The Schizophrenic Anti-reality Convention

Schizophrenia is characterized by disconnect between aspects of one’s personality; between reality and what’s in one’s brain.

Today’s Republican party, the Trump cult, is centered on white nationalism and nativism, on full display at its convention. Yet part of its brain knows how nasty this is. Dissonant to its desire to present a more positive image.

So they put on the screen just about every black face they could muster, telling us — with straight faces — how they’re all about equal opportunity for all, racial reconciliation, and suchlike warm and fuzzy bilge. Enabling Trumpsters to feel they’re not racist. While schizophrenically contradicting it with the symbolism of presenting the St. Louis couple arrested for pointing guns at Black Lives Matter marchers. Not a racist dog whistle, but a bullhorn. Honoring these lawbreakers while schizophrenically posturing as the law-and-order party.

Meantime Nikki Haley spoke proudly of how, as South Carolina’s governor, she had removed from its capitol a “divisive symbol.” A good courageous thing. But her courage didn’t extend to actually naming that “divisive symbol” — the Confederate flag. Knowing Republicans love it, precisely because of its symbolism that made her remove it in South Carolina. Thus in a single sentence Haley was totally schizophrenic.

While Donald Junior had no compunction endorsing retention of “Confederate” monuments. He and Nikki ought to have a debate.

They kept saying fetuses have a right-to-life. But not, apparently, the thousands of actually living children ripped from mothers’ arms and put in cages, many never to be reunited.

The most bizarre schizophrenic moment was Trump’s swearing in new citizens. As if he and his cult love immigration. As if hatred for immigrants and refugees, wanting to keep them out, were not a key Republican raison d’être. Trump’s citizenship ceremony sure was feel-good imagery. As long as you overlook his administration’s having virtually shut down the entire immigration system and slammed the door on refugees and asylum seekers. In fact it has even halted citizenship ceremonies — like the one he held — for immigrants who’ve already completed the whole rest of the process. Thus denying hundreds of thousands the right to vote in November.

Meantime Melania told us, again with a straight face, of her efforts against bullying, while one egregious bully looked on grinning. She also said we deserve honesty from a president! Well, many love that Trump “speaks his mind.” Unfortunately his mind is a cesspit of vile lies.

They even had the brass to throw the word “nepotism” against Democrats — in this convention where practically every other speaker was named Trump, and his son-in-law is his minister-for-everything.

The Democratic convention wasn’t perfect, but I was uplifted and inspired because its uplifting and inspirational quality was fundamentally authentic. It accorded with reality. You know, actual reality, out there, in the real world. (Or maybe you watch Fox.)

In contrast the Trump convention’s attempt at uplift and inspiration was a fraud. Because it flouted reality — the reality of this president, what he’s done, and what his administration truly represents. They solemnly invoke the American ideals and values they actually trample, making a mockery of them.

The relentless bogeyman portrayal of Biden was just preposterous. As if this most moderate of centrists is somehow fronting for wild-eyed socialists and aims to end freedom of speech. How many times did they say he wants to “defund the police?” Which he has repeatedly and explicitly made clear he opposes. (While in fact the Trump administration has cut money for policing.)

And how often did they say Biden wants to end the Second Amendment? That would require ratification by 38 states — impossible. Of course Biden doesn’t propose it. Nor “taking away guns.” What he does favor are reasonable measures like background checks and controls on the most murderous people-killing weapons, no-brainer reforms which are compatible with the Second Amendment, and which most Americans endorse. If Republicans want to debate these things, fine. But they don’t. They just want to scare people with lies.

Their main scare is saying America is “engulfed” in out-of-control “mob” (read: black) violence. Promising “we will have law and order.” You might think Trump is running against the administration responsible for what he attacks. Saying “this will be Biden’s America” as if Trump is not in charge right now.

But of course he takes no responsibility; while enflaming the animosities we’re seeing, throwing divisive racist bombs. He obviously wants more violence, to help him politically. Certainly threw fuel on the fire in Portland. So is Trump suddenly the right guy to calm things down and bring peace to our polarized society? And listening to Republicans you’d never guess that blacks’ treatment by police has anything to do with the unrest. No mention of cops who murdered George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and so many others. How about some law and order there?

