The Elephant in the Room: The Other America Roars Back

The Elephant in the Room: The Other America Roars Back

If you had any doubt that there really are two Americas, that doubt would have been shattered had you, like me, watched both the Democratic National Convention last week and the Republican National Convention this week. In stark contrast to the Dems’ dark and dystopian view of America, the GOP’s vision of the country was one of hope, progress, and unity. And while the DNC chose to present their view largely through a format of endless small video screens, much like a Zoom infomercial, reflecting the fear they would like to keep the country living in, the RNC chose a live, open, and dynamic format that, while different from a traditional convention, at least conveyed vivacity and unabashed spirit.

Honestly, as I said in my piece last week, I was expecting another largely virtual convention. That expectation went by the wayside from the very opening of the proceedings and was quickly forgotten. Dubbed “Land of Greatness” by the GOP, this was clearly, and refreshingly, an event with real people speaking to the country in real life, not a bunch of talking heads on screens and, in too many cases, in pre-recorded videos and speeches. Also refreshingly absent were the Hollywood elites that the Dems had chosen to emcee their convention.

It has been reported that President Trump used some of The Apprentice’s producers to help plan the RNC convention, and their influence and talent was clearly evident. Heretofore we were led to believe that the Democratic Party had the edge on using technology to its advantage, but if that was true in past years it’s no longer the case. And as the RNC convention demonstrated, technology or no technology, there is no substitute for people speaking directly and unfiltered to the audience.

From the opening speeches of the first night through the finale of Trump’s acceptance speech to a gathering of between 1,000 and 2,000 people on the South Lawn of the White House, followed by one of the most amazing fireworks displays over the National Mall that I’ve ever seen and a rousing operatic set by tenor Christopher Macchio, this convention walked all over the Dems’ Zoom display with big elephant feet. And while the Dems studiously avoided even one word of mention of the other elephants in the country, the months of violence and civil unrest rocking cities all across the nation, or how China was allowed to bleed away millions of American jobs, the Republicans took them head-on, portraying Democratic complicity in permitting both and how the country could look forward to more of the same were Joe Biden elected in November. Perhaps more even than the convention’s production values, this message may have resonated with voters. But we’ll get to that.

No More (Just) Mr. White Guy

Another myth dispelled throughout the most recent four nights is that the Republican Party is a party of old white men. While the Dems tried to make us believe that the country consists almost entirely of blacks and Hispanics, the Republicans demonstrated that people of all different backgrounds – white, black, Hispanic, Native American, men, women, old, young, natural born, and immigrant – can and do find a home in the GOP and, in case after case, to rise to positions of great authority within the party and the country. It was a direct refutation of the identity politics the Dems rely on and showed that people of drive and talent are welcomed and can thrive within the Republican Party based not on the color of their skin, but rather – in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., frequently cited during the convention – the quality of their character.

Some of the people of color, both luminaries and the largely unheralded, who spoke during the convention, all of whom had nothing but words of praise for the President, include:

  • Legendary NFL star Herschel Walker
  • South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott
  • Candidate for Congress from Baltimore Kim Klacik
  • Maximo Alvarez, Cuban exile and founder of Sunshine Gasoline
  • Former South Carolina Governor and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley
  • Democratic Georgia state legislator Vernon Jones
  • Norma Urrabazo, pastor and executive at the National Latina/Latino Commission
  • Myron Lizer, vice president of the Navajo Nation
  • Jon Ponder, former inmate and founder of HOPE for Prisoners, Inc.
  • Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez
  • Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron
  • Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng
  • Burgess Owens, former NFL player and candidate for Congress from Utah
  • Civil rights activist Clarence Henderson
  • White House advisor Ja’Ron Smith
  • Marine Corps veteran Stacia Brightmom
  • Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes
  • Ann Dorn, widow of former police captain David Dorn, killed in St. Louis looting
  • HUD Secretary Ben Carson
  • Alice Johnson, former inmate whose sentence was commuted by President Trump

A recurrent theme was how the media portrayal of Trump as a racist and misogynist was false. Herschel Walker, speaking on the opening night, perhaps said it best.

