Night One of the Republican National Convention, I fully intended to watch. As an ex-journalist and creator of The Shinbone Star, I felt reporting on the event was my duty, kinda like the guy tasked with emptying the port-o-cans the morning after the city’s Fourth of July picnic and fireworks extravaganza.
In the end I couldn’t do it, and also couldn’t insist that any staff member attend. After all, we’re volunteers and there are some things even paid staff shouldn’t be forced to endure. As longtime journalists, we’ve already faced our fair share of indignities, and I figured it was time for the new breed at our sister papers, The New York Times and Washington Post, to carry the ball.
Night Two, same deal. I told myself I needed to watch what Melania Trump had to say, but when push came to shove, I ended up watching my DVD copy of “Cold Mountain,” a Civil War epic from 2003 that somehow managed to generate a modicum of sympathy for the old Confederacy, that blight on America that gained new life within the Trumpist Republican Party.
Like the Republicans, the movie focused on the war’s effect on Southern white people, and like the Republicans, there was only the briefest cameo for Black faces, an attempt, perhaps, to give the whole sad movie a touch of legitimacy. Again, just like the Republicans.
And now here it is, the morning after Night Three and still I haven’t watched. I have my blood pressure to consider.
Bottom line: As an American citizen of reasonable intelligence, I know there’s nothing I can write that will persuade any Trump supporter to abandon his position.
If Republicans watching their own convention can witness the deification of the “Ken and Karen” couple – the armed Missourians who walked outside their mansion and pointed guns at peaceful protesters; if they can watch Don-Don proclaim the GOP as the party of free speech after his daddy tear-gassed protesters in Washington’s Lafayette Park; if they can watch a staged naturalization ceremony while the man who throws babies into cages stands there overseeing the charade, then they will not be dissuaded by anything I have to say.
Donald Trump and the Republicans are covering their slaughter of the U.S. Constitution with a thin white veneer that hides the spatters of blood. Fence-sitters looking for excuses to support the GOP could well discover one in the tangled lies of the speakers, or in the face of one of Trump’s Rent-a-Blacks – “well, if they’re not concerned about Republican-endorsed racism, why should I be?”
In our 21st Century echo chamber, most Democrats can’t stand to watch the RNC, and to be fair, most Republicans couldn’t stand to watch the “sounds-like-socialism” DNC. Both camps migrate to sites and opinions that reflect their own worldview. Few minds will be changed between now and Election Day. The die is already cast and America’s democracy hangs by the slenderest of threads.
No, I don’t want to watch the Republicans. Even though the GOP horror movie that has been playing for the past three and a half years is finally nearing its climax, it’s too excruciating to endure. Just don’t be surprised if I still peep through my fingers from time to time.