By: William Howard
Donald J. Trump, love him or hate him, has single handedly commandeered the 2016 presidential election. For Trump, it turns out the third time’s the charm after two presidential attempts and many public grumblings about pursuing the Republican nomination for president. This current run has gathered the attention and the support of many Americans and the world.
As a student educated in Jesuit values, I chose to no longer take the media’s portrayal of Trump. Hearing that he would be speaking in Dayton during spring break, I chose to see the man for myself and enter his world of madness.
We are told about the Jesuit mission and ideals daily, but never have my ideas of reflection, discernment, solidarity and cura personalis been tested more than during my morning with Mr. Trump. Once the Chicago rally was cancelled, Trump’s Dayton rally received the national spotlight.
I convinced two friends to go with me to the rally, and we spent most of the morning waiting for Trump to arrive. From the moment we got in line for the security check, there was a mix of supporters, protesters and those who just wanted to watch the mogul for an experience like no other.
Trump has found a way to make people think it’s okay to not think anymore, which leaves those of us who do think critically to be seen as outsiders. From overhearing quotes like “The Democrats started this Black Lives Matter stuff ” said loud and proud in front of myself, a Black man, all the way to hearing someone say, “Ted Nugent would be a good vice president,” this lack of critical thinking has led many astray in the past and may very well be doing the same to this country.
Following security, we were led to a stage fully surrounded by secret service. After Chicago, it was obvious Trump was not going to let two of his rallies be cancelled.
We made it to the spots we were going to stand by about 7:30 a.m. Trump was scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. but, little did we know, there was no chance he was going to be on time.
By 9:30 a.m. the formalities began with prayer and the pledge of allegiance led by two famous Dayton business owners. After this, we all expected Trump’s plane to arrive. It didn’t, and wouldn’t for another hour. After standing for three hours, we waited even longer for the show, which frustrated the crowd who was not pleased with his lack of professionalism and timeliness.
Then, as if right on cue, the music changed to a very grandiose tone. With the fervor of a sitting president, Trump’s plane pulled up behind the open hanger doors prime for all to see. About 10 minutes later he deplaned and approached the stage to speak.
Trump said his typical fear mongering rhetoric. Speaking about building walls, telling an old military myth about shooting Muslims and closing with how he will make America “win so much we’ll get tired of winning.”
He kicked out about six protesters and one man tried to rush the stage. For the most part the rally was peaceful, though his words were anything but.
However, his words are key. If one takes more than a few seconds to think about what he is saying, you see he isn’t really saying anything. Nothing on policy, nothing on how to fix the economy, nothing on the high cost of higher education, nothing even about Dayton-related issues.
Trump truly spent an hour saying what the people want to hear with no clear plan on how to do any of it. Trump couldn’t care less about “issues.”
He cares about using fear to push him into the White House. I left his rally feeling terrified for the future of this nation.
Trump has tapped into a very deep, dark place in his supporters’ minds, to the point that if they thought just five seconds on what he says they’ll see it’s all talk and no real plan to better America. What’s frightening is Trump has convinced them not to. I encourage all Xavier students to please think very critically this election. It has never been needed more.
If you’re interested in seeing the madness that is a Trump Rally for yourself, I recorded my experience and posted it to YouTube: http://youtube/WC06BS9ly4l. Please watch and inform yourself about the man to see his dangerous rhetoric for yourself.