It hurt my soul to hear the terrible names that people call Donald. The worst one is racist. I take it out as a personal insult that people would think I’ve had a 37-year friendship with a racist. People who think that don’t know what they’re talking about,” Walker said. “Growing up in the deep South, I’ve seen racism up close. I know what it is and it isn’t Donald Trump. Just because someone loves and respect the flag, our national anthem, and our country doesn’t mean they don’t care about social justice. I care about all of those things. So does Donald Trump. He shows how much he cares about social justice in the black community through his actions and his actions speaks louder than stickers or slogans on a jersey.”

Walker’s sentiments were echoed by Jon Ponder, a convicted bank robber released early from prison and who went on to found HOPE for Prisoners, Inc., an organization that helps former convicts get a new start in life. In one of several moments in which Trump himself appeared, the President signed a full pardon for Ponder right on camera. Looking on approvingly was Richard Beasley, the former FBI agent who had arrested Ponder and with whom he is now friends.

On the last night, Alice Marie Johnson, another former prisoner whose sentence had been commuted by the President after she spent more than two decades behind bars for a non-violent drug conviction that was her first offense, gave a moving presentation. She related how she had been sentenced to life in prison without parole, a product of the crime bill that Joe Biden had helped get passed in the 1990s.

I was once told that the only way I would be reunited with my family would be as a corpse,” Johnson said. “But through the grace of God and the love and compassion of President Donald John Trump, I stand before you tonight and I assure you, I am not a ghost. I am alive, I am whole and most importantly, I am free.”

Going one step further, the day after the convention Trump gave Johnson a full pardon.

Other speakers who gave moving and powerful accounts of their encounters with the President and how he supported them were Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was murdered in the Parkland high school massacre; Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington, Kentucky, teen who was ridiculed by the media mob simply for wearing a MAGA hat; pro-life advocate and former Planned Parenthood employee Abby Johnson; and Carl and Marsha Mueller, whose daughter, Kayla, was held captive, tortured, raped, and murdered by ISIS.

The Big Media Lie

If you had any doubt about the source for creating and maintaining the two separate Americas, the mass media quickly wiped out any question you might have had about that. Because I didn’t want the interruptions with talking heads that marked coverage of the DNC convention on Fox News, I watched all four nights of it on MSNBC, which normally I’ll avoid like the plague. On MSNBC, I was able to see the entire DNC convention uninterrupted. But that wasn’t to be the case for the RNC convention. Early on the first night, as Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who had defended their home and lives from a mob of Black Lives Matter protestors only to be charged with gun violations by the same prosecutor who refused to charge any of the looters or rioters in her jurisdiction, were telling their story, MSNBC cut in so Rachel Maddow could “explain the lies” told by the McCloskeys. Now wait a minute. I don’t need a despicable character and congenital liar like Rachel Maddow explaining anything to me, nor do I need the likes of former Missouri Senator and Democratic hack Claire McCaskell, called out of the hangar of washed-up politicians by Maddow, or the racist Don Lemon or the general idiot Chris Cuomo on CNN, telling me about what the McCloskeys actually experienced. I’ve seen it first-hand and to me it’s clear who the liars are, and it’s not the McCloskeys.

Despite the biggest and most shameless lies told during the DNC convention, never once did Maddow or the others on the leftist networks interrupt it or “explain” any of those lies. But they did it repeatedly during the Republican convention. While Fox News was still doing its talking heads thing, I searched for a source where I could watch the RNC convention without it being filtered through interpretations or distortions of either side of the political spectrum. And I found it on C-Span, where I was able to watch the rest of the convention in its entirety without interruption.

I am sure I was not alone in this. While overall viewership ratings were down slightly for the RNC versus the DNC (as it was in 2016, too), it was off markedly for MSNBC and CNN. Meanwhile, Fox News, during Sean Hannity’s segment, scored record viewership for any convention coverage ever – more than 7 million viewers on the first night, compared with 2 million on CNN and less than 1.6 million on MSNBC, and 8 million on the second night. But the real gainer was C-Span, where viewership for the RNC convention was a rocking six times that for the DNC convention. On the first night of the RNC, 440,000 viewers, myself among them, tuned in on C-Span, versus just 76,000 for the DNC in the equivalent time slot, and this pattern continued through the week. The DNC performance on social media, according to Nielson Media Research, was no better. I think this was an indictment of the kind of distorted coverage provided by the other networks, especially the ones on the left.

