Monday, May 2, 2016

That guy at the Trump rally

Tomorrow is primary day in my home state of Indiana.

It is said to be Donald Trump's triumphant moment or Ted Cruz's last stand or John Kasich's...I don't know what. In light of that, I am compelled to write once again about Donald Trump, but it has nothing to do with Indiana. Rather, I am hearkening back to a campaign stop Trump made on April 25th in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. I happened to catch a bit of his stump speech while I was eating dinner.

That's not entirely true. Trump's speech was not what caught my eye. It was one young man in the crowd behind Trump off to the left of the screen. He wore an American flag bathrobe, something like what Apollo Creed wore in one of the Rocky movies (which one I have no idea). Because what could be more patriotic and than wrapping the American flag across your bare body?

I searched around and found this video of the speech on YouTube, uploaded by a user named "Patriotic Populist"...who gave the 50 minute plus footage an opening music bed of Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries." In re-watching the speech, I noticed I wasn't watching Trump half as much as I was this guy in the flag bathrobe. After all, he was even more animated than Trump. Since I don't know the young man's name, I started calling him Flag Robe Guy or FRG for short.

Most of FRG's motions were fist pumps and cries of "Yes!" similar to what you might see at an NFL game or a Motley Crue concert. One of those "Yes" moments seemed almost sexual in nature when Trump alluded to "knocking an opponent on his ass." FRG then took a quick pause to snap a selfie of himself, making sure to capture Trump in the background. He grows positively misty-eyed at Trump's mention of Sheriff Joe Arpaio then gives his friend a big hug during chants of "build that wall!" This emotion swells to a lusty display of his tongue when Trump mentions Ivanka.

It is not all rock concert good times for FRG, however. He grows positively dour as Trump names his litany of "countries taking our jobs." FRG responds with a bellowing "boo!" and thumbs down motions. Things pick up eventually though as Trump turns to face the supporters behind him. FRG shouts "I love you!" and makes a "heart" gesture out of his two hands.

I can't really talk. I think I did something similar when I saw Erin Gray of Buck Rogers fame at a sci-fi convention back in 2001. Anyway...

Then comes the culmination. Towards the end of the clip, Trump pledges that he will protect our Second Amendment rights. In response, FRG dabs (see Cam Newton).

I don't say any of this to mock the young FRG. I mean, I don't know anything about him or his story. Any criticism is unfair. He's probably not a bad guy. So why the fascination? Well, I'm envious of him.

That's right. I envy his certainty. I envy his seeming ability to look at the world and say "this is right, this is wrong, and there just ain't no in betweens." He can also look at a political candidate and say "They are absolutely the right choice! No question!" I can't.

Especially Trump. I suppose I might be able to if Trump ever made a solid statement about what he's going to do in office. I mean, I know he says he's going to "build that wall," but that might actually be the only concrete plan of action in his platform. I listened to his speech on foreign policy and only came away with inconsistency. Trump says he will "work closely" with our allies but ditching NATO is certainly on the table. He's going to cut spending but spend more on the military at the same time. He's going to stop China from "raping us." "We're going to turn it around, we have the cards, don't forget it."

How that will be done without trade conflicts and just what those cards are were not divulged. Maybe vagueness is the Trump campaign platform.

I feel so much uncertainty when I examine political matters. What is a fair immigration policy that won't rip families apart but will provide sensible security? How do you have any of the benefits Trump is touting from federal services, such as preserving Social Security and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and have a lower tax rate? Oh and isn't anybody else feeling the unsettling historical echoes upon hearing Trump's "America First!" rhetoric? At every turn I'm tripped up on logic and factual accuracy, preventing me from buying in with the same wholehearted fervor.

So I'm envious. My jeremiad could go on for screens and screens, but the upshot is I just can't be as cocksure as Flag Robe Guy. I mean, I'm not certain at this point in my life that I can ever tell someone I love them again. This guy can shout it out at Trump no problem. It's something I just can't do.

No matter how appealing blind faith and simple binary thinking might be.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets


  1. On FB, Lee said: "Nicely done Jon Nichols. I don't know how every Jewish person in the world is not up in arms when they hear him discuss "registering" all Muslims. If that does not make people scared, I don't get it. made a funny that you didn't reference...the only "concrete" plan he's put forth is building the wall...I chuckled at that."