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My first Trump Rally - Nashville's Municipal Auditorium, Tuesday, May 29, 2018
My awesome granddaughter Sammie (oldest of my 10 grandkids) went online and signed up for two tickets to Trump's Rally here in Nashville. An early Father's Day gift to me.
We left the house around 3:00. Gates opened at 4:00 but Trump was not scheduled to go on until 7:00
I am familiar with Nashville (worked there for 17 years) so we didn't have any problem finding parking close to the Auditorium - traffic getting there was a minor issue - we parked around 4:00.
It was raining. Hard at times. Sammie wanted to take an umbrella from the trunk. I told her that Secret Service was not going to let her take an umbrella inside (foreshadowing here - Stephen King would be proud). I open the trunk for her because sometimes she seems to have an issue with the word no - LOL! (Never found out if it is the N or O that is the problem? :-) ) She opens umbrella - really opens umbrella - the umbrella I remember we broke the last time we used it on Fourth of July when a strong wind broke it - (I need to remember to take it out of the trunk and throw it away and get another umbrella).
We walk from the parking lot I found that a lot of people didn't seem to know about? (Not giving out my parking spots, a fisherman never really tells you where he catches his fish....)
We get in line. We are pretty far from the door. A really nice man is walking down the line giving away free ponchos (it was raining pretty hard at this time). I don't look good in a poncho and Sammie passes (for now). Older couple in line in front of us has problems putting on their ponchos and their 10? year old granddaughter is struggling to help them. Sammie helps the nice lady and I help the gentleman. We talk until we get inside. They are from Cleveland, Tennessee. Really nice folks. People behind us are nice too. We never speak about Trump or politics. The weather. Where we are from (people behind us are from Nashville, one young man lives in the apartments we just walked by). We just have pleasant conversations.
Poncho man comes down the line again. Sammie takes a poncho. We are getting close to a fence. We see our first protester. We all chat about the fact only one protester. We comment on commitment. I make a joke about how protesters are usually more motivated when the sun is out and temperature is between 60 and 80. Not too wet. Not too cold. Not too hot. Our new friends laugh. Some take time to pet the policeman's horse at this time. Pretty horse. Nice policeman.
We get to a barrier fence. We have been walking for a while. The nice policeman tells people no umbrellas allowed - there is a pile of umbrellas next to the fence - lady does not want to lose their nice umbrellas - I point out a dresser with no drawers in the parking garage next to us - suggest she put their umbrellas in the dresser - she loves the idea. At this time a young (22?) lady walks up to the policeman and says her boyfriend is at the door and she needs to go meet him. She gets mad. Policeman explains to her that if he lets her go to head of the line we (he points at us) might get mad. She says so what - she literally said "So What!" A lot of Trump in this supporter. He is not letting her go. She is getting mad. Guess what happens next. Put it this way, we get about 20 more feet closer to the door. Sammie points her out walking up the ramp in the auditorium. Some Trump supporters are going to Trump.
We get to the door. Secret Service. A LOT of Secret Service. Metal Detectors. Wands. Before we get to the door another nice young man comes out to tell us to take out our keys, cell phones or other metal objects, belts ok. We now see a large pile of slightly used ponchos. Municipal's capacity is 9,700. It has taken us 40 minutes in line to get to the door - there are two lines, from difference directions. 8 metal detectors. Now picture a 3,000 student high school with metal detectors and wands trying to get all students and teachers in school for the first class on time.
An Older gentleman (not out friends, we are in separate lines now) in a Harley Davidson vest in line in front of me does not seem to understand the nice secret service man's order to wait to go through the metal detector. Three times he tries to walk through while other Secret Service man is wanding his friend (Harley Davidson vests have a lot of metal) and Nice Secret Service agent keeps telling him to go back out - on third time I lightly grab his shirt sleeve and pull him toward me and ask him to tell me what he likes about Trump. He tells me everything. He said "Everything" He can go through metal detector now.
