So, There Was This Other Convention

It Was an Interesting Experience, If Not Altogether Surprising


Why Would Someone Watch That Thing?

I committed early on to watch the entire Republican convention. As it turned out, that was only a 1-day affair. They closed out their business on Monday by unanimously (shocking!) nominating Trump and Pence. While they were thinking about it, they decided they did not need a platform. They just stand for whatever Donald wants on a given day. And so, they adjourned. The following 3 evenings of TV were basically an ad.

So, a lot of people asked why I bothered to watch all this. I joked that I ran out of bourbon on the first night and ran out of Maalox the second night. The last two nights were on perseverance alone. Why do that?

I did it for a few reasons. One, I thought I owed you, Dear Reader, some feedback, since I know most of you would not watch it. Two, I wanted to see first-hand what they had to say and what they would tell each other. Keep in mind that there are a lot of people out there who get their “news” from Fox and Trump tweets; they were watching this, too – and likely buying much of it.

Lastly, I was curious to see how the production would carry out. The Democrats, I think one could fairly say, had a heck of a good convention. I was curious to see how the other side would match it.

And the Results?

One could go on about this thing for quite a while, but I will not. Let me share with you my top 10 observations and a few call outs. If you missed it live, I am sure someone is selling a commemorative DVD set for those who want to have such a souvenir.

Everything in the Top 10 is not equal. Four things REALLY stood out as the top tier:

  1. Freedom of Religion. For a party that uses that term a lot, they sure are confused about what it means. To a person, they seem to think it means you have the freedom to impose your religion on everyone else. That privilege would not apply to anyone free from religion or practicing one other than their choice. Wish I could raise the ghosts of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to walk them through exactly what the Founders meant. They got this one about right all those years ago. The Republicans are giving religion in general and Christianity specifically a bad name.
  2. Name Tags: Republicans and their fellow travelers tried calling Democrats and progressives “snowflakes” for a while. It really didn’t take, although you still hear it occasionally. I credit Game of Thrones (“Winter is coming”) with killing it off.But after this week, the Republicans have surely owned their own nickname. They shall be officially known henceforth as the Sniveling Whiners. What a bunch of crybabies! I have never heard so much sniveling about any criticism aimed their way. They are being muzzled! They are under attack! Yeah, right. This is a bitter, dark spirited bunch. It did not feel like America.
  3. Freedom of Speech: Another big misunderstanding of the Bill of Rights. By the way, the term Bill of Rights was never mentioned this week unless I missed it (I was comatose on occasion). Of the 10 amendments, I think the only one most of them know is the second amendment. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth that they were being silenced at every turn.I hate to break it to them, but freedom of speech does NOT mean freedom from criticism. You speak BS, you take the shots back. Even if you speak truth, those who see it another way have the freedom to call you out. We do that sort of thing in a democracy, as irritating as it may be.
    Yes, Go On
  4. Diogenes Would Have Earned Serious Overtime Pay This Week: Were that ancient Greek here this week, torch in hand and trusty dog by his side, looking for an honest person at the convention, he would have been lonesome indeed Let’s be candid and admit all political conventions are given to hyperbole and exaggeration. But this thing was something apart. People just outright lied, over and over, and they had to know it. A few examples:“Joe Biden supports defunding the police.” Biden has said explicitly over and over he does not and thinks in many cases, more resources are needed for better training and staffing.

    “Biden has said he will increase taxes on everyone.” Biden has said that if you are a corporation, your taxes will likely go up some. If you are a corporation that is paying no federal tax, you can expect to start paying some. If you as an individual make over $400,000 income from any sources a year, you can expect to pay more. Everyone else is good to go. Not very confusing, is it?
And More Still

“Biden plans to end the Second Amendment and take your guns.No president can actually do that, and gun owner Biden has been clear he has no such intent. He does favor banning assault weapons, large magazine, and having universal background checks. Just as do the vast majority of Americans, even the majority of Republicans.

“We reinvigorated a stagnant economy.” Trump inherited the longest and strongest economic growth period in our history, which was built on the ruins of the Bush recession, with no help from Republicans.

“Trump was decisive and saved us from the Pandemic.”  I am not even going to waste bytes on this one.We have, in every measure, the worst results in the world and still have zero leadership at the top.

And So On 

I have never seen so many blatant outright lies in one four-day period. It makes it difficult to take anyone seriously who chooses this path. It’s perfectly appropriate that two parties disagree on lots of issues. But this was an alternate universe of reverse facts. This week was just surreal. I worry that so many Americans only get this kind of input. Goebbels would be impressed.

