An Evening with Donald Trump

So I’m in the tediously long hot-dog queue at last night’s Donald Trump political rally in Mississippi and I meet the local metal roof fixer, who only wants to talk about his obsessive need to kill deer using only a bow and arrow. Part of me wants to head-butt him, but I have a press pass for the event , plus he seems a nice man, so I decide to just do my job.

“How long does it take the deer to die?” I ask, mock slavering with a bogus blood lust.

“Oh well if you get them right in the heart”, and then he waffles on about some particularly vicious, and no doubt satisfyingly agonising, super arrow, “They will only run for sixty or seventy yards before they drop. ” He smiles with pride at his utter genius, and I return a nod of manly bonding.

His reply opens so many questions, the prime one being why, but I’m not there to ask about his obvious insecurity about the size of his dick but something equally mysterious, why anybody in their right mind would vote for Donald Trump.

Mr Fixer wears a T shirt announcing that if you don’t like the fact that he loves Trump then you wont like him, and he wont care, and again I am sorely tempted to intercede , but resist.

I have been lucky to get my ticket. People have been sleeping out in the car park of this indoor football stadium for days in hope of getting a return. There’s not a single spare seat in the ten-thousand seater auditorium and the atmosphere is as electric as if it were a public execution of Nancy Polosi – which given that the day before she had managed to get her motion to evaluate the possibility of impeaching Trump through congress would probably have been just as popular. Even if it was by bow and arrow.

And yet other than their seemingly atavistic passion for Trump it’s difficult not to feel a huge warmth for Mississippians. I very much doubt there would have been a single person in that crowd who was drunk or balshie in any way and their elegance of manner and sheer Christian niceness to all white American humanity is an inspiration.

I am in Mississippi to lecture at the University on why we should take story telling seriously. It’s not an easy subject to break into with a class full of twenty year olds who rather be doing something more sensible until you point out that the average student now spends three hours a day on their phone filtering or making stories, so maybe it’s not a time waster to pause and think about the art they spend a day a week exercising.

My roof fixer though is not impressed by my career choice of story teller , in fact I think he would have more respect for me if I had announced I was a drunk and usually slept in dumpsters. “A story teller huh? Well ain’t that something else.” More tongue biting to prevent myself asking compared to what.

And so we return to the auditorium where I meet a hyper glamorous woman called Peggy Grande, which I strongly suspect is not the name she was christened with. I can feel her being drawn to my body, though sadly entirely because I am wearing a press pass. She has written a book, now there’s a surprise, was the personal secretary of Ronald Regan and now runs something called World for Brexit which she tells me is a global coalition to champion democracy in the U.K and world wide and is keen that I publicise.

With two hours to go till Trumps arrival I am so bored I am tempted to suggest that her best chance of inspiring vigorous conversation on the subject would be to set up a stand at the next SNP conference, but decide against it, and she seems relieved when an emergency intern is sent down from the pod of Trump minders to facilitate her escape from my cynicism. Maybe she has a micro emergency call button in one of her sparkling white wisdom teeth that she only has to touch with her tongue.

But it’s still five o clock. Still two hours till Trump is due to arrive. All around me in my favoured standing spot ten paces from the lectern people are lying on the ground as they obviously cant think of anything else to do and there’s little point in them trying to have a conversation with each other as they all seem to have exactly the same opinions on everything. And so I look around at the crowd. It’s extraordinary. Mississippi has a population that is forty per-cent black and yet try though I do I can’t see more than half a dozen black faces in a crowd of ten thousand. Given my limited knowledge of southern politics I had assumed that there would be at least a sprinkling of black faces. When I was last here just before Trump was elected I spent a good deal of my evenings hanging out in the sort of restaurant my Mother would have disapproved of called Larry’s Catfish and more, trying to catch not cat fish but stories . And I got a haul. People of colour who lived in houses with no running water, people who were ill but couldn’t afford treatment, people whose names were Scottish because their forebears were Scots who had owned them. And some of them were voting for Trump.

It’s terribly embarrassing because it’s my job but I am totally mystified by why so many Americans voted for Trump. He ‘s so obviously a racist, and yet blacks vote for him. So obviously sees women as being largely potential seminal receptors to be duped and yet the majority of American women voters voted for him, so obviously sees God as being little more than a fantasy to scare the young and comfort the old and yet many in the church scrabble to endorse him.

