About the Sermonettes in Tampa (Carol Morgan)
I had to hold my nose to watch Tuesday evening’s GOP Convention speakers, but I did it.
The RNC’s gathering in Tampa seemed more like the Academy Awards than a political convention with its churning cytoplasm-like blue backdrop, the digitized photos of the candidates as innocent charming children and the music in between. It made me painfully nostalgic for those smoke-filled rooms of the past; the jerky, grainy, black and white film clips, a sprinkling of women in hats, men in ill-fitting suits, cigars clamped firmly between their teeth, the constant roar of low conversation among the delegates, the overt deal-making taking place in the aisles. The political conventions of the past were raw drama in real time.
Last night was nothing like that. It was “staging” at its finest; a skilled cinematic production, reminiscent of sanitized Sundays at home, when your minister comes to call. There were more minorities on stage than there were in the audience. When the camera scanned audience reactions, I rarely saw a face of color.
I tuned in mainly to listen to Ted Cruz, Tea Party darling running for Senate. I’d never heard him speak and I wanted to witness the spark that was the impetus for the GOTP’s adoration. I noticed he misquoted T.S. Eliot; an egregious abomination to someone who loves literature. I noticed he spoke in Spanish in a reference to his father, when he’s said before he doesn’t speak Spanish. Other than that, adjectives such as lackluster, flat, and bland come to mind; I was underwhelmed.
As I listened to the remaining speakers, Luce Fortuno, Nikki Haley, Ann Romney, and Chris Christie; one thing jumped out at me. Interesting, how they all narrated about their humble hard-working immigrant roots, they depicted Horatio Alger tales of Cuban underwear, Welsh miners, Italian mothers, and Indian parents who all succeeded. They left out the part about how their party is doing nothing to help those immigrants that followed. Their words did not match reality; it was a rhetorical magniloquence that skirted fantasy, dancing happily around the facts. There were some errors and truth bending, but mostly, it was about omissions. I might have believed it, if I didn’t know the facts.
Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina, proudly waxed and waned about the tire plant in her state, but failed to mention the $7.8 billion in Federal stimulus money that made it possible. “You didn’t build that” comes to mind. Ann Romney tried to the make a heart-connection with women, saying women were the ones who “held everything together”, but she failed to mention that her husband’s party has done more damage in their war on women than the attacks on the Suffragettes in the Gilded Age. Eating off an ironing board as a young married woman is very romantic when your father-in-law is the Governor, but not so fun when you’re really poor. Chris Christie talked about how his father used the GI Bill to go to college. He does know that’s a government program, right? He bloviated about the New Jersey miracle, yet his state is 4th in the highest number of unemployed. He stated, “We believe in teachers”, but his administration has done more to break the legs of the teaching profession, than any Jersey Mafioso business protection gang.
The activities on the convention floor were more representative of the real GOP than the speeches at the rostrum. While the homilists were on stage, the pugilists were in the audience. One delegate threw peanuts at a black camerawoman declaring, “This is how we feed the animals!” There were boos directed at Luce Fortuno and chants of “USA”. Perhaps the convention delegates didn’t know that Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917.
To a counselor, listening skills are paramount. We are trained to listen to every word a client says, but more importantly, what the client does NOT say. There were so many things these “actor’s lines” didn’t address. There was no mention of Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan, no cry against outsourcing to China, no bloated military budget that eclipses all other spending, no voter ID, no legitimate rape definitions, nothing about affordable college, no treatise on birth control, I could go on and on.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”
That pretty much sums up my thoughts about last night’s sermonettes. I won’t be watching any more of the RNC’s entertainment. Tuesday was sufficient. Silence is golden; what’s not mentioned, tells us a lot.
All the flowery rhetoric in the dictionary won’t change that.
Carol Morgan is a career counselor, writer, speaker, former Democratic candidate for the Texas House and the award-winning author of Of Tapestry, Time and Tears, a historical fiction about the 1947 Partition of India. Follow her on Twitter @CounselorCarol1, on Facebook: CarolMorgan1 and her literary blog at carolmorgan.org
Carol nails it with “Cytoplasm like blue backdrop.”