Sometimes I come across a post that says exactly what I think, only better. Brian Keane is a writer over at Medium.com. You can follow him there. He also contributes to a publication on Medium called Politically Speaking, of which I sometimes contribute as well. He’s one of the best writers I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and this post simply puts Trump and Trumpism in its rightful place of disgraceful infamy.
I have written in the past about the seeds of Trumpism. Amway, for example, long before Trump’s aspirations to enter politics were even known to him, was already cultivating his future followers. While those multi-level marketing meetings, perhaps, can justify the near divine view Trumpists have of the Donald, they don’t explain the violence, the anger or the aggression.
While not all Trumpists are white supremacist bent on destroying America, they all do seem to be really pissed off about something. Could it be their love and devotion to the NFL? Last Sunday, I set off on a brief journey to peek into their world.
We pulled into the parking lot of MetLife Stadium around 10 AM. The sundrenched lot was less than a quarter full and so that is probably what made them seem so noticeable — the massive Trump flags flying just below the stars and stripes.
In one instance, I even saw a Trump flag flying higher than every other flag but it wasn’t sharing a flag pole with a US one. That is how I supposed they justified that it was higher. That flag seemed to be the beginning marker for a long line of Trumpist tailgaters.
Experienced as they are at celebrating before games, they were concentrated in a row giving them easy access out of the parking lot when their miserable Jets would yet again fail to keep a game competitive by the start of the 4th quarter — as was the case on Sunday.
The RVs, massive pick-ups and a couple of old-style vans with the shag rug in the back — Jets green , of course— were all shimmering when viewed from a distance due to the rising heat from the dozens of grills. The smell of cooking meat was accompanied by the refreshing-snap of the ice cold, blue beer cans — big Bud Lite drinkers the the Jets faithful seem to be. Anyone drinking anything different might be a reason for suspicion, especially if it happened to be a can of hard seltzer.
As we parked on the cusp of Trump-tailgating territory as we also wanted easy exit access; it was all I could do to control my disgust for them. Surely not foolish enough to go and pick a fight with a thousand guys intoxicated by the aroma of grilling flesh and fooled just enough by beer so they might think a good old-fashioned fight might be what the doctor ordered, I set up my chair so that I was looking off in the distance — back to the massive and rapidly filling parking lot. The pre-game debauchery with its obvious political statements would not get my goat on this day.
All around me were not only the Trump flags but also the blue and black American flag. I support the general sentiment embedded in the un-American flag but I also am savvy enough to know what it really stands for; sure, there are some who display those colors with only one purpose: to show support for the police. But a lot of the guys so aggressively flying those colors are weak-willed Trump supporters, little boys afraid of shadows.
Someone walking by was tossing out beer cozies. Suddenly the little envelope-like protector for my beer, landed in my lap. It was the blue and black with stripes on it like that flag. Rather than toss it angrily back, I decided to seek the protection of their tribe.
I slid my warming bottle of beer into it — with that simple gesture, I was one of them. I had the protection of the crowd, the mob. By doing that, I was also able to release my own discomfort because I was certain they could hear my thoughts. I was certain they could all read my mind — of course they couldn’t; but I know they could see my hatred for their treason, my hatred for Trump. America has no place for their disease, I often tell myself.
Oh but how wrong I was and my opinion was in the minority. In their eyes, I was a traitor at their party. The two so-different views are the kind of obstinance that lead to bad things.
Whose anthem was it?
As we made our way over to the stadium, slipping through the Sea of Trump, my disgust had been doused by a handful of beers. Trying not to overhear their conversations when I got “crowd-locked” near the entrance for fear it would reawaken my vigilance against their cause, I began to imagine that a lot of them could be just like me; in other words, we had more in common than not. Same bs’ing about beer, shitty football teams, sex and all sorts of do-it-yourself stuff — “just redid the deck in the backyard. You gotta to git’ over to us for some burgers.”
