[9/5 early AM - This post and the previous one was selected by C-SPAN for their National Blog Coverage of the RNC.
9/5 late PM - Also, even if JM's speech is old news for you by now (lol) a reader pointed out what I need to: there's stuff in here you may have never read, so check it out.]
If Sarah Palin's night was the night of cowboy hats, John McCain's night was the night of business suits. I couldn't help but wonder if half of Wall Street was present. If so, they must have been as disappointed as I. His economic plan made no mention of failed banks, the housing bubble bust, or the new Great Depression waiting at our door.
Instead, John McCain presented his wish list. His mama was present. Didn't she tell him that Santa Claus doesn't exist?
I suffered through this evening.
McCain's campaign planners kicked off the night by planting subliminal seeds of fear by showing this dreadful film below:
The only nice thing is that whoever uploaded the copy to YouTube began it with MSNBC's Keith Olbermann's strong and visceral reaction to the GOP for having the bad taste to show it.
I viewed it as a tool to train Americans (or to reemphasize) that Iran is our enemy.
It began with 1979 footage. Jimmy Carter was President, and his library site described this event as when "Iranian militants stormed the US Embassy in Tehran and took approximately seventy Americans captive... it lasted 444 days." You can learn more about this here.
I couldn't help but remember McCain's song to the Beach Boys tune, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. He's simpatico with the Bush philosophy of pre-emptive strikes on countries that have not attacked us. That's a hint of what's to come.
As much as he tried to distance himself from the President, he hasn't from that policy which began after September 11th when Bush carpet-bombed the wrong country based on deceiving us, and not involved with the attack on us.
The film quickly moved on to 9/11. It's purpose was to:
1. Invoke powerful and painful memories,
2. Stir up fear that this could happen again, and
3. Promote a feeling of nationalism, rather than humanity.
McCain underscored this much later in his speech when he addressed the many differences he has with Barack Obama. He said something to the effect of, "We'll go at it... but we are fellow Americans and that's an association that means more to me than any other."
But I'm getting ahead of myself. After the film, I began pouring coffee to stay awake and listen to some droll speaker perseverate on the same theme, saying words meant to stir militaristic patriotism like, "Who do you trust to defend yourselves against the haters and defenders of evil?... You can trust John McCain."
Then we got to watch a Sarah Palin public relations video describing her as "mother, moose hunter and pistol-packing VP."
Yo, I can identify with some of that. I'm always hunting for a good chocolate mousse when I dine out with the kids.
Next came Cindy Lou McCain. Girlfriend could have played Cindy Lou Who in the Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
She ain't a public speaker, but I swear, Cindy McCain couldn't have been more sugary or sappy than those Save The Children commercials. On and on she went about her charity work in all the countries with the brown and black complexioned destitute, complete with photos including one of her with Mother Teresa.
I admire her work and adopting a baby in 1991 with a cleft-palate from Bangladesh or India, but not her husband and the GOP exploiting this, like it's some sort of 'proof' that the Republican Party hasn't been the more classist and racist in social justice issues between the two parties.
I viewed it as a move to seduce blacks into the Party, but given the less than a dozen I saw at their convention, they ain't buying it. The GOP has a lot of work to do to stop racial profiling and injustice in the courts before they'll win over significant numbers of black Americans.
Then I suffered through watching the family part of the film. Oh, the stuff they left out! You'd never know by watching it that John McCain had a previous marriage or that Cindy McCain had a sister from her father's previous marriage.
You especially wouldn't know that her WWII war hero father got into a legal jam similar to a lot of black folks.
People who need money often get involved in illegal shit that involves selling drugs. According to Wikipedia and other sources on the Internet, her dad, Jim Hensley, was indicted as a felon for "falsifying liquor records in a conspiracy to conceal illegal distribution of whiskey against post-war rationing regulations."
Doesn't this sound like our modern day version of being a dealer? In 1952 he and his brother bought a race track but had an equal partner who had been banned from ownership for being a bookie. That's like running your own lottery. It was common back then, and I think my own father did this on a small scale but he never admitted to it.
Since the law couldn't control alcohol or bookmaking, they legalized it. Cindy's dad finally got rich when he bought a liquor distributorship, but there's plenty speculation that he had ties with "the mob." He may have. It's damned hard getting rich through strictly honest means.
So why do I bring up Cindy McCain's father's history? Not to disparage him or what he had to do to get a piece of the American pie, but to point out the disparity of how poor minorities doing the same thing are demonized. I write this with the hope that anyone with power, be they a cop, attorney, judge, or lawmaker, will realize this and stop being so punitive toward blacks and Latinos.
It's no stretch of the imagination that if Cindy McCain's father had been black, came back from WWII as war hero but did all these same things, he'd have been locked up a long time and she sure wouldn't have had the great life she has. Remember too, how she got strung out on prescription drugs by stealing them? Had she been black, what would have happened to her? Where would she be now?
Then finally, John McCain gave his speech. He had a cozy manner about him that was appealing. He looked relaxed and well. I wondered if he wrote his own speech, because he didn't miss a single platitude as he rehashed his life story, views on America, and presented his wish list to
"We'll do this, we'll do that, we'll do this, my friends...", on and on ad nauseum.
The crowd roared their pleasure with chants of USA! USA! USA!
He sprinkled in lots of reminders of who our enemies are, and how he "stood up to union bosses".
"WTF?", I thought. He bragged about that? I was frankly stunned when the crowd cheered. Well, I said they were of the suit and tie tribe. If the working class cheered with them, then they are more lost than I thought.
Chris Matthews, the MSNBC reporter said after it ended something to the effect, "The balloons are coming down and it's as though the Republican Party is celebrating it's divorce from George Bush."
I like Chris, but I think that by being there, he got sucked into the excitement of the crowd and McCain's homey tone of voice in his speech. I heard more of the same, and saw sprouting seedlings of something worse than any imagined divorce from the policies of George Bush.
I saw and heard the mindless nationalistic fervor in the crowd that reminds me of the pre-Third Reich.
Democratic Germany was hit brutally by hard economic times. Their population was stirred to identifying enemies and they gave up their liberties - as we have done with the Patriot Act and FISA. Their government and media treated their protesters similar to the way the federal cops outside of the GOP Convention has treated ours.
I hear echos too, of something McCain said in late July at the National Urban League in his plan to address crime, which I more fully addressed in my article, Urban Blacks Will Be Treated Like Insurgents.
McCain said, "We need to do the obvious. We might look to what Rudy Giuliani of NYC did when he became mayor... and some of those tactics very frankly — you mention the war in Iraq — are like we use in the military. You go into neighborhoods, you clamp down, you provide a secure environment for the people that live there, and you make sure that the known criminals are kept under control, and you provide them with a stable environment and then they cooperate with law enforcement, etc."
Germany 'clamped down' too. They succumbed to a virulent form of tribalism that placed Aryans first, and they and their victims lost... lost everything.
I honestly think John McCain is a nice man, but I don't think he has a clue that he's setting us up to value nationalism over humanity, and to repeat history, not just here and now but across the oceans for decades to come.
For this, I am sad.