I watched some of the Republican National Convention last night.
At first, it was rather sleepy. As far as I can see, Willie Robertson and Scott Baio got scattered, tepid applause.
Then Marcus Luttrell, a former Navy Seal, spoke, and he brought down
the house. At first, he fumbled through his speech, but then he said
that he would forget about his prepared remarks and speak from the
heart. The audience responded with thunderous applause. A lot of what
he said consisted of patriotic platitudes. He made good points, though,
about thinking about others besides ourselves. Why did the audience
respond so well to him? Maybe they liked his heroism, or his books, or
just someone being real, for a change.
Then there was Pat Smith’s speech. Pat Smith’s son, Sean, died in
the Benghazi attack, and Pat is holding Hillary Clinton personally
responsible. Pat said that her son called the day before the attack and
said that security was being withdrawn, and he couldn’t find out why.
Pat also said that, at her son’s funeral, Hillary Clinton blamed the
attack on a video. Implicitly, Pat was criticizing the contradictory
statements that the Obama Administration made soon after the attack.
Pat contrasted Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump, who speaks his mind
and his heart. The speech was very emotional, and many in the audience
Pat Smith’s speech was similar to other speeches last night, in that
many of the speeches were from people who lost family, and they were
blaming the loss on the Obama Administration. One lady blamed her son’s
death in Afghanistan on the military’s restrictive policies, which she
said hindered the troops from getting the job done. There were people
whose family members were killed by illegal immigrants.
There were also African-American speakers who were saying that blue
lives matter. And, while the audience was mostly white, there were some
African-Americans in the audience, cheering. In contrast to the 2012
GOP convention, however, I did not see too many Hispanics.
Melania Trump was trying to portray her husband as an inclusive,
compassionate sort of person. She said that he would represent people
of all religious faiths, including Islam. She noted that, as a
businessman, he worked with people of different faiths. She also
promoted new programs to help the poor. These were surprising things to
hear at a Republican convention, especially when the candidate became
popular after criticizing illegal immigration and proposing a ban on
Muslims entering the U.S.
Interestingly, even Giuliani’s speech tried, on some level, to
distant the party from Islamophobia. He made the point of criticizing
radical Islam. But, for the benefit of the media (and that’s what he
said, not me), he said that does not include all of Islam, or even most
A commentator said that the Republicans in the prime-time part of the
convention try to speak to the mainstream of America. Maybe that was
what was going on with the speeches by Melania and Giuliani. At the
same time, I would not be surprised if there is some inclusivist side to
Donald Trump, since he has had to work with different people in the
past, and he probably respects talent wherever he can find it, whatever
that person’s background.
I read different things last night, in an attempt to fact-check what
was said. What exactly happened at Benghazi? What are the crime
statistics regarding illegal immigrants? What restrictive policies was
that one mother criticizing?
On Benghazi, would Hillary Clinton deliberately withdraw security
from Benghazi, so people would die? I have my doubts, since that
wouldn’t make her look good, but I have not read up on the conspiracy
theories. But, at most, the speakers at the convention (at least
Giuliani) seemed to be accusing her of negligence. I have read a
variety of things: the security was not ordered to stand down but to
wait for provisions; that security was withdrawn before the attack
because it was deemed unnecessary; that the government wanted to keep
the Benghazi site a secret (Andrea Mitchell said something like that, as
I recall); and that Republican cut-backs resulted in the lack of
security at Benghazi.
On crime statistics and illegal immigrants, I read both sides. I
heard someone say a while back that many illegal immigrants try to keep
the law, since, if they are arrested, they may face a greater chance of
deportation. They want to keep under the radar, as much as possible,
and that is an incentive to keep the law. That makes some sense to me.
On the military restrictions, I read on a right-wing site that they
relate to protecting allies and civilians. Some may say that President
Obama here is putting American lives at risk in seeking to appease other
countries. But we are in Afghanistan, other people’s land, so
shouldn’t we try to avoid killing civilians there?
These are just thoughts, and I’m sure they can be nitpicked.
At least there is a convention to watch! The Donald got speakers! People were wondering if that would happen.