RNC: Not For Me

WHAT TO MAKE of the Republican National Convention?

My personal highlight reel included Melania’s team, in the time-honored tradition of copying the smart girl’s homework, plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC speech. You might recall at the time that the GOP criticized the First Lady’s remarks as being “socialist.” Later this year, Melania will make her fiction debut with a seafaring novel about a great whale hunt set in the 1800s.

It seems mean to address the lackluster roster of speakers. They couldn’t even get the chair that Clint Eastwood bantered with on stage at the last RNC. Instead, leading the charge against Hillary Clinton was the scraping-the-bottom-of-celebrity-barrel Scott Baio, aka Chachi, who tweeted a picture of Hillary standing in front of banner that read CUNT. Although really, who can blame Chachi for being a misogynist? For years Joanie Cunningham had him whipped.

Also loads of fun: Jerry Falwell, Jr. sharing an anecdote about his father, the disgraced televangelist Jerry Falwell, making a joke about Chelsea Clinton coming to the elder Falwell in a dream to ask him what the three greatest threats were to this country. “He replied, ‘Those three greatest threats are Osama, Obama and yo’ Momma.’”

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Speaking of children following in their father’s footsteps: the roll-out of the Future First Family Trump was spectacular. As VP hopeful Mike Pence reminds us, “You can’t fake great kids.” Over five nights the Trumplets, Donald Jr, Ivanka, Eric, Tiffany, and the baby of the family, Barron (his one child with Melania) would testify about what a great dad The Donald has been. With the exception of Ivanka’s speech, the rest of the kids’ accounts were so banal and broad it was impossible to put your finger on one thing that separated Trump the Father from a textbook description aliens might consult before colonizing Earth. Nothing here that Melania and Barron haven’t already communicated to their alien minders.

The eldest Trump sons were remarkable for possessing all the allure of the serial-killing Kray Brothers. You can’t fake great kids!  In the last few weeks, photos of the the Trump brothers playing Big Game Hunter have surfaced on the internet. (Search now; images are swiftly vanishing.) The boys are shown posing triumphantly with wild animals they have killed—grinning while hoisting up the body of a lifeless leopard, no doubt shot in an empty swimming pool; reclining on a dead water buffalo; using the body of a slaughtered elephant as a foot stool, holding up his severed tail like a trophy. Oh, I do hope they made that into a key chain. Put that tail in Papa’s hand, and you’ve got a great poster.

Ivanka was the convention’s bright light. Apparently Daddy’s Little Girl got all the charm and charisma in the sibling brood. That said, I am mesmerized by Satan-spawn Barron, who is a dead ringer for The Omen’s Damian. (Oh god, am I truly mesmerized?)

Ivanka told the gathered conventioneers, “My father is color blind and gender neutral.” Puzzling. Although that could explain his hair, which appeared glossier, more solidly affixed to his head, and less brassy than usual. Speaking of hair, Ivanka’s was gorgeous. Apparently, judging from the gentle wind blowing through her locks, she has started travelling with the Stevie Nicks’ 2016 Edition portable wind machine. I personally prefer the “Landslide” model but that’s just me.

Given Trump’s confessed sexual attraction for his daughter, and his obvious appreciation for her whipping up the crowd, I should not have been surprised to see him pat her on the ass—in the same way that, after Melania finished her cribbed-from-First-Lady-Michelle Obama speech, Trump indicated his approval with a smug Take-a-Look-This-Girl-is-Mine thumb jab at her breasts.

Trump made a brief attempt—about as long as I imagine sex with Trump would last—to reach out to the LGBTQ community, albeit a one-handed reach (the other was holding his nose). His pronunciation of L-G-B-T-Q was so careful, you’d think he was afraid of the word touching his lips.

No word yet on whether or not Trump supports his VP Mike Pence’s passion for gay conversion therapy. It is curious, Pence rails against homosexuality with such passion, I have to wonder if he doth protest too much. After all, male escorts in Cleveland reportedly made money hand over fist during the RNC convention. The majority of Republicans looking for gigolo action were, of course, married men. Was anybody tailing Pence?

