Every four years I turn back to The Glory And The Dream by William Manchester. (I first read it in high school and it just brings back some homey memories and so it falls open late at night each presidential season since those days in Hancock.) The Bonus Army starts off the two volume narrative of our American story and in 84 pages President Roosevelt is inspiring the nation to have faith in the future. Had the story not ended in the 1970’s Manchester would have added the “city on the hill” language from Ronald Reagan. From the start of our nation when the Founding Fathers gave the ideals of the ages to our constitutional democracy we have always looked up and out and towards the future. With hope. And light.
Then came the Republican National Convention this past week and it showed what the opposite view of our national story looks like. Dreadfully sad.
Donald Trump’s convention’s was dark throughout the week but turned even more so Thursday night when he painted a picture of our nation in decline and at war, both abroad and at home. Over the course of the week speaker after speaker highlighted death and destruction and economic malaise. That the entire convention was designed to produce fear and alarm among the less educated in the nation should not be a surprise. That is, after all, the way Trump ran his campaign throughout the entire primary season.
What a stark image from those Americans who have come before in times of war or economic upheavals. In the past would-be leaders exhorted us to our better angels and reminded us that together we could prevail over the times that tried to bring us down.
Trump is the dark force of human nature who seeks instead to lash out, play to our fears, and reject a unified way to a better land. My reading of Manchester’s book–and the larger story of this nation–tells me that we are unique and highly capable of overcoming the ones who seek to separate us. We stop and listen for a while to the loudest ones who shout and appeal for us to follow them, but then we stop and reflect and find the best path is to grab the hand of our fellow citizen and work as one.
History shows that the likes of Huey Long, Joe McCarthy, and Benjamin Tillman (to name but three) wind up being despised. Trump by his actions and words will be added to that list. After each unseemly attempt to steer the nation from our anchored place of democracy the people have always turned away and found the words and actions of our ancestors more worthy of our attention.
So it shall be again this year.
What a treat it was each night this week to turn to Stephen Colbert to put the comedy into politics. He will do the same next week as the Democrats take their turn at nominating their candidate.
This week we got a glimpse of the election-season comedy that might have been. Last night, Colbert gave his desk at the “Late Show” over to Stewart, his former mentor, for a ten-minute, “Daily Show”-style monologue that ridiculed the just-completed Republican National Convention. Stewart, looking a bit feral in a gray T-shirt (over which Colbert tossed a suit jacket and clipped on a tie), delivered the kind of profanely comforting sermon that had helped many liberals sleep better at night through the George W. Bush Administration and a Republican Congress’s obstruction of Barack Obama. Stewart pointed out that Fox News, after spending the past eight years calling Obama a “thin-skinned narcissist with no government experience,” had eagerly embraced Trump, a candidate who embodies those qualities. He also said, “Those fighting to be included in the ideal of equality are not being divisive. Those fighting to keep those people out are.” Toward the end of Stewart’s remarks, as he veered toward a word that you can’t say on network TV, Colbert popped up from behind the desk to cut him off with an air horn. Colbert embraced his old pal and, having just wedged a block of unreservedly ideological commentary into a mainstream late-night show, looked as energized as he has since the first days of his CBS gig.
In the days that followed, one guest after another came on Colbert’s show to savage Trump. Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, dismissed him as “lazy” and explained why he’d joined the #NeverTrump movement. The comedian Lewis Black said that he’d rather clean a latrine than attend the Republican Convention. The Broadway actress Laura Benanti opened Tuesday’s show with a scathingly funny impersonation of Melania Trump, pushing back against charges of plagiarism by giving a speech peppered with quotes from Dr. Seuss, famous ad jingles, and lines from the movie “Braveheart.” Last night, after Stewart’s appearance, Colbert spent two segments talking to the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, in what felt like the official Democratic response to Trump’s acceptance speech. (Warren said that Trump sounded like a “two-bit dictator,” and added, “I think it was the nastiest, most divisive Convention we’ve seen in half a century.”) This week’s shows offered themselves as an antidote to the Convention itself, and the crowds at the Ed Sullivan Theatre received them with glee. On last night’s show, in an extended critique of Trump’s just-finished speech, Colbert didn’t simply make fun of Trump’s orange skin or ornate hair—the standard late-night targets. Instead, he called the Convention a collection of “hastily assembled lies” and said that it had answered the question “What if Frankenstein’s monster was in charge of the angry mob?”
It was the ticket I hoped to have the chance to vote for in November. Late today Hillary Clinton selected Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia as her running mate. I am very pleased!
The other top choices fro V.P. were solid individuals with strong records. But Kaine was just so much more talented in all the areas that one desires for a vice-presidential pick.
