On Thursday, June 16, I had the distinct pleasure of attending a Donald Trump rally in my hometown of Dallas, Texas. My best friend shot me a text on the day of that said, “I just wanna go and try to understand how people can even support him lol.” Well, we went, we saw and we did not understand. We didn’t even lol.
The rally was held at a venue in South Dallas called Gilley’s. If you Google “Gilley’s Dallas,” it’s literally described as a “honky tonk,” which is defined as “a cheap or disreputable bar.”
I spend a lot of time defending my beloved Texas to my UC Berkeley friends, but frankly, this is the place where all of your negative stereotypes come to life. We saw elderly white men sporting “Texas Secede” T-shirts and other elderly white men with the Confederate flag draped stylishly over their shoulders. My personal favorite was the “Hillary for Prison” T-shirt, which many expertly paired with those iconic, red “Make America Great Again” hats. Something like 99 percent of the older supporters that we saw were wearing Velcro shoes, but that’s beside the point.
As we filed into the sweaty, smelly honky tonk, I looked around and realized I was the only person of color that I could see, which shouldn’t have surprised me but still did.
To kick off the rally, a number of guest speakers took the stage to sing their praises about Donald Trump. There was a pastor who led a prayer to Jesus Christ Himself, thanking God for Trump’s existence, which was followed by a resounding “amen” from the crowd.
An Asian-American mayor took 15 minutes to essentially say, “Look, I’m not even white and I support Trump, I guess.” There was a senior policy adviser whose anti-immigrant tirade incited “build a wall” and “kick them out” chants from the crowd.
This is probably a good time to mention that at every pause, everyone chanted “Trump, Trump, Trump …” in this creepy, robotic way that reminded me of rabid dogs. Not to mention, every time Hillary Clinton was mentioned, everyone shouted either “that bitch” or “crooked Hillary” or “fuck that bitch.” Exceptionally creative group, they were.
Once The Donald finally appeared on stage, the crowd went batshit crazy, jumping up and down, punching each other — a lady standing behind me screamed “MARRY ME.” I was disappointed that she didn’t flash him. I also noticed a lot of feral grunting and snarling from some of the more evolved rally-goers.
About halfway through his speech, Trump paused to address an altercation between his supporters and a team of protesters that were chanting “fuck Trump” at any opportunity. He cackled and purred, “Don’t huuurrt them, don’t huurrrt them. Let them go home to their mommies,” as the crowd formed a circle around the outnumbered group while chanting “Trump” and flipping them off. I overheard a woman cry, “Get those hippies out of here,” as security guards forced the protesters out the door.
At this point, my friend and I were both physically and emotionally exhausted. It was draining to come to terms with the fact that these supporters, so eager to hate and blame, were people from my own hometown. On our way out the door, we joined a horde of protesters. We also decided that we really just needed a hug from Obama more than anything.
As we drove away, we blasted the Black Eyed Peas’ “Where Is The Love” with the windows down (because what else can you do after that experience) and pulled up beside a herd of greasy-haired college boys in Sperry’s shouting “‘Murica!” at a family of Hispanic protesters — just one of the many horrors I shall never comprehend from that day.
Contact Carina Zhao at [email protected].