A Trump rally in an old poem: ‘Crowd is cheering, seriously without thought’

What is it about Donald Trump and huge rallies?

The Republican Party’s presumptive nominee likes them. He believes they are the perfect setting for his enormous appeal, showcasing his popularity among thousands of cheering Americans.

Mostly though, Mr Trump’s rally-fests seem to degenerate into anger-expression sessions — they find targets within the gathering (such as the media) or spit murderous fury at the world outside the venue. Sometimes, they draw equally disgraceful violence from those who don’t support Mr Trump’s ideas and public statements. The anti-Trump violence in San Jose was a terrible and indefensible response to the Republican candidate’s race-baiting xenophobia. Violence is not the answer to anything.

Anyway, this poem, ‘The crowd at the ball game’, by one of the late great modern American poets William Carlos Williams, seems to explain something of the nature of Mr Trump’s rallies.

Especially these lines:

The crowd at the ball game

is moved uniformly

by a spirit of uselessness

which delights them —

And again:

It is alive, venomous

it smiles grimly

And yet again:

It is summer, it is the solstice

the crowd is

cheering, the crowd is laughing

in detail

permanently, seriously

without thought

(Full disclosure: Williams, who worked as a doctor for more than 40 years in his New Jersey hometown of Rutherford, may not even be considered “American” by Donald Trump. After all, Williams’s father was English and his Puerto Rican mother had French, Dutch, Spanish, and Jewish ancestry. Mr Trump has said that the Indiana-born-and-bred Judge Curiel is “Mexican” simply because his parents are of Mexican blood.)

by William Carlos Williams

The crowd at the ball game

is moved uniformly

by a spirit of uselessness

which delights them —

all the exciting detail

of the chase

and the escape, the error

the flash of genius —

all to no end save beauty

the eternal —

So in detail they, the crowd,

are beautiful

for this

to be warned against

saluted and defied —

It is alive, venomous

it smiles grimly

its words cut —

The flashy female with her

mother, gets it —

The Jew gets it straight — it

is deadly, terrifying —

It is the Inquisition, the

Revolution

It is beauty itself

that lives

day by day in them

idly —

This is

the power of their faces

It is summer, it is the solstice

the crowd is

cheering, the crowd is laughing

in detail

permanently, seriously

without thought


Originally published at www.rashmee.com on June 6, 2016.