To me, it is encouraging that so many Americans still want to get their news unfiltered and can see through the lies told them by the likes of CNN and MSNBC. Allowed to do so, it’s clear that views can begin to change. The post-convention show on C-Span took calls from viewers all over the country, with separate call-in numbers for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. It was no surprise that almost all the callers on the Republican line supported Trump. What was a surprise was how almost all the callers on the Democratic line said they were changing their support to Trump and, in some cases, changing their party affiliation to Republican after being life-long Democrats. Most of those on the Independent line also said they’d vote for Trump in November. Again, this pattern continued through the convention.

Probably the issue that was most cited by those shifting their support to Trump was the violence afflicting the country and the belief that the Dems were either unable or unwilling to do anything about it. It didn’t hurt that the worst of the unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was going on during the convention, and people were fed up watching American cities being destroyed by mindless violence. Apparently this message started to get through to the Dem leadership, and even to the talking heads of CNN and MSNBC.

After nearly three months trying to convince viewers that all that was going on was “peaceful protesting,” Cuomo came out Tuesday, the second night of the RNC convention, and called anti-police rioting “a Rorschach test for where this country is,” adding, I think it probably represents the biggest threat to the Democratic cause.” And then Lemon, who previously had gone so far as to defend the rioting as a “mechanism for a restructure of our country or for some sort of change,” agreed with Cuomo’s Rorschach reference. And then he went on to reveal the real crux of the matter in his eyes: “The rioting has to stop. Chris, as you know and I know, it’s showing up in the polling. It’s showing up in focus groups. It is the only thing – it is the only thing right now that is sticking.”

So it’s not the loss of property, the loss of life, the destruction of livelihoods, the tearing down and burning of whole segments of American cities that is the problem. It’s that the poll numbers for Biden and “the Democratic cause” are going down. Got it?

Do you still doubt the key role the media play in creating and fostering the divisions the country is suffering through? The bigger question is, how can democracy even survive such bias and untruths?

Melania

Melania Trump, the largely unheralded First Lady, deserves a section of this posting all by herself. While all the adult Trump children – Donald Jr., Tiffany, Eric, and Ivanka – had speaking rolls during the convention, First Lady Melania’s presentation at the end of the second night was perhaps the most remarkable from a family member.

You didn’t have to wonder whether she used to be a model. That was apparent seeing the grace with which she carried herself coming down the long White House arcade to the podium. We get to see so little of this First Lady that it’s remarkable observing her beauty and composure, not to mention her striking wardrobe (it doesn’t hurt being married to a billionaire, but one can certainly see the attraction she held, and apparently still does, for the President).

Melania must be the most classicly feminine and cultured First Lady the country has had since Jacqueline Kennedy. Were Trump a Democrat and not a Republican, the media would be fawning all over her like a 15-year-old boy in heat, but instead she’s almost shut out, when not being actively derided. Part of that is probably the result of her own reticence to be the center of attention – we remember how at the beginning of the President’s term she preferred to stay in New York with son Barron – but the rest is pure prejudice.

It was striking to hear a First Lady speak with an accent. To me, it signified how open and welcoming this country is, to not only elect a black man to the country’s highest office, but now to have a foreign-born First Lady. And once she started speaking, it was clear the audience of about 100 people gathered in the Rose Garden, which she recently had renovated after many years without an updating, loved her. She seemed to have some difficulty with the teleprompters, holding her head in one direction or the other for a bit longer than seemed natural, but she spoke with confidence and expressed herself with a clarity that belied the fact that English is not her native language. If only Joe Biden could be as coherent.

The First Lady spoke of her immigrant roots.

Growing up as a young child in Slovenia, which was under Communist rule at the time, I always heard about an amazing place called America, a place that stands for freedom and opportunity,” she said. “As an immigrant and a very independent woman, I understand what a privilege it is to live here and to enjoy the freedoms and opportunities that we have.”

Melania acknowledged the pain caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, saying, “”My deepest sympathy goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one, and my prayers are with those who are ill or suffering.” She also spoke of her work addressing the opioid epidemic, and her work with children both here and in Africa. She spoke to the mothers of the country about her “Be Best” campaign to encourage more civility in online discourse and the concerns they share about the use of social media by their children. And she addressed how her husband’s approach did not please everyone, but – garnering a laugh from the audience – she said, “Whether you like it or not, you always know what he’s thinking.”

Melania also addressed the issues of racial justice confronting the country, and described how she saw the legacy of the slave trade first-hand upon arriving in Ghana.

“It is a harsh reality that we are not proud of parts of our history,” she said, but went on to urge an end to the unrest, saying, “Stop the violence and looting being done in the name of justice.”

