Its time to do some overall reflection the two political conventions just ended and then to move on to other things. The contrast between the two could not have been greater. One was about hatred and fear and the other was about future possibilities. One was about living in the past, the other about preparing for a better future.
I am really starting to feel sorry for my Republican friends. They ended up with a egomaniac at the head of their ticket. How that happened was for the most part their own making but I’m sure 90% of those who claim the GOP banner are good decent people. But it is that ten percent who are now the face of their party. Trump, Limbaugh, O’Reilly are the face of it and it is to my mind an ugly face.
And Trump is getting plenty of help, even as many Republicans fret that he’s digging them further into a hole they’ll struggle to climb out of. On Monday, Michelle Obama said, in the most moving passage of an extraordinary speech, “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.” It was part of her argument that the greatness of America lies in its ability to change, to overcome its weaknesses and its sins, to be forever a work in progress. Yet some on the right couldn’t hear that as a redemptive story; all they heard was a black lady complaining about slavery again.
The next day, Rush Limbaugh, the country’s most popular radio host and a relentless race-baiter, complained that when it comes to slavery, the Obamas are “never going to let it go,” so determined are they to make white people feel bad. That evening, the most popular personality on the Fox News Channel — Bill O’Reilly, whose angry-old-white-guy persona is a living caricature of the prototypical Republican voter — felt the need to assert that “Slaves that worked there [constructing the White House] were well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.” That outreach to minorities is really coming along great.
Even if you think Republican policy ideas are superior, there’s just no question which party is the inclusive and welcoming one. Democrats may have their problems, but on the national level, their multi-racial, multi-ethnic, interfaith coalition represents not just America’s future, but its present as well. Maybe one day Republicans will figure out a way around it, but it won’t be by doing what they’re doing now.
As indicated above one of the basic problems with our country is that like Limbaugh and O’Reilly we for the most part won’t own up to our darker side. Too many flatly deny any wrongdoing. That is one thing that Germany has over us. They have learned that it is healing to recognize that Hitler was a part of German history. They don’t deny it or try to sweep it under a rug. They mourn it with the rest of us.
We Americans are yet to really admit that we annihilated a native-American population of millions through genocide in order to steal their land. We as a country, but especially in the South, have failed to openly admit that we enlsaved millions in order to make our lives easier. When we don’t own up to our faults there is little possibility that we can truly learn from them. This is one of the lessons that I wish my Republican friends would learn. Its not about guilt as Limbaugh shouts…