OK, What Else?
  1. Race: Give them credit. I think they found almost every black American who might vote for Trump and had them speak. You could almost have filled a city bus with that crowd. I was personally embarrassed for most of them, especially the Senator from South Carolina. Living tokenism.
  2. Platform? We Don’t Need No Stinking Platform! It’s not a small thing that for the first time since platforms became part of politics, we have a party that has no platform at all. They have said clearly that stand for nothing but whatever Donald wants on a given day. Shame on them. Pence actually said the Democrats did not talk much about their programs and goals. Maybe we should send him a video tape.
  3. Oh, the horrors. If only I had a $1 for every time they waved the Socialism boogeyman. Joe Biden a flaming socialist? Get real. That some people who are socialists or lean that way may still have a good idea or two seems beyond the grasp of this crowd. A personal note: I am not a fan of socialism, but recognize some elements of that approach could work done correctly. We do a lot of that already. Stop the name calling and determine what works.
  4. Worst of All:

    I was really, really was offended by using not only the White House the Mellon Auditorium, and Fort McHenry for political purposes, but especially using uniformed personnel in a campaign video swearing in new citizens. And those poor new citizens- can one imagine they had much choice in doing this. We now know at least two of them had no idea this was being staged. Disgusting on several levels.  I did enjoy reflecting that they had to pass a citizenship exam that Trump could not possibly pass.

  5. Some “Favorite” Quotes, Statements, and Observations:
  • A 26-year-old who said others have built nothing
  • Trump loves people more than Biden… and has more religious values
  • We need as a nation to follow Jesus (sorry Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists)
  • Trump is the guardian of Western civilization!!!
  • A teacher spoke in preference of private and church schools over public schools
  • We settled a continent. (Sorry, native Americans)
  • The only person who sympathizes with the common person is President Trump
  • Everything said about the pandemic, except 1-2 lines, was all in PAST TENSE
  • A nurse said medical coverage INCREASED under Trump. He saved 1000s
  • When the virus hit, we did the greatest mobilization in modern history
  • Trump is a loving father, a tireless worker, and not a racist
  • President Trump will lead the way to objective journalism

OK, this could go on for several more pages. Enough

  1. Let Us Gather. There were 3 large gatherings (speeches by First Lady, VP, and Trump). None had adequate social distancing. Masks were as rare as honest statements. Trump’s gathering alone on the last night is liable to rival his Oklahoma gathering for a surge of infections. Hard to say what is more remarkable – that they keep doing this or that people are dumb enough to attend them.
Who Speaks for Us?

It was interesting who they chose to speak. How about the St Louis gun nuts, the McClaskeys, preaching to have “safe suburbs?” Any doubt what that is all about? Or the kid who confronted an old man in DC during a demonstration.

And the former Florida FL AG who took campaign money from the Trump campaign while ruling on conflicting issues. She led with the argument that unlike the Trump family, the Biden family has profited from government contacts.

Let’s do have that discussion about family corruption and conflicts of interest!  Bring it on. Didn’t Trump’s son just take the 5th on a corruption investigation this week? It was heart breaking to see father of Meadow Pollack, Parkland shooting victim, do the work of the NRA. Sad.

They tried to copy the Dems roll call with a delegates’ tour. Not badly done, but no match for the roll call. Overall the whole thing was a lot stiffer and more sterile than the Democratic event, but production values were not too bad. Technically, they did OK.

No comments necessary on Trump’s speech on Thursday night. The man is not worth the time or effort. What a national embarrasement.

Oh, I almost forgot. Donald Trump Jr really is a dick. I can’t wait until his perp walk.


Let’s get on with voting, shall we? I have seen both conventions. Not a hard choice to make in November.

Bill Clontz, Founder, Agents of Reason       Bill Clontz

If you find this blog worthy of your time and curiosity, I invite you to do two things:

(1) Join the conversation. Your voice counts here. If you wish to share COMMENTS anonymously, make the last word in your comment “PRIVATE.” I will assure your privacy via anonymity.

(2) Share the word about this post with friends and colleagues. Share a link in your emails and social media posts ( Let’s grow our circle.


7 replies to So, There Was This Other Convention

  1. Bill, thank you for doing this. I could not have lasted, and your summary is helpful. “Know thy enemy!”

  2. Thank you Bill, but I think you were too easy on them. This is not only the most important election ever, it is also the scariest time ever. There is a chance he could be re-elected, and we just can’t let that happen. Alan Davis

  3. I tried to watch the first night of the DNC but was put off by its production. I didn’t tune in to be entertained so I didn’t last long. I’m put off by both sides. I watched the RNC some, but mostly I watch respected journalists after each conversation to get their take on things. Trying to make sense of it all and, as always Bill, appreciate your insight.

    • It can be tough to watch parts of any of these things, but in the end I am glad I persevered through both. At the end of the week in both cases, you got a pretty good feel for what each party was about at its core.

  4. Thank you Bill for your courage to speak up and ask for comments. This political atmosphere speaks to the failure of the United States of America’s education system. I believe Socrates said,” The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.”


  5. Right on Bill. Thanks for sticking through it. I just watched Hallmark to counteract.

Your Turn to Comment