Monday, July 18, 2016

The circus is in town, and that town is Cleveland



     "There is something about a national convention that makes it as fascinating as a revival or a hanging," H.L. Mencken wrote in 1924. "It is vulgar, it is ugly, it is stupid, it is tedious, it is hard upon both the higher cerebral centers and the gluteus maximus, and yet it is somehow charming. One sits through long sessions wishing heartily that all the delegates and alternates were dead and in hell — and then suddenly there comes a show so gaudy and hilarious, so melodramatic and obscene, so unimaginably exhilarating and preposterous that one lives a gorgeous year in an hour."
     Take comfort, then, that the spectacle that will unfold this week in Cleveland is not an unprecedented descent into madness, not a radical departure from the stately decorum we like to imagine our forefathers exhibited when conducting political business. Just the same old craziness in a new box.
     That said, given Donald Trump's genius for attracting the carnival fringes of American life, the Republican National Convention, beginning in Cleveland on Monday, promises to be a circus on an epic scale.
     Ring One is the candidate himself, whose off-the-cuff pronouncements are — take your pick:
     A) a refreshing breeze of candor wafting into our sealed room of political correctness.
     B) terrifying blasts of hate and demagoguery that would tear our nation apart if anyone took them seriously. (Spoiler alert: It's "B.")

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14 comments:

  1. It is frightening that so many people seem to think the answer is A.

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    1. I was going to say: my pick is C. However, logically that would be something like, "I despise Trump, but Hillary is worse" and I wouldn't go along with that. "All of the above" and "None of the above" should also be choices, given the chaotic confusion created by Mr. Trump. Personally, I wouldn't vote for Trump even if I agreed with all of his ideas, which would be pretty hard to to do, because I consider him a despicable bombastic narcissus whose success in business and politics will take a whole lot of explaining after he departs the scene.

      john

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    2. Agree with Tate about none of the above. Can you say Green party for liberals?

      And some Republican neighbors I know are saying Libertarian.

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    3. Hlllary is probably not a saint, and having practiced the art of the possible in the public eye over many years has made her unattractive to some. But Mother Theresa is dead, and Bernie didn't get enough votes. Considering that sitting out the election or throwing away your votes on third party candidates might end up putting Lord Voldemort in the Oval Office I tend to view either alternative as extremely problematic.

      TE

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    4. Agree, Thomas. A vote for any candidate other than HRC is a vote for Lord Voldemort. I was just telling someone the other day, I would rather vote for Darth Vader than Trump.

      SandyK

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  2. So many details to keep track of during the conventions. It's interesting to gauge which party has the most contempt for the American people. One metric to watch is the layout of the "designated protest area" or "free speech zone." In 2012 the DNC's setup consisted of an enclosure of dual 8 foot high chain link fences capped with razor wire, a quarter mile away from the convention. A tough setup to beat, but I'm sure the Republicans are up to the challenge.

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  4. At the risk of sounding alarmist, I am afraid the story of the convention will be the repercussions of laws allowing open carry of battlefield weaponry. The murders in Dallas revealed the obvious - that it is absolute madness to allow any loon with a FOID card to wander around large groups of people with tools of carnage at the ready. It provides a nut with an agenda logistical cover for their violent madness, and allows other armed loons to confuse the process of law officials responding to crimes.

    A well regulated militia indeed. I fear the conservative gun Onanists that control the GOP are going to get a terrible lesson in irony.

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  5. "Onanists" -- that's a good one. Reminds me of the bootcamp story about a recruit who referred to his rifle as a gun and was made to march naked up and down the parade field, reciting, "This is my piece, this is my gun, this is for shooting, this is for fun."

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  6. Interesting article in The New Yorker about the guy who ghost-wrote "The Art of the Deal" and now deeply regrets having put lipstick on a pig. Having spent much time with the great man his view of him is even more alarming than we have imagined.

    Tom Evans

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    1. Yes, just read that. Great article! Here's the link for anyone who'd like to take a look: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/25/donald-trumps-ghostwriter-tells-all

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    2. Well, that was both illuminating and scary, particularly the part about Trump's inability to concentrate and pay attention. There is the real possibility that the American people will elect a 10-year old with ADD as president.

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  7. Vote for the Libertarian candidate or the Green candidate and you're wasting your vote. Either Clinton or Trump will be president. I'm not a fan of Hillary, but she is experienced and knowledgeable and is actually capable of being president. Trump is a bloviating dummy who has absolutely no knowledge, except for what he's learned on the shows (I love that - I get my knowledge by watching "the shows" - I watch the shows, too - VOTE FOR ME) and thinks attending a couple of military schools counts as real military experience. He's a vile, hateful, ugly (inside and out) narcissistic idiot with an asshole for a mouth. Vote your conscience = waste your vote.

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  8. Imagine what that says about his numerous followers or the Republican party. (although he's not a true Republican)

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