It didn’t hit me that I was going to a Donald Trump rally until I passed a group of 100 or so protesters on the way to Grumman Studios in Bethpage.
They were screaming anti-Trump messages and holding signs belittling the Republican candidate. They were verbally abusing the massive string of supporters, calling them racists and un-American. They were making me, a Bernie supporter, feel like dirt.
Yet here I was, on my way to see the Republican-hopeful that has divided this country. Oddly enough, I found that it was not the big guy who scared me, but the people.
The venue itself was a few blocks down from the protesters. A procession of rally-goers walked through the streets of Bethpage and through security into the hall. Once I entered the ruckus, I realized I was in the whitest place ever.
First of all, the music was horrible. A mix of patriotic folk songs, rock and “Are You Ready for This” was blaring from the speakers. It was as if Trump asked Aaron Carter to DJ the rally.
Later, a guy pulled out a “White Lives Matter” sign from out of nowhere. The surrounding vicinity was roaring in agreement. After being confronted by the Secret Service, the same guy put his girlfriend on his shoulders and had her hold the sign up.
The crowd went wild.
As someone who isn’t white, I did not feel safe. If it was not for the fact that the old couple next to me was friendly, I probably would have left. Seeing the Donald isn’t worth getting choke-slammed.
After some maneuvering through the crowd, I managed to get a decent view of the stage right before Ivanka Trump introduced her father. The only caveat was the fact that I was next to two men who just couldn’t keep it in their pants, making sexual comments about her.
Then the big guy came out to “Are You Ready for This,” which played for the second time. He really needs to find some new campaign music. The crowd seemed to like it, however, as they exploded with emotion.
Trump thanked his family, said some kind words about the city and Long Island and then went right into politics.
As he went, so did the crowd. Whenever he mentioned the wall he was going to build, the crowd would chant “Mexico!” If he was ranting about Lyin’ Ted, “Ted Cruz sucks” would ring throughout the audience.
However, the crowd did seem disjointed at times. When Trump was going on about how much he “loves” Hispanic people, there were a lot of boos. When he mentioned the wall, there were quite a bit of anti-Cruz jeers from the audience.
The best was when the crowd spotted a protester. Trump stopped his speech, and looked for whoever was interrupting him. The crowd began their “asshole” chants and wanted to tear the guy limb-from-limb.
Trump thought differently. He asked for no violence and the crowd jeered. They wanted to see blood. They wanted to see the Donald obliterate the guy.
Instead, he moved on. He talked about the Syrian refugee crisis. Interestingly enough, he decided to use an Al Wilson song to make his point. He recited the lyrics to Wilson’s 1968 hit, “The Snake.” The song, inspired by the fable “The Farmer and the Viper,” tells the tale of a woman taking care of a frozen snake. He emphasized the part where the snake bites the woman who took care of it and the crowd went nuts with it. It was pretty surprising to see how down the crowd was with soul music.
The rally ended with Trump bashing the media and going over the points he made. And once he left, the masses rushed toward the exit. That’s it. The end.
Trump left without saying or doing anything controversial. It was disappointing. As much as I was there to see Trump in his political “glory,” I was expecting a show, but instead we got a dud from the Donald.
But the crowd made this rally interesting. They were riled, trying to provoke the few protesters that snuck in. The anti-Hispanic sentiment and overwhelming whiteness was in full effect, not because Trump said something but because they made it that way.
It was frightening to see a crowd of over 10,000 people chanting racial slurs and calling for violence against a protester. They were out for blood, not there for political support.