Writer Jared Yates Sexton recently live-tweeted a Donald Trump rally in Greensboro, South Carolina, documenting an alarming collection of events and behavioral observations that ought to make most Americans seriously worried about the billionaire’s presidential bid.
Much of what Sexton tweeted will seriously make the Hitler comparisons that have been dogging Trump’s candidacy not seem like an exaggeration. What is most frightening is not what Trump himself says, but what his followers wear, what they shout from the crowd as their candidate speaks, and the violence that they condone to protestors and anybody present who objects to their political views.
Here is an example of the blatant sexism directed at Hillary Clinton, his likely opponent from the Democratic Party:
‘Tailgating in parking lots. Vendors selling Hillary Sucks But Not Like Monica shirts. General awfulness.’
‘Big seller is a shirt that says Trump That Bitch. Everyone wearing one is being asked to pose for pictures. Big thumbs up. Big grins.’
If you think this is bad, it gets progressively worse. Here is what Sexton tweeted about what members in the crowd were interjecting or doing during Trump’s speech, in the wake of the Orlando Massacre at Pulse Nightclub:
‘Crowd won’t clap for call for unity with LGBTQ’
‘Crowd member just shouted “gays had it coming”‘
‘Two days after Orlando Massacre Trump says number one priority is protecting the Second Amendment’
At one point, Sexton fixated on a protestor, whom he characterized as “terrified.” Given how notoriously awful Trump protestors have been treated in the past, and the violence that often breaks out between pro and anti Trump demonstrators, it’s no wonder that Sexton had serious concerns about his wellbeing:
‘Crowd threatening protestor before he acts’
‘Fight fights, shoving matches every few minutes’
‘Trump says “take care of our protestor, don’t huuuurt him, take him home to mommy”‘
‘Trump says not to hurt protestor, several chant HURT HIM HURT HIM’
‘Protestor being manhandled out the door, supporters following, saying they’re going to kick his ass’
The violent inclinations of the billionaire’s followers didn’t stop there, though. After the rally was over, Trump’s followers exited with an apparent eagerness for even more aggressive, intimidating behavior towards people they don’t agree with:
‘People breaking beer bottles in parking lot, throwing them on ground and at passing cars’
‘Truck full of guys yelling Trump at family having car towed’
‘Car driving by with Mexican flag. Slurs being hurled, threats, could be a fight’
Being a writer, it’s easy to see why Sexton would try to find some way to understand the perspective of Trump’s followers, attempting to find some way to come to grips with why they might be behaving the way they are and believing the things they do about minorities, immigrants, liberals, socialists, and LGBT people. Here is what he tweeted:
‘Just sitting in parking lot. Everyone passing with these evil little grins. There’s so much ugliness. I keep saying it but it’s true.’
‘Telling myself they’re angry about the economy. About changing technology and industry. But there’s so much base-level ugliness.’
‘Cops finally cleared this horror show. Trump has to be defeated but I don’t know how you stamp out all this hate and cruelty.’
Sexton does a superb job in his coverage, and his tweets almost read like a long, experimental poem of sorts, providing readers with a nightmarish vision of a nation becoming untethered by its obsession with violence and the racial wounds that don’t ever seem to heal. But this is not a product of Sexton’s imagination. It’s an account of real events that he saw and observed in the midst of a dangerous phenomenon that is taking hold of the country.
It is difficult to understand how Trump can actually live with himself right now, knowing that this is the terrifying, “Nuremberg-level” environment he has cultivated for his GOP primary success. It goes without saying that he MUST be defeated in November. But like Sexton says, this level of hate, anger, and racial resentment will probably not be going away after November, and will likely remain with us for years.
Featured image via Getty.