Hate By The Lake: The Republican National Convention 2016   Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been called a dumpster fire behind a restaurant. The kitchen might remain open, but you really have to question who is going to eat there.  In Cleveland, America discovered that answer, a bunch of angry white men and D-level celebrities that resembled a crowd at a ABBA tribute band concert who are terrified of African-Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, refugees, women, homosexuals, transsexuals, the Zika virus, political correctness, the four female Ghostbusters, and three-legged black cats, but mostly Hillary Clinton. If they could have brought in the house that fell on her sister, I am pretty sure they would have. I am not sure what she did to inspire such fear. It probably involves forcing men to sit down when using the bathroom. I don’t know.   I do know the four burning questions on everybody’s mind. One, how packed were the gay bars in Cleveland with closeted Republicans? Second, how many times could the television cameras do a close up of an African-American or a Latino in the crowd before viewers realized they were the same two gentlemen? Third, how badly would the racial stereotype of white people’s inability to dance or have any rhythm be reinforced by the delegates as they danced to canned music over the loud speakers? Fourth, and finally, could the man-child Donald Trump be kept under control? Remember, just because you can put a diaper on a monkey does not mean that he is potty trained.    For the most part national political conventions are well-meaning four-night infomercials for the parties, but hosted by the “Ken and Barbie-like” brownnosers  you hated back in high school. Speeches are vetted. Everyone tries to use their best table manners. Touching stories are told of the candidate, some of which might even be true. Cute children are paraded out to show that the presidential candidate is human. Balloons are dropped. There is a slight bump in the polls until the other party has its convention, where America discovers the other candidate does not eat newborn children for breakfast and everything goes back to normal.    The Republican Convention was also special because it was also the first Trump four-day infomercial. Our potentially future first family was decked out in Trump ties ($65), Trump dress shirts ($75), Trump watches, and Trump cuff links. Ivanka wore a beautiful white frock from her clothing line that you can wear too for just $158. All made in China, because Donald Trump is all about making America great one piece of clothing at a time. The only thing missing were cut away shots of the Trump family, who reminded me of the Von Trapp family from The Sound of Music.  The Von Trapps if the Von Trapps had remained in Germany eating delicious Trump steaks, $199 to $999, depending on the cut.    There can be moments of brilliance at political conventions like John Kennedy’s “New Frontier,” Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” George H.W. Bush’s “1,000 Points of Light,” Mario Cuomo’s last gasp of real liberalism in his “Tale of Two Cities,” or William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech.   This convention will probably be remembered, if at all, for Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s speech from 2008, which was completely forgivable to me. It is hard enough learning to blink out in Morse code like a downed air force pilot, “I am prisoner. Have to lie underneath shaved orangutan that looks like Dr. Zaius every night to survive. Please don’t send me back to Slovenia,” let alone having to write an entire speech on her own. Although, it is bothersome that someone felt the need to plagiarize part of a speech on why they love their husband. It is kind of like giving your wife a bouquet of flowers from a funeral. It did not show the closest of relationships.   Maybe that is what bothered me about her speech, as well as the kids’ speeches. They offered almost no insights that warmed someone listening to the man. Oh, don’t get me wrong. They are a wonderful-looking family. Blonde, skinny, perfectly dressed and groomed. They are a real credit to the undocumented nannies that raised them.  (Except for the older two “big-game-hunting” boys. They might be awesome at killing elephants and giraffes, but that is not hunting. They are just a couple of self-centered jackasses trying to overcome the small hands they inherited from their dad.)   Still, there were almost no “I remember when dad took me fishing” stories, no “Donald did the cutest thing when we were first dating” tales, or “Dad, used to read to us at bedtime” yarns. Even Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, made up stories of them being so poor they had to eat off an ironing board in college, which made the audience realize that even robots are people too and things are not going to go to hell if somehow he becomes president.   