Trump Rally Indy – Adam Henze
From the desk of Henze…
A close friend and performance colleague of mine, Adam Henze (or Henzbo, I like Henzbo.) had attended the Trump Rally here in Indianapolis, IN to here “The Donald” speak. And how fitting that a he would choose to give his speech at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. A venue well know for our annual summer State Fair where we showcase many attractions, on being some of our prize pigs. So I am sure he felt right at home.
Anyways, I waited with anticipation to read many blurbs about his stance on foreign policy, better education, comprehensive healthcare, heck even a more realistic expectation of illegal citizens here in the U.S. besides “building a wall and making the country he wants to separate us from pay for it.”. I was sure that SOMETHING like that to happen. Seriously. Well, that’s what I was hoping had happened. Hoped.
Below are where you will find what crushed my hopes. They are the top “10 complicated observations of someone trolling a lackluster rally at the Indiana State Fairgrounds” as told by observer Adam Henze.
10 complicated observations of someone trolling Trump’s lackluster rally at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
1. I have very little to say about Trump himself, so I will start with my observations on his “speech.” To be honest, we thought we’d go and get some better understanding of why people think he’s so charismatic. And honestly, I can see why people might think he is engaging if he were on a TV in the background of a retail store. But seriously, his presentation itself was shockingly boring. He spent like 10 minutes complaining about his own business deals with China. He rambled from point to point. He reiterated the 3 (sort of) facts he knows about Indiana. He contradicted himself and misused information. Every time he could tell he was losing the crowd, he restated one of his 8 stock phrases. At the lowest energy point he pointed to the cameras and said, “Do we hate the media?!” Biggest cheers of the night. That was the scariest part of the rally to me. It reaffirmed that studying critical literacy is the most important thing that I can do with my life right now.
2. So many snitching grandmas pointing out protesters to secret service. I’m convinced that Trump supporters should get stitches.
3. There actually seemed to be a lot of protesters disrupting the rally. They just weren’t mobilized like protesters in other cities (which sounds like, well, Indianapolis). Many were there individually, or with a friend. My favorite protester inside: small dude wearing a Captain America costume, shield, and a plastic Trump mask (he was kicked out). My favorite protester outside: A guy with no shirt, braids and sagging pants carrying a sign that said “Fuck Ya Yellow Boy Trump.” Trump accused Indiana protesters of being weaker than protesters in other cities.
4. I am not sure how to say this without sounding ableist or insulting, but I think it is an important observation: I was surprised to see how many people around us had a disability. When we first got to our spot, an elderly man in a Vietnam Vet hat and a walker dropped his cane. My friend Rocío was kind and helped him pick it up, but he moved anyway (which I assume was an act motivated by racism). A couple elderly women collapsed around us. There were several people in wheelchairs. A military man stood next to me with folded arms and a prosthetic leg. I say this because although I can’t recall Trump talking about universal healthcare, I imagine that most of those people would have booed the thought. I’m fascinated how some people opt to vote against their own best interests in this country.
5. The first thing that happened when I entered the pavilion is I got to hug my friend Amy. The last thing that happened before I exited the pavilion, I got to hug my friend Jenni. It made me feel like I was surrounded by friends in there, which meant everything.
6. I went in a group of 3 people, and I was the only (demonstrably) white person in our trio. I spent most of the time watching the crowd watch us. Often I would catch people by us leering at my friends and the stranger and I would make eye contact–they would look away, looking like they were caught ogling cleavage or something. It made me think about the relations between prejudice, bodies and space. It is what I’ve reflected on the most.
7. Not to diss any form of protests–because we need all kinds–but honestly, I feel like I accomplished so much more talking shit audibly and shooting people dirty looks than if we were to go with my original plan (which is use my loud voice to shout at the stage). I scoffed out loud when Trump said he likes knowing statistics. When Trump complained that only one recently-fired Carrier worker was in the crowd, I said, “Yeah, the rest are voting for Bernie you dumbass.” Everyone around looked back at me. When Trump bragged about meeting with Mike Pence, there were audible grumbles among the cheers. I booed quietly. The guy in front of me turned around. I thought he was finally going to check me but he said, “I thought this Trump guy WANTED our vote.”
8. I also think I accomplished quite a bit just by silently using my posture and my gaze. Folding my arms while other people clapped, cheating my body toward people gawking at my group, etc. A Jimmy Neutron-looking family of a teen boy, his dad, and uncles were the loudest behind me cheering “Build That Wall! Build That Wall!” When I turned and menacingly stared at them, they immediately stopped. It is one of the only times during the rally that I saw someone express a look of shame.
9. Trump walked out on stage to the song “Are Y’all Ready For This?” Seriously. The answer is no. Also, the unidentified dude who introduced Trump sounded like the voice over guy in an infomercial: “Are you tired of always losing one sock in the dryer America? Vote Trump!”
10. We left early, because we stopped giving a shit. We thought we were going to go into the belly of this beast, and it would be terrifying. But honestly it was just sad. Everyone there seemed defeated. The protesters were half-assing it, and so were the supporters. My friend Paxton said, “Everyone around us seemed like losers.” And the thing is, I don’t think he meant it as a dig. Everyone around us seemed unhappy. Disenfranchised. Like they had lost something in America. When we left the pavilion I thought of shouting to everyone around me, “This man is a charlatan and y’all need to rethink your lives.” But my gut told me not to do it. It would have felt like kicking someone when they were down.