And one of those suddenly arrived to lead us all in prayer. Bizarre. Serious southern Baptist head down for five minutes, and then good grief we had to all take the oath of Allegiance. To protect the constitution of the United States. At a Trump Rally. So it’s true. The Americans have no sense of irony.

Luckily God, or possibly those Trump people, sent a political adviser to stand beside me and befriend me and when I asked him why there was less than 0.1 per cent black faces in a state of 40 % blacks he initially replied “Southern Politics” which I considered not a good enough wriggle so I pushed it.

“Ah this is not really their sort of thing. We have many black voters they just don’t like…” [I almost felt sorry for him] ….” This sort of thing.”

Later, after event, I was amused to see a friend of mine, a very bright black guy in the college who had been at the event being used in one of their publicity shots, the implication from the publicists being that there had been many people of colour at the event, when there was less than 0.1 per cent.

We were amused. He was not.

And then Trump arrives on stage. Extraordinary. To see him in the flesh in these kinds of surroundings is to suddenly understand so much more. His presence is extraordinary. I don’t know if it’s confidence, or arrogance, or something almost biological. Even although he’s over seventy and speaks a huge amount of pusillanimous pish he still gives out the message that he is the Alpha Male, and it’s very hard not to be convinced. In Britain we just see him on television, make silly remarks about his hair, disparage his language ( with every right (he can’t pronounce Venezuela, unanimous and has even invented a word- ‘orgine’) but what we don’t connect to is his commanding presence.

He’s like a cross between a huge honey of a teddy bear and the worst monster of your children’s dreams. And he knows how to work a stage. Glancing in all directions to include everybody, walking away from the lectern to expand his personal comfort zone, and then using that zone to surprise, all the tricks.

There is nobody in British politics that can match him. Tony Blair came the closest with his people Princess speech, but even that was amateur by contrast
The man is an idiot but he has somehow managed to create a dance that convinces the majority of Americans that he isn’t.

Of course much of his rhetoric is utter nonsense. He is fine when he is reading the script, but when he diverts and starts to extemporise it would be comic if he wasn’t the most powerful man on the planet, but as it is it’s genuinely terrifying.

And the press seem incapable of exposing him. They list his lies, it’s ignored . Tell of his dalliances. Few care. In the month surrounding his impeachment scandal he raised $19 million dollars, and that was just online. And meantime the Democrats are in chaos. Yesterday morning their candidate list was twenty six, by evening it was twenty five. A more realistic number would be about six.

No, get used to Donald J Trump. My money is of him being with us as President for another five years.

By which time he will seventy eight.

And the man who fixes roofs thinks that story telling isn’t important?

God Bless America.

Comments (27)

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  1. Alastair McIntosh says:

    Straight to the charismatic essence of the matter. Good one, Sir Maxwell.

    1. maxwell macleod says:

      Thank you Whisky, how I would have loved to have had you with me there. It was a life event and I would have been thirsty for your interpretation. The death of Keith Schellenberg has prayed n my mind today and brought back many memories. I understand his children are very sad, so respect for the loss of a colourful , if demanding, Father. I still think he was well motivated and made a good contribution even if his process was flawed and caused much pain.
      Maggie Fyffe tells me she has yet to recieve an invitation to give the eulogy..

      1. MBC says:

        I liked Schellenberg too. He treated me very fairly, but he just didn’t understand that you can’t own an island in the same absolute way that you own the shirt on your back as an island also a community with modern rights and aspirations and a will of its own. I was sad that he was so vilified, because although he was rich, he was not a snob, whatever else people think. He had no head for practical detail, that was what made for a host of difficulties.

  2. david prior says:

    well written. thank you

  3. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    Sadly, this reads as if it were written by Private Fraser in Dad’s Army, “We’re doomed, DOOMED, I tell ye.”

    This has been a fairly common trope on a fair number of pro-independence blogs in recent months.

    Do people not believe that their case has validity and is worth pursuing?

    1. maxwellmacleod says:

      Mr Macdonald
      Thanks for your comment. I strongly suspect that if you had been with me last night you would realise that my position was a rather understated version of the truth. Rather than being hysterical, which would have had no credibility, I chose to go down the comedy route. In objective truth I was genuinely frightened. This man is I believe very dangerous indeed. I have spent many weeks in Jerusalem over the last few years and to have advocated the repositioning of the Embassy there was like a child playing with matches, and to no advantages to anyone. So I was mystified.
      After last night I am no longer mystified. The man who runs the most heavily armed country in the western world is a deranged genius.
      I grant you that it was an extreme situation. The day after the vote went through the House, Mississippi, a year to go to the vote. If he was ever going to show his extreme side it was going to be last night. Which is why I moved heaven and earth to be there. I should also admit that I was not objective, I went there suspicious, I left genuinely frightened.
      Doomed? Possibly not. In danger of destruction ? Oh yes.

