When I heard Donald Trump’s speech Thursday night, it would never have occurred to me in a million years that it was “dark.“
I was in Quicken Loans Arena that night surrounded by enthusiastic, energetic, hopeful, helpful people who were grateful to be Americans and fiercely protective of each other, including “our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.” From where I was sitting, the loudest roar of the night erupted when Trump said, “Folks, don’t we just love our police?”
What is it that’s “dark” about empathy and the commitment to make law enforcement safer? It seems to me that officers leaving home each day to protect the rest of us while never knowing if they will return home to their families that night is the dark part.
It passed over me without a ripple of surprise when the crowd roared its support for protecting our LGBTQ brothers and sisters from the hateful ideology of radical Islam. Of course we want to protect other more vulnerable Americans from danger. Duh. I winced when Trump said, “And I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.”
Like we had just put a man on the moon it was so never-happened-before. Of course, since I used to be further left on the political spectrum than Bernie Sanders, I unfortunately get the point only too well.
That the media made such hay of it the next day turned my wince to a cringe. How many times did I hear, “That’s the first time ever that ‘LGBTQ’ has been talked about at a Republican Convention”? Ouch. Also, wrong. Kinda.
The literal phrase “LGBTQ” may have made its first appearance, but every Republican Convention ever held has been about patriotism, the strong protecting the weak, and doing the right thing even if it’s hard and whether or not we want to. I never saw an asterisk anywhere that said, “Unless it’s gays and lesbians.”
Like Rudi Guiliani said, “The police don’t ask if you’re black or white when they come to save you.” Only non-Republicans were surprised that we GOP’ers find homophobia and violence against LGBTQ citizens unacceptable.
Equally unacceptable to conservatives are racism and violence against blacks, although you’d never know it from the way we’re portrayed in the media. If you didn’t know better, you’d think we call each other at night and decide which cop is going to shoot which black man the next day. And then concoct a story to blame the ‘unarmed’ black man, like pretending he went for the officer’s gun. Genius.
The most powerful lies contain a germ of truth. Because there is bad in every group, progressives are sometimes speaking truth when they say this cop or that police department or this employer or that landlord is racist. The genius part is convincing decent people that individual drops of racism contaminate the whole group and that the only solution is to punish the group as a whole. Were this the case, we would have to punish all teachers, ministers, doctors, and parents for the actions of individuals within their group.
Somewhere I hear Black Lives Matter shouting, “It’s systemic racism that produces individual racists so we have to cut the head off the group!” Even though I would like to shout back, I ask calmly, “If systemic racism exists in all our institutions, and systemic racism is the cause of racist individuals, why aren’t all of us racists?” If you’re so hard over into the white privilege view that you think I just made your point for you, you just made my point for me. Dialog is futile.
If we can all agree on only one thing, it’s the never-ending potential for human beings to do bad things. If all the Left needs is bad behavior to prove entire groups are evil, sweet! Material without end. I’d rather all of us decent people work together to punish all the indecent, then take our teamwork forward to the next challenge. Instead, we never get off the racism-go-round hill. We slide down the sexism gully at times or traverse the religious bigotry rock, but all we manage to do is rearrange the deck prejudices on the U.S.A. Titanic.
The H.M.S. Titanic had no end game; without enough lifeboats, it was simply a matter of forestalling the inevitable as long as possible. The inevitable caught up to it on April 14, 1912. Our U.S.A. Titanic has no end game; without realistic goals, we merely kick the can of frustration, rage, and violence down the road. Lucky we would be to be headed for a clear cut defeat. Instead we have so ill-defined the problem that we grapple on in perpetuity never resolving anything. Success and the possibility of attaining it are an illusion if the game is rigged to provoke nothing but more warfare.
If it were true that more seats at the table for more kinds of Americans is the goal, why aren’t we more encouraged by Barack Obama, Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Condoleeza Rice, Megyn Kelly, etc.? Some of us are, to be sure, but so many of us are not that it’s bizarre. Highly-accomplished conservative black men are especially reviled by the African-American community as “Uncle Toms.”
Uncle Tom– A black man who will do anything to stay in good standing with “the white man” including betray his own people.
How utterly tragic that “betray his own people” means demonstrating that race is merely an obstacle, not a death sentence. Chris Rock has a gift for making us recognize ugly truth through humor. He does a bitingly funny bit where he role-plays the welcome reception for a black man coming home from prison vs. a black man coming home from college. Reception to the first is over-the-top proud: “WAZ UP? Give me some love!” Reception to the second is over-the-top cold: “What, you think you white?”
There’s a reason the faces at RNC were overwhelmingly white, and it isn’t that blacks aren’t welcome. The faces were overwhelmingly straight and Christian and male, too. Blacks, LGBTQ folks, Muslims, Atheists, and other non-white, non-straight, non-Christian Americans believe they aren’t welcome. Believe that Republicans judge, mock, disdain, disrespect and use them. Belief is so powerful that most blacks believe the party of Lincoln, which was started to abolish slavery, is the biggest threat to their lives, prosperity, and happiness. Most blacks believe the Democrat party, which fought to expand slavery and passed discriminatory Jim Crow laws, is their only friend.
How ironic that ‘friend’ President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law only reluctantly and after 20 years of opposing every civil rights proposal that came before him as a lawmaker. Perhaps if more black parents were subject to “enemy” Republicans’ idea of school choice, more black children would learn more accurate history.
The media is not your friend when it comes to reporting news of the world, yet their reportage is the most dominant force in shaping our political views. We don’t all have the option of being front and center for newsworthy events, but we all have access to the Internet.
Read widely and think for yourself.
Donna Carol Voss is a Berkeley grad, a former pagan, a Mormon on purpose, and an original thinker on 21st century living. She is the author of “Hail to the Chief! 10 Questions to Ask Every Oval Office Candidate” and “One of Everything”, a memoir. Follow her on Twitter @donnacarolvoss.
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