Trump Country, 2017

I crossed America by car in the summer of 2017, looking for Trump. I looked for him in truck stops and restrooms, parking lots and malls. I looked for Trump in roadside signs and unplanted fields, in thrift stores and magazine racks.

And I found him, though I had to look much harder than expected.

I found him in a fake outhouse next to a sign that read “Obama’s Presidential Library.”

I found him on a linen shirt, his name on the label.

I found Trump on an overflowing trash can in a fast-food parking lot in California.

I found him in a diner with little American flags a cutout decoration proclaiming “United We Stand.”

I found Trump in car and gun magazines, in Freedom Shirts, in half-buried Cadillacs, two born-again children spray-painting his name on the roof of one in yellow acrylic.

I found Trump in the Second Amendment Cowboy, just down the corner from the caddies, in the hotel lobbies, drink dispensers at roadside restaurants, in home-made signs nailed to telephone poles, in hunting stores and in chairs newly upholstered in the Civil War’s Battle Flag of Northern Virginia.

I found him in the billboard for the gun range and in the giant cross just off the highway.

I found him in a small billboard along with Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan, and in a hobby store sign, the company recently caught smuggling religious artifacts.

I found him in the pastry section at a bakery and I found him defaced with the word “Liar,” the farmer apparently having a change of heart.

I found him all across the country, not everywhere I looked but if I looked enough he was there, four and a half years ago.

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