I didn’t see the Pences getting down at the convention, but as a white person, watching the Wonder-Bread-white delegates “dance,” clapping on the 1 and 3, I felt deeply embarrassed for them. When the delegates weren’t clapping their hands and hooting like they were at a barn dance they were also “cheering,” but not in chorus. If anything, their collective inability to settle on a theme to chant was just a reflection of how un-united they are. Most often they seemed to just be yelling random words, USA! Corn! Twelve! Bingo!

Once or twice the crowd of 99.9% whites feebly chanted ALL LIVES MATTER, although it’s totally possible they were saying All lies matter.

The one message that the GOP did broadcast in unison was that they hate Hillary Clinton. Not hate like you hate spinach, but HATE. Trumpeting gleefully time and again the familiar Lock her Up!  Surprisingly, the mob’s attempts to pull off “H is for Hypocrisy!” were unsuccessful. I thought they’d all be very familiar with that word (see GOPers spending mad money to watch gigolos boff their wives) While no one echoed the message of Trump advisor Al Baldasaro, a New Hampshire representative and military man, that Hillary deserves to be executed—“put in the firing line and shot for treason”—but probably because “execute” is beyond them. However they did scoop up loads of merch at the convention, including teach shirts emblazoned with “Bitch” and “Tramp.”

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Much was made of Jon Voigt’s narration of the Pump-Up-The-Troops Trump biopic, but that’s because the content was so lame. Were we giving this speech a grade—let’s say at the fourth grade level—it would be a C-. You can bet that Trump never helped his kids with their homework. It was wiser to pay someone to simply do it for them.

Finally the Donald appeared. For 76 minutes Donald Trump held America hostage. I for one began whimpering around the half-hour mark. How long can one listen to the ravings of madman who sees the world as a dystopia overrun with marauding packs of illegal immigrants tipping over trash cans and stealing jobs from Americans?

Can someone please, please, please send up the Bat Signal and get word to Batman that America is under attack?

To be clear: if anyone is stealing jobs from Americans, it is the child laborers in China making three cents an hour sewing Donald Trump menswear. Trump seems to think that the louder and louder he speaks, the truer his lies become.

(Side note: I do not want to hear one word about Hillary Clinton yelling. Not one word.)

Trump was full of bullshit—most notably his claims that the economy is in worst shape since the Great Depression. When Dubya drove the economy into a ditch like a drunken frat boy we were in serious trouble, but Obama’s pulled us out of that ditch.

Trump’s message of “Americanism not Globalism…” and his promise that “the American people will come first once again” was scary, just scary, and cause for dropping one’s head in one’s hand. Not only did I want to apologize to the entire world, but assure them that we are doing out best to stop him. Oh and if Trump is elected you will definitely want to start planning that Disneyland vacation now, because Americans aren’t going to welcome anywhere else on earth. It got worse, with Trump bellowing that he and the GOP “are one in our belief …” committed to “being one…,” which can only be read as, “All of us white people believe that we alone should rule.”

There’s more of course…lots more. Trump hates people of color, women, the environment…on and on.

I prefer to end with a focus on something great that happened last night. A protestor from CODE PINK disrupted the proceedings. CODE PINK is a grass-roots women led organization dedicated to ending U.S. wars and militarism and working for peace and human rights, committed and redirecting tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs. Seeing that woman fighting to unfurl her banner while security struggled to throw her out did my heart good. It also reminded me that even one dedicated person can make a difference. Me, today I’m donating to CODE PINK. Tomorrow, who knows.

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Elissa Schappell

About Elissa Schappell

Elissa Schappell is the author of the short story collections Blueprints for Building Better Girls and Use Me. A former senior editor of The Paris Review, she is the co-founder and editor-at-large of Tin House magazine. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.
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One Response to RNC: Not For Me

  1. Belle says:

    The Republicans have the nominee they deserve and it is going to be great to see them lose in November. I can’t watch conventions; they make me cringe. I read about them instead, which is much more enjoyable.

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