Around 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 12, I got dressed and prepared a travel bag for my three hour journey to Dayton, Ohio. Later that day, Donald Trump would be arriving to a packed airplane hanger to address a crowd of thousands. I would be part of that very crowd.
I was presented with the opportunity to cover the Trump rally for FDN news, our campus news station. This included a press pass that allowed Randi Orr and I to set up our camera on the press stage and interview supporters post rally. Little did I know what I had gotten myself into.
We arrived in Dayton, Ohio at the hangar around 4:30 a.m.. A myriad of supporters had already formed a line to the entrance of the building, three hours early. In the parking lot, a large pickup truck did donuts and revved its engine, attracting attention of supporters while filling the air with a thick, black smoke. In the line, the supporters held onto their signs; “Make America Great Again” and “The Silent Majority Stands With Trump” were printed on the cardstock propaganda. Red “Make America Great Again” hats sat on their heads and pro-Trump buttons were pinned on their jackets. I stuck out like a sore thumb.
It wasn’t until a lady handed me some signs that I truly felt comfortable. The signs were in support of Trump. This is when I came to the realization that in order to avoid the hate and harassment, I would need to hide who I am and blend in with the “silent majority,” as they refer to themselves as. I wasn’t wearing camo or Trump buttons, but I had my Trump signs and that calmed me down enough.
The crowd kept growing and the discussions increased as they waited to be let into the hangar. More signs were handed out while vendors pushed around their carts filled with anti-Hillary buttons. This continued for hours until the doors to the hangar finally opened, and the supporters swarmed in.
In the minutes leading up to Trump’s arrival, music was blasted into the crowd to pump them up. The crowd cheered things such as “Build A Wall,” and “U.S.A.” leading up to Trump’s grand entrance. The music got quiet, then loud once again. This time, though, the music resembled that of a Roman gladiator entering the colosseum for battle.
The crowd roared with applause and cheering as Trump’s plane pulled up to the hangar door. The door opened and out came the presidential candidate.
Trump spoke of hot topic issues such as safety on American soil and ISIS. He touched on the other candidates and addressed the Chicago protests that happened the previous evening. Then it happened — protesters starting to make their presence known. When a younger protester made his presence known, Trump supporters pointed him out while chanting, “Kick him out.” Trump responded in a manner to get laughter and support.
“Get him out of here. Take him back home to mommy.” Trump mocked the kid. The crowd loved it, though. This encouraged them to mock the kid as well, harassing him as Secret Service removed him from the venue. My heart hurt for the kid, though. Trump calls himself a Christian. He talks on how he has the Evangelical vote and that Christians love him. But how could a Christian treat others with so much hate and disgust? It made me feel sick and ashamed for the so-called “billionaire.” This is what I want to convey. This is what I want to point out. I went to a Trump rally as a Christian. I went to a Trump rally as a Huntington University student.
Never in my 21 years have I been surrounded by so much hate, racism and disgust. The rally felt more like a clan meeting than a rally for a presidential nominee. I was questioning the supporters’ intelligence, as Trump made somewhat racist and bigoted remarks that the supporters applauded and cheered for.
This man does not know what he is talking about, but does know how to get his name out in the world of media (which he gestured to us in the press area multiple times, shooting down our work and painting us to be villains).
I was concerned for my safety at the rally. I was concerned that I might get found out as a non-Trump supporter and that I would have to flee in order to stay safe. I was in fear of a man who could very well be our next President.
I have reached the conclusion that no “sane” person can support this man, as he speaks with such hate towards others. He considers himself a Christian, yet contrasts many Christian views.
Trump is not a joke. He is running for Republican nominee, and he is winning.
I cannot imagine seeing this hateful human to continue gaining voter support. I do not want to see him #MakeAmericaHateAgain. I am not asking you to vote any certain way, I just ask that you make the right choice and avoid voting for a man who will ruin the country we live in.
Take it from someone who has experienced his hateful words and actions first-hand.