For this party the Civil War did not end, it has simply been on recess. Had we not witnessed it, we would probably find it all difficult to believe.
Republicans blew through Tampa Florida this week for their presidential nominating convention and left a trail of ugly on the Gulf Coast. They disrespected one of their own - a Puerto Rican woman
- by bursting into a ‘USA, USA’ chant as she tried to conduct convention business from the podium. They also engaged in some good old fashioned racist heckling
of a Black cable news network camerawoman.
Their primary speakers – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Bush National Security advisor and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan and the nominee Mitt Romney – engaged in rhetorical malpractice. Lying was so ingrained in this convention
, and is the glue that holds this ticket together. The official mascot for the GOP should be comic John Lovitz’ pathological liar character Tommy Flanagan from Saturday Night Live.
It is one thing to engage in a tough political battle. Voters expect and deserve that in a nation that casts itself as the beacon of democracy in the world. It is quite another to willfully lie, purposely deceive and appeal to the worst character flaws of our nation by purposely reviving hateful and racist imagery
– illegal immigrants, welfare queens, and lazy African-Americans – to appeal to a corner of their party that longingly imagines a nation where Richmond, Virginia is the federal capital. To hear Mitt Romney speak of the need for an “American” to do the “really big stuff” is a bit of self-righteous flag waving that can only come from the mouth of a privileged, White male who neither is aware of history nor particularly invested in educating himself to the truth. Romney is not ignorant or clueless in this regard. He simply could not give a damn; he never has had to and sees no point in changing course at this point in his well-padded life.
This week Republicans did their best to cast God as a member of their team and spent considerable time alluding to faith. The irony is that while many Americans have questions regarding the tenets of the Mormon faith; few, except those who are burdened by hate, question the belief of Mr. Romney in the Creator. Yet embedded in the speeches we heard this week in Tampa, were malicious asides that were meant to raise suspicions regarding President Obama’s faith while subtly raising the specter of Islam by suggesting that the nation is not safe under this President’s watch. This isn’t politics – it is pure evil. To stand before the world and claim to be aligned with God and promote policies that crush the “least of these” is an offense that we cannot judge, but we know someone who can and will.
This Republican Party is an all-White affair. No effort by the GOP to sprinkle the crowd with a few Black and Brown faces, trot out a self-serving and defeated former Democratic African-American member of Congress, or play to Americans' emotions by having a gospel music icon sing a patriotic song can blind voters to the fact that the GOP has shut the door on our community. The party’s rhetoric in Tampa smacks of desperation on their part. The demographics of the nation, and population trends, suggest this is the last stand. Just look at the Republicans’ efforts to restrict voting rights
and limit immigration, willingness to gut programs that help the poor, and its hysterical opposition to expanding health care for the poor and working class. Despite all of the flaws of the Republican ticket this race remains close as the GOP plays upon the fears of some and the racism
No matter how poorly conceived the Romney-Ryan ticket, Americans are clearly engaged in a battle where money could alter the outcome and the speed with which technology allows lies to spread influence the behavior of voters who carry no partisan preference
but are simply looking for help. The Republicans only path to victory is by exploiting desperation and we can ill afford to let that happen.