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OPINION: During the Republican National Convention, Do Republicans Want a Better America — or Do They Just Want A Really Good Show?

OPINION: During the Republican National Convention, Do Republicans Want a Better America — or Do They Just Want A Really Good Show?

The Trump Circus rolled into town on Monday night and Republicans are in a frenzy. So much glamor. So much glitz. So little compassion. Trump here, there, and everywhere. 

Being the master showman that the president is, Trump’s mind is on presenting the splashiest Republican Convention possible. Who cares about a global pandemic that’s wiping out lives and economies right and left? Get the kids back in school, suppress the vote, and let’s get this party started! 

It’s time to roll out the Big Tent. For Trump-loving Republicans, four — count ‘em — four nights of Trump making repeated acceptance speeches. (This is just in case we miss it on any given night.)

Since the convention’s start on Monday night, there’s been little mention of the 180,000 and counting American lives given up to the coronavirus. There’s been virtually no acknowledgement of the latest police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin which left another African-American man fighting for his life.

Jacob Blake is now reportedly semi-paralyzed. He was shot seven times in front of his small children. One of those bullets severed Blake’s spinal cord. The officers involved are on paid administrative leave pending “a full investigation.” We hear that all the time, yet the shootings continue unabated. 

But, who wants to talk about that? Those stories are downers.

Despite a flood of more moderate Republicans who are fleeing the arch-conservative Republican Party in droves, and with Biden-supporting Republican PACs popping up like mushrooms after the rain, this GOP is only open to like minds. More than that, the party has been reshaped into Donald Trump’s image. If the party was a cult, Trump would have more than enough followers to “drink the Kool-Aid.”

Former Fox News  host, Kimberly Guilfoyle, was hyped on Monday night. She screamed her praise of Trump to a mostly empty room. Guilfoyle became an instant meme and no doubt she will be immortalized by actress Cecily Strong on Saturday Night Live.  (Strong can hit those high decibels since she also hilariously plays Jeanine Pirro.)  Guilfoyle looked positively weird, hands flailing with messianic zeal, exhorting the Republican masses to bow down at the Altar of Trump. 

Just as when the French king, Louis the 14th, declared grandly that he was the State, the RNC basically did the same thing when it failed to spell out the Republican platform. In fact, Donald Trump IS the Republican Platform in 2020. 

There are no treasured conservative principles held dear in Trump’s party. The only thing to which today’s Republican party adheres is undying allegiance to a president who will only take “yes” for an answer. Oh, and winning because you must be ready to win at all costs.  Fiscal conservatism, bringing more people of color into the Big Tent, less government are ideas jettisoned in this Republican party. Bottom line, human decency and compassion are old news. Former members of the President’s A-Team have been convicted of felonies. 

Since Monday, only Melania Trump, the First Lady, has even referenced Americans sidelined by job loss, illness,  and death. But, even this is a sham. Mrs. Trump held her speech in the Rose Garden where the People’s House has been co-opted for political grandstanding. Including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech while on government business in Israel, all protocols respecting the necessity of our government to appear non-partisan have flown out the window. 

It’s the show that matters. Not Black lives. Not hundreds of thousands of dead Americans. Neither the Constitution, the word of law or science counts in Trump World — not even democracy with a capital D. 

This week, it’s about the crazy optics of fearful Whites concerned about the “masses” coming to pull “Good Americans” out of their homes. But it’s Black citizens who are getting shot by police almost daily. Stopping the immigrants (and incarcerating small children)  at the U.S./Mexico border, slavishly following Putin’s Russia autocrat playbook, repeating the mantra of “law and order” even as the president pardons cronies convicted of federal crimes — it’s all adding up to the Republicans’ Show of Shows. 

The president wants this convention to be one for the history books. It will be, but for all the wrong reasons. 

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