Meantime, does the Republicans’ dystopian picture bear any resemblance to reality? We’ve had overwhelmingly peaceful protests. True, with a few isolated instances of unjustifiable violence. But at least 99.9% of Americans have experienced nothing of the kind. The “American carnage” picture Trump so darkly paints is absurd. And to claim Biden sanctions or encourages violence? “No one will be safe in Joe Biden’s America?” This nonsense insults our intelligence.

During the convention, protests in Kenosha followed police shooting an unarmed black man seven times in the back. Then two protesters were killed by a 17-year-old white Trump fan with a huge gun. When he tried to surrender to police, they passed him by — to go after protesters. Trump has defended him. “Law and order” Republican style? In that America no one is safe.

And Trump’s whole show was itself a flagrant violation of law: the federal Hatch Act prohibiting use of government property and personnel for partisan political purposes. Turning “the people’s house” into the Republicans’ house. Even literally putting Trump’s name in fireworks above the Washington Monument. He desecrates everything. I’ll never be able to look at that monument again with the same reverence.

No previous president has come close to so blatantly flouting the law, and basic ethics, with an extravaganza so expressly partisan on federal property. Such ruler glorification is what dictatorships do.*

And while Republicans hammer about violence in the streets, which has actually killed very few, Trump blew it in protecting us against the virus that has killed 183,000 so far. The convention’s biggest lie was a lie of omission — almost total refusal to acknowledge this gravest crisis facing America in modern times. The convention took place mostly in an alternate universe where time stopped in February. The keynote events, packing in people closely together with no masks, were saying, “Virus? What virus?” Some attendees will likely die (like Herman Cain after attending, maskless, Trump’s Tulsa super spreader).

While, on those rare occasions where the pandemic was mentioned, it was to tell us Trump did a tremendous job. Lying about numbers to deny that America’s are among the world’s worst. In the real world, the one we actually inhabit, the consequences of Trump’s deranged incompetence every one of us confronts every day.

Trump said Biden’s covid plan would crush our economy. As if it wasn’t in fact already crushed by Trump’s own covid response. So brainless that despite the economic pain it didn’t get the virus under control. Biden recognizes that as long as covid isn’t seriously tackled, our economy will stay crippled.

Listening to Trump’s speech, as a lifelong Republican, at many points I’d have applauded — if I didn’t know the reality. Republicans wouldn’t need to lie so much if they had a halfway plausible story to tell. But bankrupt of true achievement, and of morality, the only story they can tell is fake.

America is broken in many ways. Last time Trump said “Only I can fix it.” It should be glaringly obvious by now that he’s totally the wrong man for the job, making things much much worse. Especially deepening our divisions. Only we can fix it.

If you still support Trump, it’s your right. But at least be honest about why. Face up to the reality. Don’t hide behind a wall of lies.

Trump’s often called a “reality TV star.” But his real talent is in the unreality department. I am proud to support a true reality star — a man of decency, dignity, integrity, truthfulness, human feeling, caring about people other than himself, a genuine public-spirited patriot who really wants the best for this country rather than just to gratify a sick ego. That’s Joe Biden’s reality. Real reality.

* Making a citizenship ceremony a partisan show was an especially egregious violation of legal and ethical norms. Republicans don’t care.

2 Responses to “The Schizophrenic Anti-reality Convention”

  1. Doug Weston-Kolarik Says:

    What a shame. I am not a Trump supporter at all. But this..this gasping for breath attempt at attacking every aspect of the Republican Convention…well it left me feeling sorry for a writer who seems anxious and so paranoid of what just might happen again: A Trump victory in November.

    Doug Weston-Kolarik LISW, PhD

    On Mon, Aug 31, 2020, 7:02 PM The Rational Optimist wrote:

    > rationaloptimist posted: “Schizophrenia is characterized by disconnect > between aspects of one’s personality; between reality and what’s in one’s > brain. Today’s Republican party, the Trump cult, is centered on white > nationalism and nativism, on full display at its convention. Ye” >

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Keep telling it like it is, Frank. The people who defend Trump just don’t care, or don’t want to know, about all the corrupt, immoral and illegal behaviors of our current POTUS.

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