Tonight I had a ticket to see The Donald himself in Council Bluffs, IA. Why? Because I’m not that bright, because I enjoy putting myself through painful endeavors, because I wanted some new writing material, and because watching his campaign is like watching a train wreck; I can’t look away even though I really don’t want to see (or hear) what’s happening.
I was pretty pumped, and although it was a frigid 20-ish degrees out, I wanted to dress to be taken seriously; navy blazer, jeans, American Atheists pin, and red plaid flats. This is important later on, I promise.We got there about 40 minutes early and the line was HUUUUGE. There were probably 500 people in line, outside, in the cold, but we joined in anyway, because really, how long could it possibly take? Plus, we had tickets, so it was all good. The first twenty minutes were pretty entertaining; there was a family ahead of us in line, and the oldest son (who was probably 18-20 years old) was talking about how amazing a Trump/Carson ticket would be, but he definitely thought Carson should be the VP. A young man in line behind us was talking to someone one the phone about what he likes to sleep in (boxers only), a play by play of his day working at the casino across the street, and his preferred hygiene methods. My husband kept making Trump jokes and doing impersonations, which caused the father in the family ahead of us in line to remark that he hoped that my husband got kicked out.
The line chugged along slowly and the cold started to settle in, but after a half an hour, we were already too invested to go back home where it was warm. I started to regret my decision to wear ballet flats because my feet were going from cold to numb, and would later have a sensation like there were needles being jabbed into them from all sides. We did have the opportunity to view and appreciate the sculpture that the hubs dubbed “Dong Henge,” but which is apparently called “Dangos” and is a piece by Jun Kaneko. It consists of a circle of large phallic shaped sculptures, each adorned with a different pattern.
Just when my feet were really starting to burn, we moved ahead in line and were about thirty feet from the doors. It was exciting – finally, I was going to get in to hear whatever terrible racist, moronic remarks Trump would make live. Then we started seeing people be turned away, first a couple, then five, then ten… we made our way to the doors to find the staffers inside, with the doors shut. Some other people in line said that the building was at capacity. No one came out and said anything to the people in line, no one apologized, no one did anything. A couple of people put their tickets up against the glass of the doors, but the volunteers just shook their heads. There were probably two hundred people still outside in the cold, waiting with no explanation. The people in line around us were angry, some made remarks about losing votes, other that the Mid America Center wasn’t big enough.
I waited for an hour outside in the frigid temperatures to see Trump. Granted, that was my own stupidity, but still – it’s not like the volunteers and staffers knew why I was there. I understand that overselling is a thing, but there was a HUUUUGE amount of people still outside with tickets when the building reached capacity. I’m sure it looks good so that the media can report that there were so many people that came to see The Donald that they had to turn away hundreds. But what does that say to your supporters? Those people that stood out in the cold because they actually believe that Donald J. Trump is going to make America great again? They certainly had no problem peddling “Make America Great Again” hats, “Trump 2016” scarves, and buttons to them while they waited in line with no chance of ever actually getting inside. The whole thing was a clusterfuck; a cold, cold clusterfuck.
I’m sure that quite soon there will be reports of whatever ridiculous, racist, awful thing Trump said tonight in Council Bluffs and I’ll get caught up. He really doesn’t vary what he says too often, so I really didn’t miss out on much; chants of “USA, USA,” talk of building a wall between the US and Mexico, racist garble, dissing on other candidates, everything is huge, everyone else is a loser, blah, blah, blah.
Tonight I attempted to go to a Trump rally, and all I got were two extraordinarily cold feet. Lesson learned.