The winter of 1986 was the last time I had been to Fountain Hills. My grandparents took some of our family there to see the great fountain. It’s just the sort of out of the way landmark that your favorite grandparents would be excited about. Whenever I think of the place, I can’t help but picture the attraction as something Chevy Chase’s character from National Lampoon’s Vacation would drive 500 miles out of the way for and risk life or death to visit for a few minutes with his reluctant family. I have no idea whether the hyperstimulated, attention deficit generation kids of today would muster any enthusiasm or appreciation for a ginormous fountain, beyond the prospect for some easy instagram like action. As a wide eyed child of the 1980’s though, I at least recall wanting to go see it, and so we did.
Fast forward 30 years later, and everyone from the original trip has long been dead and gone. Meanwhile, I found myself bogged down in standstill traffic in the middle of the desert en route to the Trump rally in Fountain Hills at the same park memorable park. I had no idea at the time, that the reason for the delay was that protesters had blocked the road, backing up traffic for several miles. I ended up turning around and taking a 30 mile detour in what apparently was the only alternate route offered to me by SIRI. I had to pee in the worst way after driving for so long. There was no way I was going to make it to a bathroom, so I pulled over in the middle of nowhere and ended up going into a a couple of empty plastic water bottles I had in my car(not Trump brand water bottles though.)
Finally, I arrived and found a place to park a few blocks away. As I was walking up I realized I still had my knife in my pocket and decided it would be best not to take it to the rally. It was blazing hot outside though, so rather than walk back to my car, I just ditched the knife in some bushes to retrieve on the way back. I was already pretty exhausted at this point, having been on the road for 2 hours in what would normally be a 30 minute drive. Unfortunately, after having GPS on for so long, my phone died before I could obtain any decent photos.
As I got to the rally at the park, I was expecting it to be almost over since I was so late getting there. To my surprise it hadn’t quite started yet. Trump must have decided to delay things due to the protesters blocking traffic. Now for the rally observations:
-Sheriff Joe and Jan Brewer both gave brief warm up speeches. These were fairly boilerplate, basic remarks about “making america great again,” “protecting the border” etc. Nothing too interesting. Just getting the crowd fired up.
-There were several thousand people in attendance including a pretty wide variety of types. It was way more ethnically diverse than I was expecting. More than once I found myself doing a double take and thinking “really? that person is a Trump supporter?” The majority of attendees were just suburban looking white families, young couples and energetic guys. It was a sea of redhats.
-As for the protesters, there were a fair amount of them there at the grounds, maybe a couple hundred. For the most part they resembled the kind of mixed up people you’d see in a Common Filth Tumblristas vid or a Vine marathon. A couple of them stood out to me. There was a teenage mulatto girl with a Beyonce hairdo. She had a cardboard sign that said “Fuck You Cracka.” There was kind of a surreal moment when a beautiful young white blonde girl protester was arguing with some Trump supporters while the girl with the “Fuck You Cracka” sign was positioned directly behind her. In true pathologically altruistic fashion, the young blonde girl was vigorously defending someone who openly hates her kind. This was ethnomasochism in real time, virtue signaling for empty approval at the expense of the only people who might genuinely sacrifice something for you someday. An attractive hipster girl with bluish hair had a sign that said “Trump wants to bang his daughter.” This was a reference to that interview where Trump said essentially that his daughter was hot, and if they weren’t related he would probably date her. I don’t see what the bid deal is. These are supposed to be the people who have permissive attitudes about sex, gender etc. Literally almost anything goes. Ivanka Trump is an adult so if she and Donald decided to have a consensual incestuous relationship, why would this be a problem? It wouldn’t bother me at all. Perhaps I’ve just seen Taboo American Style enough times to be desensitized to it all.
-The pro-Trump people who were confronting the protesters and engaging with them, I have to admit made me empathize with some of the anti-Trump crowd. A lot of the stuff they were saying was at the level of the most cringeworthy, basic bitch republican cliches. One guy yelled “Get a job! We’re sick of having to support you on welfare.” This sort of thing is lame, because I’d be willing to bet most of the protesters probably do have jobs and are just working class stiffs like everyone else. They were mainly there I would imagine to protest Trump’s stand on immigration, not advocate for unemployment checks. There were also the annoying Christian megaphone people, the ones you see at almost every Phoenix event, complete with their “God Hates Homos” signs quoting bible scripture passages etc. There was another guy who was handing out sheets of paper with “ammunition” against the protesters, which was basically a list of ways how “Bernie Sanders is similar to Hitler.” Yep the old “dems are the real fascists” meme. These things remind me why I gravitated toward the AltLeft(aka political homelessness.) I don’t relate to any of these people, yet I’m not willing to sell out white children and western civilization to mulatto girls with “fuck you cracka” signs who’ll transform the place into Haiti 2.0 if we bend over and hand them the keys. Have you ever been to a predominantly black part of town you’d like to live in or that you feel comfortable walking alone in late at night? Me neither.
