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The Security State (R Con 2)

July 19, 2016

I feel like I’m mud wrestling with myself, on the morning after. And I had to pay to compete. And there isn’t any prize money.

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity” could have been written about me (I’m even an anarchist) as I struggle to think out loud about the first night of the Republican Convention. It’s a bad narratorial attitude, and I’m afraid it will make this episode the worst-written of the novel.

Before Phil Sharp became the 20-yr Dem Congressman for my district in east central IN, he taught political science; and he and I spent a semester together, same classroom same hours, with colleagues in American history and philosophy (especially critical reasoning) teaching a 12-credit course called, “Freedom and Responsibility in America.” One day I mentioned how upset I felt about something in American foreign policy, and Phil said, “You know what? You’re truly a patriot. When your country does something immoral, you feel personally responsible for the degradation and the damage.” *

So yes, it’s having a personal effect on me. Dear Reader: Beware of Bias (that’s the name of my dog).

All right, as usual let’s be honest with ourselves about this. The Republican Party has invented a story, a popular fantasy, a dime novel, to mask its real purpose, which is to mold a society that serves only the interests of the very rich. At present the drama of the party is the struggle among cliques of the very rich to see who owns a large enough share of the party to do what they want to do with it. Republican politicians and middle management share the fantasy of elite wealth and power, and thus find this party most to their liking as a corporation in which to pursue their own imitation of happiness.

Since America is still a democracy, control of the masses is necessary in order to bend politics to one’s ends; but on the other hand, support by voters is itself a source of power and the wealth that comes with it. What better way to attract the masses and persuade them that you are working in their best interests, so that you can more easily and effectively use them for your own interests, than to present them with an entertaining story and set of images?

We’ll see the current version of “The Republican” played before us, as a heroic mini-series reality show at this convention. I’ll try to offer a driving-off-the-cliff’s notes version.

To make my life easier, they named the episodes.

Monday: “Making America Safe Again”. Or: The Security (Insecurity) State

Plotline: America is not safe. We need a hero, a national leader, like Rudi Giuliani was for NYC, to make us safe. We all know who. He has declared that America is “a divided crime scene” and “divided and out of control.” We have a villain—rather, lots of villains. This requires an amazing hero. OMG There he is! It’s the chaotic cities. How could the cities have become so villainous? They’ve been twisted by disorderly, lawless (etc., you’ve heard this story for decades, you can make the list) aliens (and don’t forget terrorists), who are killing our local protectors, aided and abetted by the Democratic Party, led by Obama and Clinton. Pray to God.

I could tell this story with dark drama, instead of sarcasm, but the story and its images are boring, and lying isn’t my job. Seriously, this is like a bedtime story that Republicans know by heart; they tell it to themselves every time they can’t get to sleep. They’re too wound up. Too scared of the dark. Too scared of their shadow on the wall.

The memes and images are the ones we heard again and again during the debates. Plus a belle and white supremacists. Grieving faces.  Vengeful faces.  Angry faces.  Righteous faces.  American exceptionalists. Badges and uniforms. Showmanship. Actors and models. Waving (flailing?) arms and hands. Religious triumphalism complete with a god appearing out of the smog. Plagiarism.

Okay, that woke me up! That’s big. I get it. I’ll be thinking out loud about that on a separate page: “A Putrid Image.”

*When Phil retired, the district, which had been Very Conservative R before him, elected the VCR David MacIntosh, who later became governor, and then the VCR Mike Pence, who is now governor—between M and P as gov was the W Bush VCR Mitch Daniels.

[Page one of this episode.]

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