Notes from the rally — I didn’t go for the politics

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I didn’t go for the politics. I went for the spectacle.  And it paid in spades.  And it paid off with promise.  What I see on TV night after night as I torture myself on a daily basis, watching all sides of the news — MSNBC to FOX — I came to see that it is quite possible that the news is somewhat bullshitting most of us.

There’s less hate than you might think.  At least on the streets of Manchester.
Afternoon, between 2-5, there were thousands upon thousands of Trump supporters snaking their way through and around and behind the backstreets of Manchester.  It was ca-ca–crazy how many people came out to support or decry the President as he rallied his base in the Queen City.
And as I walked through the crowd, trying like hell to single out the Trump supporters as brutes, as fools, as single-minded celebrity-crazed dip shits, I came up empty.  I just didn’t see it.  Nor did I see violence.  Or bullying.  Or brutes, fools or dipshits. I saw passion that I can only equate to those that love the New England Patriots.
For real.
Yes, Donald Trump was an idiot in the 80s. He was an idiot in the 90s.  He was an idiot with a terrible TV show in the 2000s and he is the same idiot as our President of the United States.  You want facts?  That’s the facts.
The presidency was always, or so I thought, a position reserved for an exceptional human being.  Not you, not me, not him or her.  Definitely not Trump, but our sense of excellence has been watered down in the Twitter age where, with a click and a post, we can all position ourselves as heroes.  So, we get what we are given.  Move on.
Don Bouchard says, “All we need is love.” Photo/Rob Azevedo

Still, with that said, his supporters are not idiots. They are passionate, they are committed, they are sensitive and they are Trump Strong.  How can you blame anyone for that?  I wish I could. I wish I had been spit in the face, sucker-punched or called a libertard. I wasn’t.  I felt no fear, not a single semblance of danger.

Dare I say pride? Sure, why not.  I was proud to be an American.
Did I witness shouting? Yes.  Lots of it.  Especially after six when the work crowd let out and the protesters arrived in droves and I couldn’t tell who loved and who hated Burger Neck. I loved the rush of Patriotism on both sides.  I loved seeing the Secret Service perched high atop buildings, protecting us all with their AKs. I loved the hovering helicopters, the lean-jawed Manchester PD, the sniffing hounds and the undercover agents patrolling the area.  In the midst of all this madness, I could not have felt more safe.
Inside the arena, well, I can’t tell you what that was like because I didn’t go in.  I could have. I had the press pass, the White House Press Pool credentials, but as I walked about, meandering my way throughout the crowd, taking it all in, I decided to watch the rally from a bar stool inside the Ukrainian Club, a mere two blocks away.  Why?  Simple.  Teddy Roosevelt wasn’t speaking in the arena.  Nor was FDR, Obama or Reagan, or any of the other past presidents I would have cut my hand off to hear speak.  Trump, President or not, is not worth my time.  I’m not going to learn anything from Donald Trump.  Not going to be inspired by him. Not going to be enamored by him.  The dude is gross, plain and simple, and Tommy the bartender at the Uke is a far bigger draw to me when it comes to being a conversationalist.  At least I can learn something from Tommy.

So, with that said, we survived the Orange Crush and it was a wonderful night to be an American in Manchester.

Rob Azevedo lives in Manchester and is a freelance columnist. He can be reached at