Right, Left or Center, at least one aspect of this week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio can certainly be agreed upon… it was a fascinating series of events.
At its most basic level, we can all be thankful that the convention was successful– there were no major acts of violence or dangerous disruption, and hopefully everyone that participated will have a safe a journey home. Whether one agrees with the politics or not, all Americans can be proud that this year’s RNC was kept safe.
But of course, being safe and feeling safe are often two very different emotions. As Elle Magazine’s Melissa Harris-Perry shares, the RNC didn’t
Every night this week in Cleveland, the energy has waned as the hour progressed. By the time media left the Arena at 11 p.m., the building was only half full. Tonight was different. Mr Trump’s speech brought delegates and their energy to a late night crescendo. Chants we heard all week increased in fervor, volume, intensity, and frequency—” Build that wall!” “Lock her Up!” “U-S-A!”
The police presence we experienced all week was more visible than ever.
It occurred to me 30 minutes into Mr. Trump’s speech that when he finished we would be facing the classic problem of large venue events, say, concerts for example: everyone was going to leave at the same time. This would be the first time all week when we would all be streaming out at ounce. Trump supporters, fearing immigrants and criminals and hoarse from chanting about walls and locks would be in tight quarters with the liberal media liars. Team Trump is stoked by the discourse of the speech.
Keep in mind, RNCers had just undergone a week of hotel induced sleeplessness, long meetings, late nights, and cocktail parties. Then, throw in the protestors we would all have to pass as we left the zone of the arena.
Suddenly I was viscerally afraid.
Compared to any other Republican National Convention in recent memory, and certainly in the 21st century, 2016 seemed one for the books in terms of blatant vitriol, at least the kind that was caught on camera. It’s also true that Ms. Perry’s identity as an African-American woman proved to be much more the exception than the rule for this year’s RNC. Per The Washington Post, of the 2,472 convention delegates in attendance, just 18 of those were African-American… an historic low not seen in nearly century. And of course, this is against the backdrop of country which is more diverse than ever before. All season long, the Trump organization and the GOP have boasted about the monumental “growth” of the party… more primary voters than ever before, and historic voter registration numbers. That may be true, but it isn’t the same growth that is occurring in the rest of America.
Even the moments that could be considered true “brights spots” contained noticeable shade. Peter Thiel, Billionaire businessman and believed to be the first ever openly gay male to speak at a National GOP Convention gave a rousing speech showing himself proud to be gay and a Republican. But in virtually the same breath, he also throws transgender Americans under the bus by undervaluing their most fundamental rights. To his question, “who cares?” about bathrooms?? The same people which shared that room with him and worked tirelessly to repeal Pro-Equality legislation certainly do. Indeed it must be nice to be a Billionaire who also happens to be gay.
But thanks to some careful, and historic planning by Fairness USA, some of Thiel’s hateful messaging was countered. The groundbreaking TV ad, which debuted on Fox News, allows the American public to finally see the Transgender equality issue from the other side. In my opinion, this is the kind of history which is long overdue.
So as Texas Leftist predicted one year ago, RNC 2016 is now in the books, and Donald Trump has claimed his place as the Retrumplican… err I mean Republican Party’s new leader. Between you and me, the DNC 2016 can’t come fast enough.