Tuesday night, I had the experience of being seated about 500 feet away from the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. The occasion was the rally held in Nashville in support of Marsha Blackburn, whose candidacy for United States Senate he had come to support. To say that the evening was memorable is an understatement, and the entire rally was as diverse as it could be. There were African-American men sporting Blacks for Trump T shirts being hugged by white folks who thanked them for their courage, and everyone took a kazillion selfies.
There was a strange guy who was supposedly a Trump supporter wearing an odd get-up which identified him as someone who actually approved of POTUS, but the guy kept making such a scene by interrupting the President that security was called up there to get him settled down. And, there was a set of twins that looked a bit like women except that they both had moustaches, were dressed exactly alike, and claimed to be Vets for Trump. Lots of signature scarlet Make America Great Again hats, the usual sport-ers of political T-shirts, bearers of placards, and purveyors of all manner of things partisan looking ahead to the next election.
Outside, there was a truly pathetic demonstration peopled by folks who were of the same political persuasion as mine used to be in another life. I actually felt sorry for them. There they were, standing in the pouring down rain, as we had been while waiting for hours to get in, and I had rarely heard anything so hollow sounding. I had to ask myself, “50 years ago, were we this lame?” We went through security, and they went home. Too bad, because if they had gone inside, they might have been surprised by what they saw and heard. Then, there was the music. While we were waiting we were treated to everything from the Rolling Stones to Pavarotti, Steve Tyler and Aerosmith to the Beatles, to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” However, when the Grammy-nominated Isaacs stepped up to the podium and sang the most remarkable a cappella version of the Star Spangled Banner I have ever heard, I thought the roof was going to lift off. It made me wonder, could it be that nothing could have been more American than having its anthem be sung by someone whose parents survived the Holocaust and came through Ellis Island in order to join in making its Dream come true?
Even Trace Adkins, who performed after the Isaacs, and who has performed it himself at a number of NFL games said that he had never heard a better version of the song. He went on to do three songs himself, claiming that one of them had been requested by the President himself, and that he had to do it “Because, well, you know, he is the President of the United States.”
So, why am I spending time talking about the way the rally felt as opposed to what was said? I guess that for the first time in a long time, I found comfort in the fact that a completely different approach to doing the job was making proven sense when it came out of the mouth of the man who clearly had command presence, and who owned the room the moment he approached the podium.
He listed accomplishments achieved in his short time in office that to me were personally noteworthy: Unemployment amongst African Americans and Hispanic Americans was the lowest, and a largely white audience went wild with their approval. The longest and loudest round of applause went to the fact that we now had an embassy in Jerusalem, the project took 4 months total, and only cost us 400,000 dollars. And lastly, our military members are going to be taken care of, both on and off the field of battle. My favorite line of the night? “We’re not going to be a stupid country anymore.” His reference was to keeping those who would hurt us out, and helping those who want to become part of us in. I could go for that. You?