Night and day. That's how much contrast we've witnessed.
Last week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland was the strangest hate-fest I've ever witnessed. From the "C-list" of wannabe celebrities to the content of the noise coming from the podium, Trump's nominating ceremony was a four night exercise in fear mongering run amok. The basic GOP theme of "Be afraid! Be very afraid!" was on full display, as speaker after speaker took the stage to describe our nation as an empire in free fall, one sorry president away from the dustbin of history.
If you didn't know better, you would expect the sun to rise over the smoldering ruins of a vine-covered America~ a rat infested dystopia that would make Mad Max look enchanting.
Compare that to what we've seen so far from the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. There is a genuine American vision being described, one that is hopeful, optimistic, and full of the same Morning in America-Thousand Points of Light themes Republicans used to trumpet in their own conventions. From Michelle Obama's incredible speech on the opening night of the convention, to the beautiful words of her husband last night, it's been one uplifting message after another. We're all in this together. We're stronger together. We can perfect our imperfect union.
You listen to their words, their music, their joyful optimism, and you halfway expect the sun to rise over that shining city on the hill we used to hear about...
After trying to soak in both conventions, I realized I was doing myself a disservice through my addiction to the coverage of the various cable news networks. The spinmeisters on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC aren't content with showing us the conventions as they unfold. It's their mission to "inform" us about what we've just heard- often to the extent that they interrupt proceedings with unwanted analysis and commentary- as if what they have to say is more important than what our political parties are trying to tell us.
Let's take former President Bill Clinton's address to the DNC as an example. He spoke movingly about his relationship with his wife Hillary, from their first encounter at college to the birth of their grandchild. I thought it was a great speech, delivered with sincerity and free from the usual bluster and digressions that we've come to expect from one of Bill Clinton's speeches. I watched it in its entirety on CSPAN, then switched over to MSNBC to hear how they were spinning his words. Immediately I heard Rachel Maddow (one of my favorite talking head cable news fixtures) saying that she was disappointed in Clinton's speech because it was all about Bill- told from his perspective (as if any of us can relate to any situation without seeing it through our own eyes). I switched over to Faux Noise, and predictably, they were parsing his words and fact checking their asses off in search of tell-tale chinks in the Clinton armor.
Here's what I've discovered in the past couple of weeks: everyone who bashes America's mainstream media has been justified in doing so. It sucks. It truly sucks.
Yesterday a candidate of a major political party in America suggested the Russians should delve into his opponent's "missing" emails in order to expose their content to the press. It was a stunning thing to witness. A candidate for president said he hoped our strategic enemy had access to potentially classified information, because it might enhance his political chances in the upcoming election. Who does that? What sort of patriot hopes for a security breach?
Think about it. For months Donald Trump has been telling the world that Hillary mishandled thousands of classified emails, exposing our nation to dangerous lapses that undermine our national security. And then yesterday, the same bloviating sack of shit said he hoped the Russians would release the content of those classified emails for the world to see.
And immediately two of the cable news networks were (rightfully) apoplectic about what he was suggesting, while Fox News, the media mouthpiece of the RNC, pooh-poohed the whole thing as an overblown non-story: "nothing to see here, folks... move along... Hey, wonder what's in all those emails Hillary deleted, huh?"
The more I see of this biased shit storm of corporate media spin, the less inclined I am to even look for our television's remote control.
America isn't some dystopian hell-hole. America isn't Nirvana on Earth, either.
And the tag team take-down artists who are trying to spin this election one way or the other don't deserve the air time we currently indulge them with.