Read Part I here.

I had gotten the invitation to attend the Trump rally from my friend, Keith, who emailed me saying he had two tickets and asked if I wanted to go with him. I was surprised getting the invite from him. I’ve known him 10 years, and never thought of him as a political person. I was happy to accept.

My last political rally of any consequence was a local Tea Party rally, when that was a thing maybe — ten years earlier. I’m just not the rally type. We arrived a little after 3 p.m., with the doors to opening an hour later. A long, snaking line of thousands had already formed.

A police officer later told me that people began arriving the day before, wanting to be the first in. The crowd was distinctive only in its ordinary appearance; it looked like the audience for any county fair, concert, or sporting event you might go to. People of all ages, families with strollers, groups of teenagers, all shuffling along in the long queue, orderly and chatting. Almost everyone was wearing some sort of Trump apparel — hats and shirts of all types and colors, but the most common color was red.