Fear and Division Are All Trump's Republicans Offer Voters

A newcomer to the United States who tuned into the television coverage of the first night of the Republican National Convention couldn’t be faulted for buying a gun the morning after. According to a list of speakers, most unknown to a wide audience, America is at war, and the possibility of a radical Islamic terrorist breaking down the door to kill you is imminent.

Although the convention is being held in Cleveland, Ohio, and sits in the heart of the de-industrialized American rust belt, it was the Wild West on Monday night. Ohio is one state that allows for open-carry guns, including automatic weapons. If I’d been in Cleveland that night, I’d be more frightened by gun-packing delegates than Islamic terrorists.

The opening speech of the convention by the star of “Duck Dynasty” described his folks as liking to “hunt, fish and pray.” Next to the podium was Marcus Luttrell, former U.S. Navy Seal who established the Lone Survivor Foundation. Luttrell got emotional when claiming: “America is the light. Beyond our borders is the darkness.”

Lutrell was followed by the painful display of Pat Smith, the mother of American embassy staff member Sean Smith who was murdered in the 2012 raid on Benghazi.

Smith blamed Hillary Clinton for the death of her son, her outpouring of grief, ending in a call to put “Hillary in stripes.” Throughout the opening night of the convention there was numerous chants to “lock Hillary up,” poor Mrs. Smith’s being the first.

My heart went out to Pat Smith, but not to the convention organisers who capitalised on her grief to directly incriminate Clinton for her son’s tragic death.

Day one of the 2016 Republican Convention, with the theme of “Make America Safe Again” was a staged performance of wall-building hardliners, all of whom describe the United States as a biblical paradise if it weren’t for immigrants scrambling across the border and bringing their own pernicious brand of anti-Americanism, a deadly mix of free-loaders and religious terrorists, who are ruining the country.

Former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, received the biggest and best response from the mostly all-white audience on the convention floor in Cleveland. In an impassioned speech, he recommended closing American borders to all Syrians and argued that Islamic terrorists were purposely sprinkled among these refugees. The fact that Canada has welcomed 25,000 Syrian refugees, while an America roiling with violence during this long, hot summer has admitted only 2,500, doesn’t sway Giuliani, or his appreciative audience.

Throughout the long night of speeches, going well past eleven p.m., I didn’t hear one mention of a savagely divided America, divided not upon religious lines, but along racial lines.  The egregious history of racial discrimination that continues to cost the lives of both black males, and black and white police officers; its continued prevalence in 2016, seems to be the root of today’s violence, and not immigrants or organised radical Islamic doctrine.

To be clear, I am not discounting the attraction of enraged and disturbed males, many with military backgrounds and a history of wife abuse, to radical Islamic propaganda on the dark web.

we’re all going to need God on our side if this man is sitting in the Oval Office

The legacy of violence playing out at home is coupled with an astonishing glorification of war and American exceptionalism that promotes the idea that it’s American warriors who must keep the world safe from marauding forces of evil. The fear that this same evil that exists outside U.S. borders is now seeping into the bedrock of homeland soil, a virus gone untreated after eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, permeated the message from the podium on Monday night.

Squeezed between a rousing speech by Rudy Giuliani and two warrior hardliners, was Trump’s beautiful wife, Melania. It’s hard to feel sorry for the supermodel, dressed in a white frock, reminiscent of a seventeenth century English barmaid’s attire (which she purchased herself on the Internet), but I did.

CNN commentator and chief Obama strategist David Axelrod described Melania’s speech as “a crudité speech in front of a red meat crowd.”

It also appears that nestled inside Melania’s drab little speech were lines plagiarised from Michelle Obama’s talk to the 2008 Democratic conventions where her husband was nominated to run for President.

Melania’s speech didn’t include one personal anecdote about husband Donald and no one in the audience or at home, came to know the boisterous personality dominating this convention, any better than they did beforehand, but what we did come to understand is that copying the words of another and presenting them as your own, is not okay, no matter how rich and famous you are.

Along with plagiarism, it also appears that the RNC made a booboo in Melania’s biography, saying that she obtained a degree from a university in Slovenia, when in fact, she dropped out of college to model in Milan.

Most of the delegates had left the convention floor by the time Lt. General Michael Flynn, former Director of the Defense, claimed that ISIS could very well have weapons of mass destruction.

Few heard his speech in Cleveland, probably fewer at home, since it was late when Flynn spoke, but it left me frozen in my chair. Flynn is an advisor to Donald Trump, now the Republican nominee for the President of the United States. My hope is that the folks who end up voting for Trump do a lot of praying because we’re all going to need God on our side if this man is sitting in the Oval Office.

Joyce Wayne is a journalist and fiction writer. Her novel, The Cook’s Temptation, is available online in the U.K.

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