The nation needs someone who is able to take over–God forbid–if it were necessary. Kaine has a wide-ranging background as mayor, governor, and now senator which allows him to serve many ways as a V.P.
I like that he is a moderate which allows for independents to know they have a solid Democratic ticket to vote for in November. Kaine is very bright, low key, and will jell with those who want proven leadership and a resume of success to serve in the White House.
He was born in the Midwest, is fluent in Spanish, and has proven to be able to win a key Southern swing state. In fact, many electoral vote maps have Democrats winning Virginia and in so doing be able to lose Ohio and Florida, carry the other swing states from 2012, and still win the White House. Kaine is central to a winning political strategy.
I like the fact he is pro-trade and brings a reasonable and wide world-view with him on foreign policy.
From policy credentials to political strength Tim Kaine is a remarkable pick!
Two thumbs up!
Donald Trump’s acceptance speech from the Republican National Convention was simply one of the most angry and dreadful acceptance speeches in modern American history. Worse still it was seriously flawed when it came to the ‘fact’s Trump used.
FALSE: “The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 percent compared to this point last year.”
This statistic apparently comes from an outdated, poorly worded USA Today headline. But according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, on-duty deaths of police officers are actually down 1 percent in 2016 compared to the same point in 2015
FALSE: “Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore.”
Trump is referring to research that found a 17 percent increase in homicides in large US cities, including alarming spikes in Washington, DC, and Baltimore. For DC, that sharp increase came between 2014 and 2015 — so far in 2016, murder is down 9 percent.
FALSE: “Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement”
Nationwide, violent crime is actually at its lowest point since 1970, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics, and the number is steadily declining.
I just want to add that Crime has indeed plummeted for decades. The murder rate, for example, fell by more than half from a peak in 1980 (10.2 per 100,000 people) to a decade low in 2014 (4.5 per 100,000 people).
There’s simply no evidence that a federal “rollback of criminal enforcement” has led to a reversal of those trends. The murder rate was at historic lows in 2014, and there aren’t full nationwide statistics for all of 2015 or even part of 2016 yet.
FALSE: “In 2009, pre-Hillary, ISIS was not even on the map”
The terrorist group, which has roots going as far back as 2004, renamed itself to the Islamic State of Iraq in 2006. The extremist organization was established by Sunni terrorist Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, according to the National Counterterrorism Center.
FALSE: “Libya was stable. Egypt was peaceful.”
Libya’s relationship with the United States has been tense for the last 35 years, despite a May 2006 attempt at diplomacy from the Bush administration. The nation claimed responsibility for a 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, killing 270 people. Even after the opening of diplomacy between the U.S. and Libya in 2006, the relationship remained in turmoil, according to a 2011 Congressional report.
Egypt was anything but peaceful in the years leading up to 2009, with the nation having consistently violated human rights for decades. The country had been involved in multiple political assassinations, kidnappings, cases of torture and violent protests for several years, the U.S. Department of State reported in 2010.
FALSE: “America is one of the highest-taxed nations in the world”
Not even close. On a list of 34 nations by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United States doesn’t even crack the top 30. The only countries that have lower taxes than the U.S. are South Korea and Chile. Countries like Denmark, Belgium and France are taxed almost twice as much as the U.S.
FALSE: “Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons”
The Iran Deal signed by the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany was literally written to suspend Iran’s nuclear program for a decade.
FALSE: “Our trade deficit in goods reached — think of this — our trade deficit is $800 billion last year alone.”
This is just false. The manufacturing trade deficit is large, but it was $681 billion in 2015, not “nearly $800 billion.”
Those were just the claims that Trump presented as facts. In other parts of the speech, he also makes lofty promises like guaranteeing an end to all crime if he’s in the White House. Does that mean he will place this country under martial law?
Recall the old days of conventions past when all the elected ones wanted to be on the stage with the nominee for the balloon drop. Tonight it was the Trump family and the Pence family. A real statement about the state of the GOP tonight.
Trump’s youngest son looks so sad and forlorn all through the final night of the convention. No joy on his face from the main stage as the balloons drop.
Is Trump implying martial law will be imposed in the nation if he is elected? Over and over he makes statements that seems to imply law and order will be brought to the country but since he can not make the changes “on day one” except by using force—so the question must be asked. Martial Law?
Thy most hate-filled, racist, fear-based, and angry acceptance speech from any nominee in my lifetime. I predict this does not sell to the average voter who wants some ideas where we are headed–(no policy ideas are being put forth by Trump–only rants). This is a huge stinking pile of horse-rot that is aimed at angry white men.