      1. Wul says:

        Maxwell, you spotlight a grave weakness in democracy.

        It is so easy for the demagogue to take control if the pre-conditions are right; inequality, poverty, exclusion, unfairness, fear, insecurity, landlessness, anger at the “other”.

        Our first aim in any democracy should be balance and distribution of wealth, health and power. This makes us resilient and inoculates us against demagoguery. Allowing the “Market” the “Economy” or “Business” to totally dominate the way we run our society is foolish and dangerous.

        1. maxwell macleod says:

          Wull
          Thank you for that. Interesting and articulate as ever, I will be thinking of it as the Mississippi Delta shines before me today, like a National
          Guitar.

  4. Wul says:

    “He’s like a cross between a huge honey of a teddy bear and the worst monster of your children’s dreams. And he knows how to work a stage. ”

    Does he make these decent, polite white people feel safe perhaps?

    Maybe the ground work for making Trump so attractive (so needed?) has been the years of fear escalation in the public mind since September 2001.

    So many threats; Muslim Extremism, Immigrants, Elites, Unemployment, Foreign Meddling, WW3, Bombers, Terrorism, Financial Crashes, Working Poverty etc etc.

    Thank God for the Strong Man.

    1. Wul says:

      “People are mostly good, our planet is bountiful and we have enough for everyone if we share”.

      Not a story anyone is telling so much nowadays.

  5. squigglypen says:

    I imagine ordinary decent Germans behaved in a similar manner when a charismatic guy with a hair flick and hysterical voice told them they were the master rulers of the world….I wonder if Trump practises in front of a mirror like the aforementioned despot. Be afraid…

  6. SleepingDog says:

    Perhaps hierarchies tend to work by enabling people to consider many others inferior, rather than looking up to superiors. Trump supporters may be those who have little rational reason for being able to look down on others, yet are indocrinated to want to, so they seize at irrational ones.

    But when you have the stage to yourself, standing in front of sycophants, you are playing on easy level. I remember Donald Trump being outmatched even on charisma by Hilary Clinton on stage, and that is what I consider a really low bar. Someone with enough resources and support might be able to project a sense of personal genius, but this seems as false and fabricated as the Great Man (occasionally Woman) of History mindset. It’s a small, stagnant swamp with few other competitors in the Presidential races, and most of them have already been corrupted by the same toxins. Sure, there is competition and selection, but every time Trump has failed his privileges (inherited wealth, say) have let him bounce back. And if anything, the USAmerican education system seems designed to churn out a critical mass of Trump supporters.

    The people who are really smart operators are those playing the game on a much harder level, running against the prejudices of society, and starting to make an impact on national politics.

  7. w.b. robertson says:

    this [[piece explains why Trump look highly likely to win a second term. Despite the Democrats (and crooked Clinton`s crowd) throwing everything at him…. you might not like it but it is their country and their system.

  8. Jo says:

    “I am totally mystified by why so many Americans voted for Trump.”

    Easy. It’s because the alternative was Hillary Clinton.

    1. maxwell macleod says:

      Jo,
      Thanks.
      I am equally mystified by the level of hatred towards Hilary as I am by the love towards Trump. Maybe I should go back to school teaching

      1. david prior says:

        I certainly didn’t get that impression from the article, If anything, I think the author showed considerable objectivity and resisted the temption of sensationalism, I’m sure he’s actually been quite kind to Trump supporters.

        1. maxwell macleod says:

          Given that my task here in Mississippi State University is to encourage the study of foolishness, story telling, whimsy as a bridge between those of radically different polarities I am professionally embarrassed not to be able to translate that last posting , but maybe I should relish it as a prime example of the art.
          This gives me the opportunity of thanking your editor for allowing me, a shameless unionist, access to your superb website, infinitely superior to anything offered by my side and demonstrating a multiplicity of energy and creativity in contrast to anything we produce. And I speak straight. It does him great credit, particular at this specific time in our nations history. It does him credit.
          Was I being objective? Well I like to think that if I had been convinced by Mr Trumps arguements that I would not have allowed my vanity to prevent me from so admitting , but I did go there with a heavy suspicion that was most thoroughly substantiated. I did find decent people there, people I would have been proud to call friends, indeed that would probably included the majority, but I truly left feeling afraid for the peace of the world and remain mystified by their thought processes.

          i

        2. Alan says:

          “yet the majority of American women voters voted for him”

          This is what Trump claims. It’s not actually true or even close to being true. Slightly more white women voters voted for him. Women as a whole voted against him by a fairly large margin.