We get in our seat. It is around 4:40 or so. Music playing. Not enough bars to Periscope or Facebook Live. Eclectic music mix early, nothing newer than Macho Man or YMCA (we hear both). A lot of Stones (foreshadowing again early). Angie. Wild Horses. Sympathy With The Devil (that fits), Satisfaction. I notice signage - Promises Made, Promises Kept - Rally starts with a lie. We hear some Michael Jackson. Some Journey. Some old R&B. (Man behind me and me start to sing some of the songs - he is from Mount Juliet - my age - we talk about concerts we have seen here - and we may have sit in those seats). It is pretty much 60s, 70s and 80s Adult Rock. We get closer. Music changes.... An odd choice - Elton John's Norma Jean. Not very uplifting. I would not play it for warmup music for football or baseball. Maybe for other team's Batting Practice? Then we go Opera - Luciano Pavarotti - Turandot: Nessum Dorma. DJ seems to have forgotten his demographics?
Everytime some lights come on in News Pit some start yelling "Fake News!" We notice a young man a section over in a solid white poncho(?) that has Trump 2020 written down the front and back of it - something strikes us as being odd about him (more foreshadowing) and he is screaming Fake News a lot.
I am in line to get Sammie some Dippin Dots and a small Dr. Pepper (earlier she got me a large Diet Coke and some popcorn - my turn to go). Opening Prayer. I step out of line and lower my head. I appear to be the only person in concourse to stop for the prayer? National Anthem is sung. I am still out of line and putting my hand over my heart. I seem to be the only person in the concourse to do this - so much for having to stand for the National Anthem. I also keep the same position for Pledge of Allegiance - you guessed it - just me. I get in. Several speakers. Scott DeJarlais. Jim Duncan. Duncan repeats the NumbersUSA lie that 40% of people world are living on less than $4 a day. A lot of xenophobia from all of the speakers. Sad. Marsha Blackburn makes a stump speech. More Xenophobia. We hear a lot of "WALL!" and "Lock Her Up!" chants.
Trace Adkins plays a short set. Four songs. Now it is time for Trump. Remember that man in the solid white poncho? He rips off the Poncho. He starts screaming "F.... Trump. Trump S..." and takes off running - police and Secret Service are running too. Sammie is in the concourse, coming back from the restroom - she has a front-row 'seat' to seeing young man cuffed and stuffed. Here is Trump (I started tweeting about his lies from time to time and taking crowd photos). As we were leaving, we looked at the buttons for sale. Little kids were buying them. Family Values Evangelicals?
The lack of diversity at a Trump rally reminds me of audiences when George Wallace spoke:
Wallace is last 3rd Party Candidate to win states. 1 out of 8 voters nationwide voted for him:
I can now say I have seen two presidents in my lifetime, Nixon to Visit Huntsville On ‘Honor America’ Day I picked two "winners".
NOTE: Someone asked me on Twitter "You voted for Nixon and Trump?". NO! LOL! I was not old enough to vote for Nixon - My first POTUS vote was Reagan in 1980 when I was 20 - and I would NEVER vote for Trump - Thank You for asking! Now, back to my narrative....
Attending a Trump rally is a blast! Lots of good people. I feel for them. They are so misinformed. FoxNews will be looked on years from now as a pox on our nation. Great music. Well-orchestrated. Great production values. I noticed a lot of empty seats. My hunch is Trump's core base is shrinking. I sure hope so!
The awkward moment was leaving the auditorium. Right outside the doors were five black men with "Blacks for Trump" T-shirts and buttons. What was awkward was how people were coming out and fawning over them and wanting selfies with them. It seemed 'staged'.
If a Trump Rally comes to your town, go, have fun!
There are two men who do an awesome job of live-tweeting Trump Rallies:
Here is Daniel's great work:
Aaron Rupar: https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1001611763933171714
Jake Tapper caught some of the lies:
Trump lied a lot: What Donald Trump got wrong in his Tennessee rally for Marsha Blackburn