In the year 2015, humanity’s downward spiral has finally leveled off into a sheer vertical drop. As I stood in the midst of the crowd gathered at the Oklahoma City State Fair to hear Donald Trump speak, I found myself comforted by the fact that reaching terminal downward velocity at least means things can’t get worse any faster.
The event kicked off with a state senator, whose name I have forgotten, with the purpose firing up the crowd, promising a change, taking America back, etc. God was mentioned several times, but not really in connection to anything. To be honest it was kind of hard to pay attention because the guy next to me intermittently yelled something about building a wall. Regardless, the speech seemed to be well rehearsed, including the cheers that seemed to originate from the speakers, but which I could not place in the crowd itself.
Trump himself managed to show up half an hour late to his own rally. At one point I spotted his hair moving through the midway, cut off from me by a sea of cameras, only to disappear behind a corndog shack.
Meanwhile a fiddler and a singer had been brought out to get the crowd going, and they played several enjoyable tunes and did their best to make it through the technical difficulties that afflicted the sound system. As the audio cut out during Rolling in the Deep, I remember fearing for the life of the poor sap in charge of the sound system should Trump’s speech be cut off.
When the duo left the stage, the speakers began to play Sharp Dressed Man, which riled the crowd up a little. This was followed by Rolling in the Deep, which was followed by an opera number I couldn’t identify. Finally, the senator walked onstage and introduced “the next president of the United States.” The crowd cheered as You’re The Best Around struck up and Donald Trump finally took the stage.
Trump’s manner was informal. His speech appeared unrehearsed and loose, which seemed to work in his favor. He wore his Make America Great Again hat, and the crowd seemed to react well to his promises. He came off as likeable in the way that lizard people do when they’re pretending to be human.
Trump’s main target seemed to be other Republican candidates. At several points he explained how he would have handled recent events, such as the moving of an American auto plant to Mexico and the Iran nuclear deal. According to himself, he would put a 35 percent tax on any product coming over from Mexico and would not cave to pressure from his donors because he doesn’t have any. How he would deal with pressure from business associates was not mentioned.
The picture Trump painted for the audience was of a world where no problem is too challenging for a sufficiently smart and tough individual. His opponents, whom he variously described as idiots, stupid, lightweights and low-energy among other things, were not cut out for the job simply because they lacked the iron will of Donald Trump.
At this point, one of the Duck Dynasty guys came onstage and declared that he liked him some Trump.
In spite of these claims to toughness, Trump didn’t seem to supply any actual solutions to the problems he seems convinced we have. When he posited a solution I found myself thinking “Okay, but how?” In most cases, this question went unanswered. He claims that he can pass an amendment to build a wall across the Mexican border, but doesn’t explain how he would actually do so. He claims that the countries with which we negotiate are “ripping us off,” but gives us only a promise to do better than his predecessors in the realm of negotiations. He criticizes the Affordable Care Act, but offers only a promise to find some better way to do things. And how exactly would he enact a 35 percent tax on imported goods?
In short, Trump is a fantastic campaigner. It’s undeniable that the man can move a crowd. However this seems to be his main skill. He seemed to carry the speech on the strength of his personality, but if he has other strengths they went undisplayed here.
If I had to concoct a metaphor for the whole rally I would compare it to the funnel cake I bought on the way out. The whole thing had an unmistakable appeal to the senses, but under the sweetness and crunch was absolutely nothing of value. The whole thing had been a waste of time and was probably mildly poisonous. Soon it was over, and I realized that I was worse off for the experience, perhaps forever.