The Republican National Convention in Tampa was a post-Apocalyptic dystopia of what the world could be if Republicans were completely in charge: Scared (mostly) white people in a militarized labyrinth of blockades in strategic dead ends ... all for your protection. Attendees endured security checks inside secured perimeters within partitioned areas. "Small government" police brigades were in roving gangs toting small arms.
There was no way to just walk around downtown Tampa that week, it could've been re-named "Tamped Down." All in the name of freedom.
It was a chilling reality in 98-degree heat.
The RNC should have been the funnest place on Earth to be a Republican this past August 27-30.
Well, maybe it was the funnest place on Earth if you're a Republican. Maybe they're no longer fun. They didn't appear to be having a good time. By most accounts they were cranky.
The fracturing of their party started the moment John McCain picked Sarah Palin. In case that doesn't seem fair, let me explain:
When Palin "went rogue," suddenly the disciplined Grand Old Party became awash in tea; a pack of rogue elephants indulging in any nuts available.
The party of Lincoln quickly became the party of Akin, a politician whose sin was saying what he and his party believe (which is basically thinking you can sell any myth, no matter how ridiculous, by saying a doctor told you it was true).
For the second straight time, the RNC's week started off with a hurricane cancelling the first day of the convention. Republicans have not only become climate deniers — they're weather deniers now too. August? Florida? Sure!
The end of the week was marked by a primetime speech by an octogenarian offended by a potty-mouthed imaginary President Obama sitting on stage. "I'm not going to shut up. It's my turn," said the Hollywood legend turned metaphor for the GOP during the Obama administration, Clint Eastwood.
Eastwood is fed up with a President Obama who only exists when two or more Republicans are gathered together.
On the other hand, the Democratic National Convention was packed full of the folks Republicans are trying to take their country back from: gay couples, inter-racial couples, non-Cuban Latinos, workers, non-billionaires, "sluts," immigrants, African-Americans, liberals, civil servants, Reagan Democrats and women who aren't just a Republican's mom. Basically what America (love it or leave it) now looks like.
The DNC looked like America in 2012. The RNC looked like America in 1912.
The DNC was also impacted by weather. Bank of America stadium was sold out, according to the campaign, with a waiting list of reportedly 19,000 wanting to see the president of the United States speak.
The final night event was cancelled because the open-air stadium wasn't able to accommodate electronic equipment in the rain. Typical Obama: yes, he disappoints people, but often for something far "above his pay grade."
The chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus, after voting in his party's vindictive platform calling for more Americans to have fewer rights — was on auto-tweet the whole week of the DNC, "Is this going to be the last of the vitriol from the Dem party during their convention? Why aren't they talking about the issues?" he wrote. The idea both parties are just opposite equals, that they're really the lesser of two evils — six of one, half a dozen of the other — is a narrative the Republicans like to sell.
They'll tell you Democrats do the same thing Republicans are accused of doing. Republicans will tell you that Democrats want to kill Medicare, increase the debt and increase government spending. As President Clinton said in his speech at this year's DNC put it, "It takes a lot of brass to go after a guy for doing what you did."
The Republicans are angry victims of diversity and want their country back. And the Democrats? This year it seems they're optimistic ... which, for them, is real change.