Much like his taxes, there is something in Donald Trump. He is terrified for the world to see it. It probably involves his fragile ego, or maybe his children and wife just don’t know him that well. I don’t know. If we are going to put The Donald’s small finger on the nuclear button, I would like just a little bit more than he is going to make the trains run on time. By the way, if he is going to continue to give “I am the strong man America needs” speeches, someone needs to work with him on trying not to mug like Benito Mussolini.   The 2016 RNC will probably be remembered for Melania’s plagiarism or the surreal political theatre of Senator Ted Cruz’s speech, which turned into some eerie American version of a third-world Communism show trial, complete with the country’s dictator appearing out of nowhere storming the docks to shut things down.   Some people claim it was a planned moment. I don’t think you plan that kind of strangeness. I think it was more a case of the B or C, more likely D team running a convention for the first time and not doing due diligence.  There are basically three firm rules in life.  One, you don’t play “I got your nose” at a leper colony.  Two, there is no happy story that ends with the words “and that is how I meet Jerry Sandusky.” Finally, you don’t invite to speak at your convention the guy whose father your candidate implied helped kill President Kennedy.   I know Jesus said something about forgiving seven times seventy, but I am pretty sure that won’t be happening for Ted Cruz. Cruz wanted to set himself up as the go- to guy in 2020 and have a Ronald Reagan in 1976 convention moment.  If Cruz had shoved a knife in The Donald, who could blame him? Welcome to the Thunderdome. Newt Gringrich tried to be the peacemaker between the two. Take a moment and think about that.   What the 2016 Republican Convention should be remembered for is what not to teach your children. You don’t lie. Don’t be mean. Don’t take advantage of someone who is unhinged with grief over the loss of a child. Share. Always see the positive. Don’t call names. You can’t build yourself up by tearing someone else down. When you are yelling and screaming, sometimes a nap is in order. Nobody likes a bully. Might does not make right. Play well with others, especially if they do not look like you. Even little kids know that.   Pat Buchannan’s culture wars speech at the Republican convention in 1992 lasted roughly thirty-five minutes. Its negativity and hostility outraged viewers and might have hurt George H.W. Bush at the polls that year and is still remembered a quarter of a century later. It would have been considered tame at this year’s convention. I would like to think the American people have not changed, but looking at the attendees in Cleveland, I am probably wrong.   
Hate By The Lake: The Republican National Convention 2016   Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been called a dumpster fire behind a restaurant. The kitchen might remain open, but you really have to question who is going to eat there.  In Cleveland, America discovered that answer, a bunch of angry white men and D-level celebrities that resembled a crowd at a ABBA tribute band concert who are terrified of African-Americans, Hispanics, Muslims, refugees, women, homosexuals, transsexuals, the Zika virus, political correctness, the four female Ghostbusters, and three-legged black cats, but mostly Hillary Clinton. If they could have brought in the house that fell on her sister, I am pretty sure they would have. I am not sure what she did to inspire such fear. It probably involves forcing men to sit down when using the bathroom. I don’t know.   I do know the four burning questions on everybody’s mind. One, how packed were the gay bars in Cleveland with closeted Republicans? Second, how many times could the television cameras do a close up of an African-American or a Latino in the crowd before viewers realized they were the same two gentlemen? Third, how badly would the racial stereotype of white people’s inability to dance or have any rhythm be reinforced by the delegates as they danced to canned music over the loud speakers? Fourth, and finally, could the man-child Donald Trump be kept under control? Remember, just because you can put a diaper on a monkey does not mean that he is potty trained.    For the most part national political conventions are well-meaning four-night infomercials for the parties, but hosted by the “Ken and Barbie-like” brownnosers  you hated back in high school. Speeches are vetted. Everyone tries to use their best table manners. Touching stories are told of the candidate, some of which might even be true. Cute children are paraded out to show that the presidential candidate is human. Balloons are dropped. There is a slight bump in the polls until the other party has its convention, where America discovers the other candidate does not eat newborn children for breakfast and everything goes back to normal.    The Republican Convention was also special because it was also the first Trump four-day infomercial. Our potentially future first family was decked out in Trump ties ($65), Trump dress shirts ($75), Trump watches, and Trump cuff links. Ivanka wore a beautiful white frock from her clothing line that you can wear too for just $158. All made in China, because Donald Trump is all about making America great one piece of clothing at a time. The only thing missing were cut away shots of the Trump family, who reminded me of the Von Trapp family from The Sound of Music. The Von Trapps if the Von Trapps had remained in Germany eating delicious Trump steaks, $199 to $999, depending on the cut.    