American Horror Story: RNC Edition

The RNC is a shitshow of lies and misinformation. Will we ever get out?

Melania Trump addresses the Republican Convention during its second day from the Rose Garden of the White House August 25, 20
Melania Trump addresses the Republican Convention during its second day from the Rose Garden of the White House August 25, 2020. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

“American carnage,” “riots in the streets,” “the rabid radical left,” and talk of the American dream being “dead” — this is the picture that the Republican National Convention has painted of America. Essentially a hellscape shithole of a country that is on the verge of becoming a Godless nation.

What’s fascinating about these assertions from President Donald Trump’s, er, the RNC’s convention speakers is that it’s as if they have forgotten who has been in charge for the last three and a half years. Generally, when running for reelection, a sitting president would regale the country with his long list of accomplishments. He would remind the nation of where we were four years prior and just how far we have come under his leadership. Trump, however, missed the memo on optimism during his first few nights of the convention and instead went full Jordan Peele on America — working overtime to terrify White suburban moms about who is lurking in the shadows of their pristine, tree-lined streets.

The Trump machine has long since moved from dog whistle to bullhorn.

“What you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country,” said Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who were charged with a class E felony after brandishing weapons at protesters on their street. In their hate speech, they described an “out-of-control mob” that had descended on their neighborhood, but the video showed exactly who was out of control. The Trump machine has long since moved from dog whistle to bullhorn.

Not to be outdone and seem too racist, the campaign managed over the course of the first two nights to bring out a slew of Black faces in White spaces. These brainwashed cousins included former NFL player Hershel Walker, who shared how Trump came with his family to Disney World, so of course he couldn’t be racist. More jarringly, the lineup included the disgrace of a Democrat Rep. Vernon Jones. He had the audacity to talk about “independent thinking” and say the rest of us Black folks were locked into the plantation mentality because we were fighting for “minor” things like the abolition of police who keep shooting us like dogs in the streets, equal education, and health care. Like the late Herman Cain, Jones said we’re are all part of some groupthink experiment cooked up by Democrats to keep us in check.

Things at the convention got progressively worse as the week wore on, and we watched as the White House was turned into a reality TV set with naturalization ceremonies, pardons, and speeches in a newly ruined rose garden. The naturalization of several individuals by a man who is currently holding an untold number of undocumented asylum seekers in cages right now is the biggest perversion of our democracy. This is the same administration that has refused hygienic conditions to those same undocumented people and has denied naturalization ceremonies to take place by Zoom during a pandemic, leaving thousands in limbo. Then pivot to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recording his speech live from Jerusalem, where he hailed God and faith—but we all know that doesn’t extend to the Muslims who were banned from this country in the first year of Trump’s presidency.

Everything Trump touches turns into a complete abomination, and that includes religion. At this convention, they tossed around God and Jesus Christ like a football. Countless religious figures came out to try and shame the LGBTQ community, like Cissie Graham, granddaughter of Billy Graham, attempted to do when she said that Democrats want to place boys on girls athletic teams and vice versa. It was hard to watch her speech about the purity of her faith when considering so-called religious stalwart Jerry Falwell Jr., whose recent entanglement between his wife and a friendly pool boy was exposed this week. The issue forced him to resign as president of Liberty University. But what else would you expect from a man who endorsed Trump even after he bragged about grabbing women by the pussy, paid off women after cheating on his pregnant wife, and is accused of rape and sexual assault by more than two dozen other women? Birds of a feather do indeed flock together.

When we look at the display that is the Republican National Convention and how very far this country has fallen in just four short years, it’s hard not to feel completely disgusted as well as utterly hopeless about the future of this nation. How can we not when we watch the very politicians who called Trump a fraud and grifter now bow to him and kiss his ring? How could you not be disgusted when you watch as he is working overtime to steal this election, and there is no one trying actively and aggressively to stop him?

In the essay “Autocracy: Rules for Survival,” author Masha Gessen wrote that the first rule of survival is to believe the autocrat: “Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization.” We have been working to reach for rationalization for Trump’s despicable behavior since his 2015 ride down an escalator. He told us then what he thought of America and Americans. He told us his plans to make it great again, and we knew what that meant and who he is trying to make it great for, but we didn’t want to believe him. We wanted to believe that he was exaggerating and that we needed to “give him a chance.” Well, we did and now we are here.

We are living in Trump’s reality, a horror show of his own making. In Peele’s critically acclaimed horror film Get Out, Chris’s best friend, Rod, at the end says: “I told you not to go in that house.” America can never say it wasn’t warned about Trump because he told us who he was from the beginning, and yet we still decided to go in the house. The question we have to ask now is: Can we get out?

is the host of #WokeAF & #PMMood & co-host of the podcast #democracyish. She covers all the news and happenings at the intersection of politics and pop culture.

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