Good Monday morning to all, and here’s hoping we’ll get a short breather this week before the political ads start running close on the heels of the party conventions.
The Republic National Convention wrapped up Thursday night with President Donald Trump accepting his party’s re-nomination from the south lawn of the White House.
True to my word as I wrote last week, I did not watch any of the television coverage of the GOP event, just as I had not watched any of the DNC.
I should mention that Williamson County’s and Brentwood’s own Senator Marsha Blackburn was a featured speaker Wednesday night. Whether you are a supporter or not, it’s gratifying to see one of our neighbors take the national stage.
From the recaps I read, two things stand out from the four nights the Republicans made their case for why they should retain the presidency.
I’ll talk about the last one first, which would be President Trump accepting the nomination from the lawn of the White House. As the residence of the sitting president, it was convenient for him to simply step outside and accept his party’s nomination.
But we all know it was about much more than that. The White House, adorned with American flags, was converted into a backdrop for the final event of the GOP meeting, something that usually takes place in a convention hall with throngs of cheering and adoring party faithful looking on.
This time, with the conventions being mostly virtual, both Joe Biden’s and Donald Trump’s acceptance speeches occurred elsewhere. Advantage Trump, making his speech in front of a national icon. You couldn’t beat the optics.
And while using an American site like the White House to conclude a partisan event might rankle a bit, it was the audience on said lawn that brings the most cause for concern.
Some 1,500 people, mostly unmasked and non-distanced, sat and listened to the president’s speech.
States, counties and municipalities across the country continue to grapple with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with many having temporary mandates in place for masking and social distancing. Many businesses that depend on public patronage remain under strict restrictions and still struggle.
Here in Williamson County and in the city of Nashville, we are required to wear masks wherever we go and to distance from each other.
Did it occur to anyone in the Republican party to question how the crowd at the White House might look to those of us who are still following the mandates and restrictions? You know, that “We’re all in this together” thing?
Adhering to the restrictive measures yields results, but there is still much to do before a vaccine is finally introduced and we can begin to put this dark time behind us.
But on the lawn of the White House last week, except for the smattering of masks in the crowd, one would have hardly known anything about a pandemic.
So there was that.
It was earlier in the week, however, when perhaps the most offensive action, which was outside the convention itself, occurred.
While First Lady Melania Trump, a Slovenian immigrant, spoke Tuesday night from the White House Rose Garden, popular singer-songwriter Bette Midler posted these statements on Twitter:
“Oh God. She still can’t speak English.”
“A UGE bore! She can speak several words in a few languages. Get that illegal alien off the stage!”
Do I even need to address the utter hypocrisy, the double standard or the cruelty, from a representative of the party of tolerance and acceptance that denounces Donald Trump’s every move and utterance regarding immigration?
You might say Bette doesn’t represent the Democratic party, but sorry, that falls short. The Dems love nothing more than to haul out Hollywood celebrities to stump for their candidates.
Every Democrat of significance, from Joe Biden down, should have immediately denounced the statements and put about 100,000 miles between themselves and the offending remarks from this smart-mouthed performer.
I dare say if anyone remotely related to the GOP had done anything similar, the Dems would have been conducting an organized collective tirade about xenophobia.
A few left-wing folks from media outlets chimed in, as they should have, but the mostly silent response from the Democrats was noticeable. And inexcusable.
Yes, there was plenty to offend from both sides over the past two weeks, which leaves me with the same question I had, oh, about four years ago:
What’s an independent voter (like me) to do?
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected].