Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Some thoughts on Day 1 of the GOP convention. The weaponization of grief.

The drama of opening day (Monday) afternoon was the floor fight -- or rather that attempted insurrection that was quickly squelched by the power of the presiding chair -- over the rules.   All it finally boiled down to was some states demanding that they have a roll call vote on adopting the recommended rules.   They knew they had already lost the attempt to unbind the delegates and let them vote their conscience.   But they wanted the votes to be recorded.

Instead, the presiding chair (I don't know who it was) called for a voice vote, declared that the "ayes" had it (despite a loud chorus of "nos") -- and that was that.   Old fashioned, rigged system -- only now it was rigged in favor of the insurgent candidate, Trump, who complained about the system being rigged against him.

As to the evening speeches, I did what I usually do -- recorded it all so I could fast-forward to selected parts.   So I did watch Melania's speech and was actually pleasantly surprised -- not by the speech itself, which was a boring pastiche of cliches about "my husband" and what he wants for the country, but by her style.

What was positive, for me, was seeing that she can make a public speech with grace and charm and not look cheap.    On the other hand, you'd not mistake her for the "every-woman" who can relate to the common people, unless they are servants at Mar-a-Lago and she can be the gracious lady.

On substance, for the gullible, it played well;   but for us cynics, it had such little relation to truth about Trump as to be hard to listen to.  And that was before I knew about the plagiarizing of Michelle Obama's convention speech in 2008.    I thought she was trying to channel Jackie Kennedy by her look and demeanor.

I did not listen to Rudi Guiliani, whom I cannot abide even for one minute, but I read that he kind of "went wild" (as he is wont to do) in damning HRC.    So for me the worst of the evening -- because it was so effective and so manipulative -- was the mother of the son who was killed in Benghazi.   "I blame Hillary Clinton personally for my son's death.   She should be in prison."    Her pain and grief were so raw and so palpable, and the cameras panned over the faces of numerous people in tears.

It was spellbinding and awful at the same time.  It's hard not to feel for her grief.   But, as several MBNBC commentors said, this was very wrong for the GOP to use a mother's grief to manipulate people's emotions based on assertions that have proven to be untrue by eight different investigations.   Even a Republican strategist agreed, calling it the "weaponization of grief."


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