A veteran white Trump hater in a sea of lunacy, my hate for their leader was only tempered by how much I resented all of them — I have no patience for intellectual laziness. How dare they turn their collective back on the value of our country? And yet, everything in which they partook used to be so American, so common to all of us — the game, the BBQ, the comradery, the back-slapping. It was all a typical Sunday in America, game day.
But there was a difference and it came from them. They chose to love a corrupt and vile person who, odds are, cheated a lot of them over the years by never repaying what he owed to for their honest efforts at building his now shuttered casinos — many a New Jersey resident had been burned by Trump.
As I have written, and as Trumpists regularly deny, there is a discernible aggression that is emitted by the average Trumpist. Their words are choppy and seem to be swiping at the air. It’s as if they are challenging anyone to not agree with them — until perhaps, they see one of their flags of hate, a tattoo signifying allegiance, a massive pick-up, etc. And then they grow calm and accepting. They become, in their words, open to others. I have actually heard Trumpists say that we — the patriotic Americans — are against anyone not in agreement with us. We seek to cancel everything, they say.
Seems that is exactly what they do, right?
As I tried to remain sponge-like and so only in absorb-mode for what was taking place around me, it was the scene inside the stadium that pushed me into a more proactive rumination, albeit still only in my own head. Looking at the all-white fans, I realized how god-damned intoxicating it could really be; being a part of the massive and joy-filled mob, all I had to do was accept Trumpism and that same headiness could be mine.
The sky was perfectly blue, the field emerald green, the beer ice cold and the overwhelming majority of fans was white. When we were asked to rise for the anthem, sung beautifully by a local teen, I looked down at the flags all around. I heard people singing our national commitment to be better— but how could they mean what they were singing? These people supported the 1/6 terrorists. These people were against all that made America great.
As the song ended with its usual proclamation which has now become a call to action for Trumpists, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave, the place very typically erupted into cheers. I too was cheering and perhaps even louder then them because I truly loved the America about which the song was written — well, the aspirations for America. The cheers ended somewhat abruptly, though, and the only voice I could still hear yelling was my own.
And then, sweeping in from behind the stadium, with the thumping against air sound of machines of war, two army helicopters roared across the top of the stadium at full speed sending the 70,000 plus into a frenzy.
This is what they love. This is the America that makes them proud — the one of violence, guns, submission. The messianic one ever seeking peoples to “free” and lives to “improve,” so long as those oppressed and un-free are willing to become mini-me’s for our great, white and reliably Christian nation.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of Jewish fans of the Jets and many of them also love Trump — I know a handful, at least; how they make the leap from suspicion and hatred for all-things not white and Christian to Trump worship, is a matter between them and their psychologists and the ghosts of the Holocaust.
As we re-donned our caps and sat after the anthem, I marveled at what a poor choice of protest it was for Colin Kaepernick. Kneeling during their version of the anthem, the one surely accompanied by whispered words like “that’s right, bitches, we will kick the shit out of anyone,” was such an affront to their hatred. Kaepernick was in their “house” and telling them that he wouldn’t tolerate “them” anymore.
Letting myself go, I thought how it could have upset me also to see one person down there kneeling, ruining “our moment.” While I agree 100% with Kaepernick and his cause, and his right to peacefully protest in such a way, if I let myself get lost in the power of the mob, I could also see how disgust for Kaepernick could easily creep into my thoughts.
So as to stop my habit for over-analysis of mobs and their sad mentality, I decided to go up for an over-priced beer. I needed to take a break from Trump, from their hatred for our country.
Slipping past my Black friend, the lone Black guy in the entire area around us — probably upsetting the verbal habits of a few of those fans around us — I wondered what he was feeling. He couldn’t do what I was planning on doing, though, and so he had to sit and fend off the unspoken slights of him they claim don’t exist.
But I was determined to free myself for at least a few quarters.
Sitting down, I took a not-so-big sip of my beer — $15! — and then slipped into my whiteness. Grabbing my Jets terrible towel, which had been given to everyone when we entered, I exited my angst and became just another white guy at the Jets game on any given Sunday in New Jersey.
I became, in theory, one of them, because I could. I wonder how many of them become Trumpists because it is easier. And because they can?