The first thing I saw of him was his hair.
I was sitting three rows up from the floor, stage right, not too far from his official arena entrance, and all I could make out at first was that hay-bale of his as it lingered and floated around seemingly three feet above his body.
He was loitering and moving to and fro in the entrance hall, shaking hands — once done he strutted confidently out on stage while the arena sound system blasted a bass-heavy tone at bone-rattling volume, a hell-found sound somewhere between the THX System Test and a 2010 dubstep drop.
I’d gone in to get to know people — my ordinary life just doesn’t give me much in the way of opportunity to engage with Trump supporters, much less to see how they interact with each other in a space specifically made for them. I got to learn a lot — much more than I bargained for — and at an emotional price that I just wasn’t prepared to pay, and by the time Trump himself took the stage I had already reached my internal breaking point.
As he paced the platform and smiled and waved, the crowd leaped to its feet and roared, waving campaign-provided signs that said “The Silent Majority Stands With Trump” — a sign which given the deafening volume of screams that slammed into my ears made absolutely no sense to me.
As the throng heaved and boomed, I clapped and nodded but made no noise myself. To my right, Eugene, my best friend for the day, was hopping up and down and yelling so hard his voice cracked. Mid hop, he grabbed my shoulder and shook me back and forth, addressing his yells directly to me?–?That’s our next President! That’s our next President!”” And it was on the third repetition of that goddamned phrase that the light finally faded from my eyes.
Here’s a picture that was taken of me the day of the rally:
This picture was taken by a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel who threw it online as their leading picture for their liveblog of the day. I guess I’d kind of asked for it — ?”Florida Man”” is a fairly popular meme