There can be moments of brilliance at political conventions like John Kennedy’s “New Frontier,” Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” George H.W. Bush’s “1,000 Points of Light,” Mario Cuomo’s last gasp of real liberalism in his “Tale of Two Cities,” or William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech.   This convention will probably be remembered, if at all, for Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama’s speech from 2008, which was completely forgivable to me. It is hard enough learning to blink out in Morse code like a downed air force pilot, “I am prisoner. Have to lie underneath shaved orangutan that looks like Dr. Zaius every night to survive. Please don’t send me back to Slovenia,” let alone having to write an entire speech on her own. Although, it is bothersome that someone felt the need to plagiarize part of a speech on why they love their husband. It is kind of like giving your wife a bouquet of flowers from a funeral. It did not show the closest of relationships.   Maybe that is what bothered me about her speech, as well as the kids’ speeches. They offered almost no insights that warmed someone listening to the man. Oh, don’t get me wrong. They are a wonderful-looking family. Blonde, skinny, perfectly dressed and groomed. They are a real credit to the undocumented nannies that raised them.  (Except for the older two “big-game-hunting” boys. They might be awesome at killing elephants and giraffes, but that is not hunting. They are just a couple of self-centered jackasses trying to overcome the small hands they inherited from their dad.)   Still, there were almost no “I remember when dad took me fishing” stories, no “Donald did the cutest thing when we were first dating” tales, or “Dad, used to read to us at bedtime” yarns. Even Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, made up stories of them being so poor they had to eat off an ironing board in college, which made the audience realize that even robots are people too and things are not going to go to hell if somehow he becomes president.   Much like his taxes, there is something in Donald Trump. He is terrified for the world to see it. It probably involves his fragile ego, or maybe his children and wife just don’t know him that well. I don’t know. If we are going to put The Donald’s small finger on the nuclear button, I would like just a little bit more than he is going to make the trains run on time. By the way, if he is going to continue to give “I am the strong man America needs” speeches, someone needs to work with him on trying not to mug like Benito Mussolini.   The 2016 RNC will probably be remembered for Melania’s plagiarism or the surreal political theatre of Senator Ted Cruz’s speech, which turned into some eerie American version of a third-world Communism show trial, complete with the country’s dictator appearing out of nowhere storming the docks to shut things down.   Some people claim it was a planned moment. I don’t think you plan that kind of strangeness. I think it was more a case of the B or C, more likely D team running a convention for the first time and not doing due diligence.  There are basically three firm rules in life.  One, you don’t play “I got your nose” at a leper colony.  Two, there is no happy story that ends with the words “and that is how I meet Jerry Sandusky.” Finally, you don’t invite to speak at your convention the guy whose father your candidate implied helped kill President Kennedy.   I know Jesus said something about forgiving seven times seventy, but I am pretty sure that won’t be happening for Ted Cruz. Cruz wanted to set himself up as the go-to guy in 2020 and have a Ronald Reagan in 1976 convention moment.  If Cruz had shoved a knife in The Donald, who could blame him? Welcome to the Thunderdome. Newt Gringrich tried to be the peacemaker between the two. Take a moment and think about that.   What the 2016 Republican Convention should be remembered for is what not to teach your children. You don’t lie. Don’t be mean. Don’t take advantage of someone who is unhinged with grief over the loss of a child. Share. Always see the positive. Don’t call names. You can’t build yourself up by tearing someone else down. When you are yelling and screaming, sometimes a nap is in order. Nobody likes a bully. Might does not make right. Play well with others, especially if they do not look like you. Even little kids know that.   Pat Buchannan’s culture wars speech at the Republican convention in 1992 lasted roughly thirty-five minutes. Its negativity and hostility outraged viewers and might have hurt George H.W. Bush at the polls that year and is still remembered a quarter of a century later. It would have been considered tame at this year’s convention. I would like to think the American people have not changed, but looking at the attendees in Cleveland, I am probably wrong.