So earlier this week, I half joked that I was going to create an alter-ego named Pam, then send her in my stead to the Trump rally at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
My undergrad degree was in theater performance, but 1) I don’t memorize lines very well, and 2) I would probably kill myself if I had to do the same show 8 times a week. Still, the idea of disappearing into a character is very appealing to me, so I was completely down with the idea of conjuring up “Pam!” as my Trump rally alias.
(“Be careful!” my friends warned. “I will. I promise.”)
I started looking for Pam!-spiration, scouring pictures of the Trump supporters in attendance at previous rallys, and it became clear that it is not exactly a costume I that will need for Friday night: I will need a disguise. For even beyond those hand-picked Whitey Whitersons planted behind the huckster’s podium – white radicalism looks a lot like white liberalism. Trump’s minions look like soccer moms standing behind me at the Jewel-Osco buying artichokes for their favorite guacamole recipe.
Ergo, for me and a fellow CN blogger friend being careful will mean blending in so as not to bring attention to ourselves. Being careful will mean listening to our instincts, and avoiding emotional hot spots in the room if at all possible.
For Chicago is extremely diverse, and more than likely there will be many angry people outside of the pavilion protesting everything Trump’s crowds have come to represent – like a black man getting thrown to the ground for the crime of being sucker-punched by a white guy wearing an ugly cowboy hat. ‘My Kind of Town’ is populated by hundreds of thousands of people who can’t wrap their heads around the idea that anyone is being fooled by an Orange Charlatan in sheep’s clothing – clothing that was most likely made in China.
Wait, so why am I going to the Trump rally? What are my intentions? I think it is important to get clear about that, so I DO intend to:
- Let myself feel what I feel while standing so close to the fire: Often we think we know how unknown situations might affect us simply by blending the power of our imagination with the sympathy we’ve shown others in similar experiences. But the truth is that without the experience, we have no clue what it will feel like in reality. I might think I know how dangerous this growing Trump mob mentality might feel, but I won’t know that for sure until I immerse myself into an atmosphere of unapologetic white supremacy. Perhaps the difference between being enraged by an idea and taking action against an idea is the experience of that idea.
- Record what I see and hear: For reasons too obvious to clarify, I want to keep all microphones on to capture what goes on inside the walls of the UIC Pavilion. I want to bring my own microscope inside the lab where this Trump virus is having a cytopathic effect on the host cell – the American population.
- Be a part of life-at-large: I do believe we are all fundamentally one, and this ugliness is a part of you, and it’s a part of me. I want to own it so it won’t own me.
- Be careful: My fellow blogger friend and I have a safe word in case, for whatever reason, either wants to pull the plug on this expedition behind enemy lines. We are of the same mind about our intentions for going – get in, be alert, listen carefully, then leave. If I don’t trust the situation once I get down there, I may never even enter the building.
I do NOT intend to:
- Provoke conflict: Not on the rally floor, or in the stands, or outside near the protests. A fly just lands on piles: it doesn’t attempt to eat the pile, right? It would be a damn foolish fly to attempt such a folly, no?
Because I know that Trump “fans,” are 100% committed to this new momentum of white fundamentalism that the spray-tanned huckster has so masterly streamlined into a fascist footnote on the still-unfolding story of the 2016 presidential election. And those “fans” are going to be at the UIC Pavilion, tonight.
And so will I.
That’s my piece, and that’s my peace. Thank you for taking the time to read my silly words. It truly means the world to me. Carry on…
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