Presidential Cruelty

As I type this, the Republican Party is beginning the third night of their convention. I’m no Republican but I’m not usually averse to watching political spectacles no matter who is putting them on. Well, I wasn’t averse to it until 2016.

These days, I can’t watch Republicans speak, and I particularly can’t watch Donald Trump speak. I don’t have the emotional strength to sit and listen to the cruelty he passes out with both hands.

I’m not being a snowflake here. I don’t shy away from constructive criticism and I don’t mind honest disagreements about ideas or programs. But that’s not what the Trumpian discourse is. He’s just a mean old man surrounded by other mean people and all they do is stand around being as mean as possible. Trump is the ringmaster of a circus of cruelty and watching anything he produces is like signing myself up to be verbally abused.

No, thank you.

During the Democratic Convention last week the party was bending over backwards to show what a nice guy Joe Biden is. It was actually pretty corny the way they were portraying this grinning older man as the nicest uncle who ever pulled a quarter out from behind your ear. In a normal political cycle we all would have been rolling our cynical eyes at all of it. But in 2020? Damn, y’all. It was just such a relief to spend a few hours where everyone was working their tails off to say nice things for two hours per night.

Imagine four years of the politics of nice. Can you even?

I, like so many of you, am tired from hearing my beliefs belittled in the public square. I’m beaten down from the effort it takes to keep speaking out about what I think is right when at every turn there is a bully in a pulpit calling my entire ideology fake news. Twitter used to be fun but now it’s the place I go when I want to be called a “libtard” or worse. The chattering class is the jeering class and the jeering is mean and petty and small. It’s also exhausting, just as it’s meant to be.

And that’s why I’m not listening to the Republicans tonight. They have shown me who they are and I don’t want to spend my time on them. Trump and his flying monkey followers have been trying and trying to smash our collective emotional resistance so we will eventually just give up and let them do what they want. And maybe if we listened to them all the time we would.

But this is still America and in America, the off button on the remote still works. I would rather sit in silence than listen to the litany of presidential cruelty coming from the RNC.

Photo By Nicolas Pinault, Voice of America – Day 4 of the 2016 RNC in Photos; Full-resolution photo, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55113089

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