As I sit in a McDonald’s for their WiFi around the corner from the convention center in Birch Run, MI where Donald Trump gave his speech last night, I listen to a table full of locals, (white men), who meet here every morning. One man stands out as he recalls the previous evening with the GOP man of the moment.
“Trump only charged twenty five bucks for the event, but Hillary charges twenty two thousand a plate.”
(Most of her events are free.)
“Were there a lot of people there Earl?”
“It was packed. I’m not going to let $130 bucks go to waste. It wasn’t so much the speech, it was seeing my old friends. They asked my opinion, and I said I have no opinion– shook their hands and said thank you very much. I always hung around with republicans. I don’t know why. But they liked me and I liked them.”
“How’d you vote?”
“I never know until I get out of the booth. Every time I vote, it’s been that way.”
Another man suddenly changes the course of the discussion. “I heard a law on the MI law books, if a woman cuts her hair or colors it without your permission, she’s outta there.”
“In the old days, you’d just backhand her.”
One of their female acquaintances walks in to say hello to them. Suddenly the tone changes.
“Good morning,” says one.
“Howdy,” says another.
Discussing the fate of a young McDonald’s employee taking orders from a Hispanic man, one says, “it’s better than being pushed around by a bunch of niggers.”
And so the conversation goes.
The event itself was standard Trump, except that he was late, giving his fans plenty of time to fill up on Bud Light 24 ounce cans which they were selling at the event. So it shouldn’t have been any surprise that after the show, the drunken opinions of some of the attendees began to emerge.
One man in possession of several conservative opinions was a guy named Joe Sylvester. Among the choice phrases in his racist rant was, “we’re going to whack the fucking shit out of ISIS and take their fucking oil. That’s what we’re going to fucking do. Fuck those God-damn Muslim pieces of shit. Is that what you wanted to hear so you and your communists can jack off together?”
Later in the conversation, Mr. Sylvester bragged that he made headlines when he bragged to kill a writer for The Daily Kos.
Sylvester’s passenger also chimed in that hippies like me would “end up like Kent State,” under a Trump presidency.
I said, “you mean you’d shoot me?”
Sylvester responded, “if that’s how you want to interpret it,” while cackling.
Here is a video of the encounter.