First off I want to declare that I have not announced my support of or for any candidate on the Republican side. Each week however my choices get fewer and fewer.
Having personally seen and heard such luminaries as Bobby Kennedy, George Wallace, Eugene McCarthy and Martin Luther King (Yes, it was all about the sixties), I was not about to miss a Trump show only twelve miles down the road.
Fortunately we arrived several hours before the auto barricades were erected on the main highway leading into the venue. My wife and I parked and began the long journey to join a line which was already several football fields long. As the time passed and the queue progressed conversations erupted, (check that, to inflammatory), conversations developed and even a few debates occurred. Hawkers were selling Trump buttons, 3 for $10, tee shirts, hats, pennants, and even megaphones. Capitalism was certainly alive and well.
Periodically a demonstrator would walk by with a poster suggesting that Mr. Trump go and do something, anatomically impossible, to himself. But of course we all have the right to our opinion, even the biologically misguided. The result of the mini demonstration was much laughter.
Approximately 20,000 people filled the park and waited under the downpour of a broiling sun. It seemed that the older crowd was reminiscing about another great gathering, Woodstock, as the queue seemed to be moving in time to Jefferson Airplane.
As we entered the free ticket zone we encountered, confined to their area, the PROTESTERS, 2016 style. A few hundred strong, mixed races and biased to the millennials, were in excellent voice as they continued a harangue which questioned our intelligence, our understanding of history, and even our bodily parts. To make the point even clearer the signs they held had a repetitive use of the F word. To clarify their position and on the chance that no one in line could read they continued to repeat the F word over and over again. Obviously this was repetitive learning for our benefit and to re-enforce their point, that we should just go home, bypass the primary or just drown ourselves in the lake. In addition for the hearing impaired the demonstrators continued to utilize sign language to clarify their position. Not being skilled in the art of sign it seemed that a single finger raised in the air had some definitive meaning as it was used over and over.
What really agitated the protestors was when I asked them how much the education, that produced this profanity laden demonstration, had cost their parents. I immediately defused the potentially explosive situation by proclaiming, in my radio voice, that no one should take offense since “swearing is simply a poor excuse for a limited vocabulary.”
We finally got to the perfect position. We found the heart of the rally, 30 yards, dead (too inflammatory) front and center, in front of the podium. I always liked being up close and personal.
As the starting time came and went people feinted from the heat, we said the Pledge of Allegiance, one man was having a heart attack (I don’ believe MoveOn.org induced), sang The Star Spangled Banner and waited, and waited, and waited. Rumors were floating through the crowd that the Trump entourage, including former Governor Brewer and Sherriff Joe, were delayed because of the road block. This of course gave everyone the opportunity to secure water, a portapotty, and re-fight (too incendiary) re-establish their original position.
As the clock continued to tick and my hip cried out for relief, we made the joint decision to head back to the car before the Donald arrived and before the traffic jam ensued.
HOW FOOLISH after waiting so long, I am sure you are thinking. Of course if you are a protestor you probably think you had accomplished your goal. Sometimes I find myself being all things to all people, but that’s just me. However, what the protestors didn’t realize, or chose to ignore, was that as a columnist and political maven, I knew his speech almost word for word. In addition, streaming internet allowed me to listen in the confines of my air conditioned SUV.
I wanted to see, feel and experience the so called anger, hate and hostility that I had been hearing about, from the main stream media, at a Trump event. As a college student of the Sixties, I expected the demonstrators to be more than uneducated (see the column “Information is not Knowledge”), factless, profanity shouting dimwits.
The crowd, on the other hand, bought their souvenirs, listened to the music, cheered and jeered, and substantiated every reason why Fountain Hills, Arizona was picked as the venue on that Sat. morning. This was Trump country. Having experienced Nam, Desert Storm, 911, Dot Com Crash, The Housing debacle, the broken promised Tea Party, NAFTA, ZIRP, the Iranian Nuclear Deal, TPP, Cuba and much more, this group has finally said enough is enough.
Just a final note. As my wife and I were leaving the event we saw a group of young black kids rushing to the event. Not to lose the opportunity they thrust their signs aggressively (to confrontational) demonstratively in our direction. To diffuse the moment and not become a MSM headline, as I knew the cameras were pointed our way, I quickly let my instincts take over. I thrust my right hand into the air and clenched my fist in a black power salute. I then shouted “FREE Bobby Seale!” My confronters seemed confused by the ramblings of an old 60’s guy and went on their way.
An interesting morning which will be long remembered and to quote the Bard “much adieu about nothing.”