-As for Trump’s speech, much of it was familiar material for anyone who has been following the campaign for a a significant period of time. He talked a lot about the wall and stopping illegal immigration. One thing I was especially encouraged about though is that he brought up how Kasich supported NAFTA, and that it has been a disaster for the US. He came out strongly against “free” trade deals and spoke about them at length. He’s mentioned these issues before, but to actually hear them addressed to a large republican crowd was incredible. The worst parts of the speech for me was when he talked about building up the military and also being tough with Iran. As far as I’m concerned, we should have normal diplomatic ties with Iran. There’s no reason for them to be an enemy at this point. The hostage crisis was over 30 years ago. Yes, the Iranian government was backwards, but we got our people back. Iran had a right to hate us anyway, since we overthrew their democratically elected leader and installed The Shah(who was actually a wise man.) Whatever attritionary shadow conflict still goes on between Iran and Israel…I don’t give a shit. It has nothing to do with us. Trump also said that he was going to build a military so powerful that “nobody would ever think to mess with us.” Personally I’d like to see the defense budget cut in half and the US extract itself from the Korean conflict and many others as well as clear out many of our bases around the world. Trump often speaks about not being the world’s policeman, but when speaking to republican audiences it seems he can’t help but throw out the kind of red meat that he thinks they want to hear. Oddly, Trump is at his best when he just goes with his own instincts and blurts out whatever is on his mind, which ends up being what a lot of other people are thinking but unwilling to say. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to lead the way.
-After seeing what happened in Chicago, I was expecting possible skirmishes. The protesters at the actual event were mostly peaceful(this wasn’t the case with the people blocking the road, who were pure scum.) Wearing a Trump hat, I expected people to heckle me and talk trash like they would online but not a single person did. Even as I was walking back to my car after the rally along with a group of them beside me, they never bothered me once. Also, the sheriff’s people were out in full force, and anyone who got out of line was kicked out immediately. They were not having it. I only saw one young guy get thrown out. He was a Trump supporter who just got a little too rowdy and confrontational with the protesters(but wasn’t actually violent.) I couldn’t help but wonder if it was someone I knew from Twitter.
Moving on to primary day, I had heard rumors that the lines would be long. I figured the downtown polling location would be pretty busy, but I went anyway since it was the nearest to my apartment. The line stretched for a couple blocks, and at 4pm it was still pretty hot out. I walked to the end of it and waited. Judging by looks, overhearing conversations and what I know of that area, it was mostly Bernie supporters(ethnic chauvinists, non english speaking people, flaming gays, white guilt millennials etc.)
Good samaritans occasionally came by the line to give us bottled water and things while were were waiting. There was a nutty homeless lady yelling something conspiratorial and politically incoherent at us from across the street. I was worried she was going to be there for the duration of my time in line, but she mercifully left after about 10 minutes.
While I was waiting, I recognized a face from the Trump rally. It was the dude who got thrown out! I wanted to talk to him, but he was leaving…clearly off in his own world on some shitlordy mission. A car full of college kids drove by honking with a Trump sign in their window.
The most annoying people for me were the petition ones. At almost any public gathering with a significant number of humans, there are always the “marijuana petition” people trying to get you to get a legalizing marijuana on the ballot. I don’t really care about pot either way, but if legalizing pot is the defining issue that mobilizes you, I question your priorities as an activist in these critical times.
After almost 4 hours of waiting in line, I finally made it in the building. Luckily there was a bathroom, as by that time I really had to go after drinking all that water in line. Once inside the voting room, I noticed most people had got directed to a line for provisional ballots. My registration was in order, so I was sent to a shorter line of people who had their shit together. I quickly voted for Trump and got out of there, about 15 minutes before the state got called for him. There were still thousands of people in line, and the line was longer than it originally was when I got in it.
There were way too few polling places for such a large metropolitan city. It’s never been that way before. Normally it takes about 5 minutes to vote here, and there are polling places every few miles. Whoever made these changes should be fired. Waiting in line for 4 hours to vote is ridiculous in a first world country(are we still first world and if so, for how much longer?) I’ve read rumors about people who said that they were registered democrats but couldn’t vote because when they got to the polls their registration had been switched to independent or libertarian. These same conspiracy theories come every primary election. My own personal belief is that it’s all bullshit, and the people were probably just so ignorant of the political process they didn’t know what they were registered as. Most likely, as in many customer service situations, the person feels like an idiot for not being prepared and directs his/her anger onto someone else as some kind of defense mechanism. Much easier just to claim some boogeyman switched your party affiliation. I saw numerous instances of this when I got to the polling booth, with people unable to answer basic questions about their registration. It isn’t difficult to confirm your registration status and research eligibility requirements beforehand. It takes about 2 minutes of Googling and potentially saves other people hours of waiting in line.
So anyway, those were my tedious experiences, stoically waiting in lines for Trump oriented activities. I have doubts about whether he would be a revolutionary leader. There’s a good chance from all that I’ve heard, that a Trump administration will be more of the same foreign interventionism on behalf of Israeli and transnational corporate interests, as well as continued globalization on most fronts. Yet if he builds a wall and restructures our trade deals to be even slightly in our national interests, it will have been worth it for me.