necessary.” A militia had apparently seized a federal building in Oregon, no doubt the grand extension of this mad time in American history.
There I sat, realizing that nothing was accomplished. There was no real story. Rather the story was merely me, being there, vaguely hashing out what I experienced and why this had any relevance at all to understanding American politics. Nothing new was learned, nothing different. All it achieved was a personal discovery that there is something very wrong with this country. There is no bound not reached, no line uncrossed.
The reflection taught me that there is a great cataclysm coming to American politics. 2016 will be an interesting year. There are caveats to this, though. It reminds me of an old Chinese curse that says, “May you live in interesting times.” What some may not realize is that interesting is not always good. These are interesting times in America. Trump’s America.