I’m watching the Republican convention with interest. I am fascinated by people who live in the same world I do, who see things in ways I can’t imagine — not necessarily fascinated in a good way, but fascinated nonetheless. They care deeply, passionately, emotionally about things I could care less about. Still, many of these people could show up in my private practice and I would have to try to understand them. I still wouldn’t agree with or accept their behavior, but I’d have to try and have compassion on them.
I will give the Trump Party credit about this: They chose real looking people to speak. Nearly everybody looked like they had been beaten up at some point or another, and their pain was evident. The woman who feels angry that Hillary — “a mother and grandmother” — would lie to her, for example. That woman has had a rough life, clearly. The returning soldier who survived Afghanistan did not look like he was in the best mental shape either. Scott Baio looked terrified, but tried to calmly explain his position, and he was okay (still think he’s asking the wrong questions, but he seemed to have at least internal logic). The only one who didn’t look all beat down so far has been Rick Perry who, in my opinion, is just seriously crazy. He may look like an older underwear model with glasses, but he is so bizarre in his thinking (see Michael Moore’s recent movie — the section on sex ed and abstinence) that I believe he’s one of those people who isn’t effected by craziness, because he causes it in others and blames it on them.
I’ll get back to the people later, but first thought I should talk about the ruckus that happened around 4pm on the floor. The Republicans (the GOP, not The Trump Party) wanted to “take back their party” and called for a floor vote and get another candidate. I was listening (for the first time in years) to Rush Limbaugh today and he made a good point (not something you’ll hear me say again soon) — It’s not like Donald Trump hid himself. Those who voted in the Republican primary couldn’t offer a better GOP candidate. Trump was light years ahead of Rubio and Cruz and every other person who who stood on that stage. He was what he was and they voted for him. Who else are they going to put up legitimately? So, the vote lost and the Party of Trump rose to the podium. So, the “real” Americans are up, and boy are they hurting.
An African-American father spoke about the death of his son by “a Mexican gang banger”, who didn’t hear from Obama “and you’d have thought black lives matter”, was clearly grieving, but apparently Trump gives voice to his anger in a way that Obama couldn’t. Another hurting man speaking from his pain and wondering why other people don’t get it. He is sad, hurting, but not thinking clearly.
So, here’s my version of history, which differs from that being offered tonight. The “elite” that have betrayed this country are the profiteers who made all their money on the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and didn’t give back to the people any of their revenues. The Old Republican guard (see Mitt Romney) didn’t get it that most people don’t live like them, the “captains of industry”. They took the money and bought everything they could, including politics. (Yes, by the way, I think that Hillary and Bill are in that same group, but they (Bill?) understands poverty, having been there himself.) But, when they did, the 1% or 1/10th of 1% found themselves with double or triple their numbers in votes — they got 3% of the vote.
Enter Donald Trump, who gives voice to every pain and anger and fear the Conservatives have, plus some. Trump does something no other candidate does — he adds stupidity, and ignorance. Trump has never really claimed to be wise. He claims to be strong. He claims to be powerful — a winner. The people who spoke this evening don’t see things the same way that I do because they aren’t intellectuals. They have the same experiences as Bernie Sanders supporters — we’re all (most of us, anyway) are getting ripped off by the very government that is supposed to help us. People work hard. In fact, they work harder than they ever have, and they see nothing from it. College costs, medical costs, (possibly insurance costs) and drug costs are skyrocketing. Nobody wants to die, but most of us can’t afford to live, and doing more of the same thing — getting a job or two, working hard, doesn’t get you or your kids ahead.
Let’s go back and look at our speakers, then, through these lenses:
The first lady who spoke, whose “son” (I guess she’s not “immediate family”) was killed in Benghazi. Nothing personal, but her son went to a war zone. He knew what he was getting into. He was brave, yes, but he was doing his duty. The idea that people can go to a war zone (diplomats or combat troops) and not get shot (or do and come back for the next episode) is straight out of Hollywood. I don’t think he would blame Hillary for this for lying, whether he liked her politics or not. Yes, I believe she let him down, but she’s human. She — like him — made mistakes in life. She has to live with the truth, whatever that is. Generals make mistakes, but we don’t get mad at them. Why not, because they are human and they make mistakes. Stuff happens. Get over it. Yes, I think Hillary should have something happen to her as a consequence. But if Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld started a war and faced no charges, what would that punishment be? Same as ever — nothing. Nixon resigned in disgrace, but he was pardoned. There’s an unwritten rule that politicians are, in fact, above the law… or jail time, anyway. NONE of the police involved in the abuse of Black men will do any time.
Rick Perry said, after introducing the soldier, that we need to support our soldiers. Yes, we do — mostly by not sending them to war for corporations in the first place. Barring that, though,real supplies (remember Humvees with no armor under them?) good medical care, actual mental health care — all the things the Republicans are proud of cutting in their joy to cut the budget.
Scott Baio’s “immigrants shouldn’t get free stuff”? Nobody’s getting any stuff right now — and that includes veterans. I’m all for “work hard, do well”, but that’s not what’s happening. Not sharing with outsiders misses the point. The people in government are against sharing with anyone. They think they don’t have to. (Oh, and there’s that Jesus idea that we’re supposed to care for the downtrodden and/or sojourner in our land — just saying.)
The father who lost his son to an “immigrant gang-banger”? If he lost his son to a suburban yuppie, would he be speaking against them? Probably. He’d still be feeling the loss. He’d still be feeling the anger. It would still be a tragedy. His feeling abandoned by the government is real, but there are two parties, and I’m sure both abandoned him. It can’t all be the democrats fault. His remark about Obama and Black lives means that he wants his Black son’s life to have mattered. So does every other Black parent in America. Yes, we still owe this man sympathy and compassion for his loss — all of us. I just don’t see Donald Trump as the guy for the job.
Lastly, the police officer who wants the law to be applied equally and fairly, and some of the police to get support in non-urban settings? I agree. I want that, too. While he almost certainly doesn’t pull people over for “driving while Black”, or shoot them in the back or assume a little kid has real gun, clearly somebody does. Believe it or not, we all want equal justice under the law. It is not what we have (see above). Some people are just sick of not getting it, and never having it. While I am glad that he wants that, and he is in a position of power to make that happen, I also believe that both Trump and the old Republican Party would just as soon throw him under the bus, if he didn’t have their point of view.
There is this weird delusion that Republicans seem to have mastered. :og Cabin Republicans are shocked( shocked, I say!) by the fact that the party has fewer supports for LGBT than it has. They are shocked by the idea that people going to war get killed, wounded, or maimed and need services. They are shocked that there’s violence in their world, while they support owning AK-47’s. What do they think is going to happen? Honestly, critical thinking is not even wanted by this party. I don’t know of any democrat trying to de-fund education or calling for pseudo-science to be taught. If they are there, I don’t expect much from them, either.
I work in the world of feelings all day, and I think there is a place for un-rationality in the world of religion. Under no circumstances, though, do I think we can get away using only those things. God gave us brains for a reason. Let’s have compassion on each other, but let’s think about what’s actually happening.