It occurred to me that Trump and his re-election campaign would be advised to make greater use of Melania, getting her out front-and-center to help influence hearts and minds. But, of course, most in the media had nothing good to say about her speech, and then another washed-up member of the Hollywood elite, Bette Midler, tweeted, “#beBest is back! A UGE bore! She can speak several words in a few languages. Get that illegal alien off the stage!”

If that wasn’t bad enough, she went on to tweet, “Oh God. She still can’t speak English.”

Well, Miss M – the M surely stands for Moron – how good is your Slovenian? What ignorance. But there must still be some decency left in this country because there was an outpouring of tweets accusing Midler of xenophobia and racism, which of course were appropriate words to categorize the venom contained in her mindless tweets.

The Dems Have Nothing to Say

It seems all the Dems have to offer in response are the kinds of gripes one has come to expect from them. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech, given from Jerusalem where he is on a trip promoting relations in the region, was criticized as a Hatch Act violation. Never mind the substance of what he said, or the demonstrable positive influence he and this Administration has had in the Middle East, in stark contrast to the mess Trump’s and Pompeo’s predecessors helped create.

Further criticisms were offered of Trump’s pardon of Jon Ponder or his overseeing of a naturalization ceremony for five new American citizens. Not to mention – horror of horrors! – his use of the White House and the South Lawn for his acceptance speech and the closing festivities. Never mind that Obama, in eight years, couldn’t manage to achieve criminal justice reform, which Trump has, or deported more people from the country than has Trump.

And of course, the other big criticism: People at the White House events weren’t wearing masks or social distancing. That’s the best they can do. Now remember, their candidate has said he’d shut the country down and require everyone to wear masks, so why would we be surprised? Never mind that the scientific evidence is, at best, mixed whether masks offer any real benefit, and no criticism has been made of rioters not wearing masks. But anything to divide us, and any criticism of Republicans is fair, right?

Note also that the Republican Party paid for the fireworks and other features of the closing ceremonies and no tax dollars were expended on them, but that won’t be enough to stop Nancy Pelosi and her gang from mounting one more expensive and pointless investigation.

But you know what? The Dems have squandered so much of the taxpayers’ money, the nation’s reputation, and our patience, I really don’t give a damn whether Pompeo broke the Hatch Act or whether it was technically proper or not that Trump used the White House as a backdrop during the convention. If the President can stir a bit of patriotic feeling and even a bit of excitement in his activities, I say go at it. The only marvel to me is that he has survived four years of the relentless and feckless and, at base, illegal and treasonous attacks mounted by the Dems and the dogs in their partisan media.

While Biden supporters all breathed a big sigh of relief at the end of their convention that their candidate managed to get through 25 minutes reading off a teleprompter and was greeted by flashing headlights in a Wilmington parking lot, Trump went almost three times as long, 70 minutes, in his acceptance speech, and no one doubted that he could. And then, as Uncle Joe cowered in his basement, Trump was off the next day for a campaign rally in New Hampshire.

But it wasn’t acceptable to the nihilists that one of the two major parties could hold its convention unmolested. After the final refrains from Macchio and the applause had died down, those attending the closing ceremonies at the White House were greeted by taunts, assaults, and death threats from the violent leftists, anarchists, and general morons and useful idiots gathered in the streets outside the White House grounds.

Among those attacked and threatened by the violent mobs were Sen. Rand Paul and his wife, Kelley. Beset by about 100 Black Lives Matter activists – some of which Paul said appeared to have been brought in from outside the area – Paul credited the D.C. police with possibly saving his and his wife’s life.

I truly believe this with every fiber of my being,” Rand said, “had they gotten at us they would have gotten us to the ground, we might not have been killed, might just have been injured by being kicked in the head, or kicked in the stomach until we were senseless.”

The couple finally had to seek protection from the security detail assigned to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to escape the mob. Needless to say, there have been no denunciations of this mob violence on White House guests by Biden or any other Democrat.

This is what the country has come to, and why after two weeks of political blather I am slightly more hopeful that Donald Trump will be re-elected in November and we at least will have a chance, as slim as it might be, of being spared from the abyss.

Featured Image: GOP Elephant and Flag, from latinovations.com, used under Fair Use
Melania Trump: Brendan Smialowski, AFP-Getty Images, used under Fair Use

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