Even as some Tennesseans continued to organize their resistance to Donald Trump — (top) like these Memphians at Caritas Center last Saturday, the group in the foreground writing postcards to the President with some salty and none too fond advice, the group in the background getting a forum on tactics and goals from an ACLU representative, others (bottom) , like this early-morning lineup of first comers outside Nashville's Municipal Auditorium on Wednesday morning, waited around in 25-degree weather to hear The Donald make his case iat a rally at 6:30 that evening. They, too, had mjessages to send. ening.
The Flyer is on hand in Nashville to report on how things work out in the capital city for the President. Who knows? He may decide to leak another couple of 1040 cover filings. We'll let you know what happens. Stay tuned. We'll update.
Inside the Nashville Municipal Arena, where Trump will speak this evening. it's not long after 4 o'clock; Trump has only just landed and is at The Hermitage visiting the ghost of Andrew Jackson (to whom, astonishingly, Jon Meacham compared him this morning and whom he would dearly love to be compared to).
Back here in downtown Nashville, I regret I don't have pics of the line snaking around several city blocks hoping to get in — a mile and a half long and containing upwards of 10,000 people (easily).
I know this will be taken wrong by some readers, but I was reminded of those old newsreels of German soldiers, an endless line of them, trudging off to captivity at Stalingrad.
[Updated postscript: Apparently, this bleak analogy was more on target than I realized. As the succeeding paragraph indicates,an enormous number of those who alternately stood and shuffled their slow way forward on that sub-freezing late-winter day would be denied the door, but not for the reason stated below; the slowness of security screening would be blamed for that by everybody from Trump on down.
But of course these shivering throngs are pilgrims, whose surrender is hopeful and voluntary. Not all of them will find the glory they're seeking today. The arena only holds 9,000.
ON STAGE: One of the warmup speakers, Mae Beavers, the Tennessee state Senator famous for her multi-front war against vice, is "proud to be on the kill list" with Bannon, Miller, et al.....
IN AN AISLE: Happily smiling and posing for pictures with passerby is a short stocky man. Who is that, I ask. "Spicey!" Someone answers. Sean Spicer looks around and says, "You see, people like me!"
FROM THE CROWD: Two chants have so far broken the restless wait: "Lock Her Up!" and "Build That Wall!" (It might as well be 2016 again!)
[Both chants would anticipate the remarks to the crowd by Trump, who would directly incite another prolonged chorus of the "Lock Her Up" chant against Hillary and look on smugly as it reverberated around the floor.
THE STALL IS ON: It gets to be six-thirty and beyond. Late in the series of warm-up acts, which have included various pols, the Gatlin Brothers live and various rock-era Golden Oldies canned, Senator Bob Corker comes out, begins some more obligatory rah-rah,, then says, "I'll tell you what I'm really doing. I'm killing time until he comes out. A lot of people want to get in, and we're trying to get 'em in." Eerily and inexplicably, there are rows and rows of empty seats. Trump is backstage somewherfe here, long since, but you know he doesn't want to appear in front of empty seats.
Enter Lee Greenwood. And he does his usual, one more time. Proud to be an American, at least he knows he's free.He gets done, and then, suddenly, at last...
TO BE CONTINUED: WHAT DID TRUMP SAY, AND WHY DID HE SAY IT? WE'LL TRY TO ANSWER THOSE AND OTHER QUESTIONS OF NO SMALL IMPORTANCE.