America’s dark side was on flagrant display during the opening day of the Republican Party’s convention. Nothing was off limits. Not the tasteless exploitation of a bereaved – and misinformed – mother’s grief, not a grotesque demand to abandon civilized rules of engagement in battling America’s enemies, not the most outrageous lies.
Incited by a motley crew bearing false witness against President Obama and Hillary Clinton, the mob chanted and screamed for their blood like rain-forest dwellers in a B movie seeking vengeance on a neighboring tribe. All pretense of civilized behavior was abandoned.
As I watched the televised display, it occurred to me that the November election will present a choice between centuries of human progress and a retreat to the ways of the jungle.
Pundits used the word “raw” over and over to describe the spectacle. And raw it was. Primitive. Unschooled. Intemperate. Over the top. Way over the top.
I cannot imagine anyone being persuaded to vote one way or another by the obvious fabrications and familiar conspiracy theories aired at the convention- the Benghazi myth, for example, which has been debunked by so many investigations and hearings.
And I cannot believe informed Americans would want Hillary sent to prison for using the wrong computer. The persistent chants of “lock her up, lock her up” seemed utterly bizarre to me.
My resolve to vote for Hillary was not just unshaken but reinforced. My disdain and loathing for Donald Trump and his party were magnified.
I imagine that the tawdry show fired up the aptly named “base” of the Republican Party, especially the “poorly educated white males” identified as Trump’s core support.
But for me, it was just one more warning against the horrors that a victory by Trump’s party would inflict upon America – and the world.