          More detail here:
          https://www.people-press.org/2018/08/09/an-examination-of-the-2016-electorate-based-on-validated-voters/

      2. Alan says:

        I voted for Hillary but only because Trump was worse. People dislike her because she took more than $4M in speaking fees from Goldman Sacks and other financial services firms. Another $12M in speaking fees from other lobby groups. And she couldn’t even be bothered to visit Wisconsin during the entire campaign period. And because she and her husband were complicit in financial deregulation, welfare ‘reform’, the three strikes bill that created the vast prison industrial complex, don’t ask don’t tell, and so much more. The Clintons were a big part of failing politics that made Trump possible.

        1. maxwell macleod says:

          thanks

    2. BDW says:

      “Easy. It’s because the alternative was Hillary Clinton.”

      There is no doubt some truth in that but he has been talking pish and lying to the people of the US on an industrial scale for three years now and many of them still seem to love him?

      I have an old school friend who comes from a West of Scotland working class background. He is profesional type who settled in the USA 40 odd years ago and he thinks Trump is the bee’s knees. Hard to fathom!

      1. maxwell macleod says:

        An economist prof here told me yesterday that I was overthinking it all, said that Trump will win as long as the economy is good and he keeps taxes low, and that all the rest was hot air.
        Well if that is the case where are the journalists explaining about global insecurity and the ecological nightmare?
        On Friday I heard Trump explaining that that there was no ecological nightmare as American air and water had never been cleaner and yet industrial growth was also at a peak. Phew, glad that’s sorted.

  9. florian albert says:

    ‘I am totally mystified by why so many Americans voted for Trump’

    In 2016, I was astonished when he emerged as a possible Republican candidate. However, a series of articles by Thomas Frank in The Guardian went a long way to explaining his popularity. They are still there online. Frank is a well known leftist commentator. He was one of the few who took Trump’s candidacy seriously.

    Frank explained that only Trump – however improbable it might appear – was not part of an elite, personified by Hillary Clinton, which had led the country into the financial collapse of 2008 and the destruction of much of what remained of its manufacturing base.
    Further, Trump’s rallies offered a seemingly coherent alternative to continued globalization. It was an anti-free trade policy and, as such, appealed to Americans especially in those areas where manufacturing had been hollowed out. Protectionism has a long history in the USA and was one of the tools FDR used in response to the Great Depression.

    1. James Mills says:

      ” I am totally mystified by why so many Americans voted for Trump ! ”

      I was not – I WAS ”totally mystified why so many Americans voted for ” George W Bush , then was even more ”totally mystified ”why they re-elected him .
      Given that precedent and insight into the mind of the average American voter it was not a great stretch to imagine Trump being their choice . And , it has to be admitted , the alternative was not much better . So , having elected him once , it will be no great surprise to find him the winner again .

      Enjoyable read , Maxwell !

      1. Maxwell Macleod says:

        I am grateful to those who have taken the time to suggest to me why people voted for Trump, I yearn for such theories and I so wish I could be convinced by any of them.
        Sure some of them have the ring of exterior truth but none the absolute substance. I mean sixty five million voted for a man who they almost all knew wasn’t very bright, and didn’t really like women. I search daily for the solution t this dilemma and indeed tomorrow night will be running a debate for the students, over a hundred expected, in which my main discussion point will be ” Should he be locked up? ”
        I might let you know of their arguments.#

        1. Alistair Taylor says:

          I humbly suggest that a lot of Americans are not very bright.
          They have been fed a diet of TV, Hollywood, and consumerism for a very long time.
          The education system is poor, and people can’t think for themselves.
          (The UK has become quite similar).

          One would like to remain optimistic for the future, but it is going to take some massive changes and forest fires.
          There is so much standing dead wood.
          Having a younger President who is not a climate change denier would be a good move.

        2. maxwell macleod says:

          Whoops confession. There were only thirty or so at my debate. Self praise is no praise!

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