CLEVELAND (RNS) Extreme nationalism? Explicit racism? Unimaginable “winning” promised if you’ll only grant him power? The Devil was in Cleveland, and boy did he enjoy it. Here are the top six moments:
- Drunk Uncle after Drunk Uncle
Anti-immigrant, racist hate speech has always existed in America. It exists at our Thanksgiving dinner tables. The only difference between your holiday gathering and the RNC is that there was no one to tell your out of control uncle to go to bed. Would Bobby Moynihan’s Saturday Night Live character even have stood out?
2. The Nazi salute
Let’s do a thought experiment. If you were accused of making a Nazi gesture on national television, what would you do? Option 1: Disavow any sympathies with Hitler and support from neo-Nazis for your candidate, an issue that has plagued the Trump campaign for a year. Option 2: Post a collage of your opponent making somewhat similar hand gestures? Radio host Laura Ingraham chose the latter.
3. Ben Carson’s shout-out
Poor Ben Carson. Using Lucifer as a literary device to discuss evil in our society and the human tendency to choose self-interest over the common good is one thing. But Ben Carson seems to really believe a two-horned man covered in red paint is working through a dead Jewish activist to win Hillary Clinton’s allegiance. The very literal Satan is, for Carson, also responsible for the not so literal “the theory of evolution.”
4. Violence unhinged
Throughout the Abrahamic religious tradition, God is described as going on and on about not killing each other. Have you ever wondered why? Possibly because of the human desire to kill the enemy. The bloodthirsty folks at the RNC are no exception. Chris Christie unleashed a unrelenting mob attack on “good Methodist girl” Hillary Clinton, but even that paled in comparison. Trump adviser and New Hampshire state Rep. Al Baldasaro summed up the prevailing attitude of the angry masses: “Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason.” Perhaps even more bizarrely, delegates approved a platform that said the answer to perceived rising crime is more capital punishment.
5. The continued dehumanization of entire groups of people
Speaker after speaker made stirring cases that entire groups of people in the United States are to blame for societal ills. Combine that with The Donald’s claims of “safety” at any cost and you have a recipe for violence. There are 11 million undocumented immigrants working and living in the United States. There are over 2 million Muslims. Sit with those numbers. Those children. Those mothers and grandmothers. Then think over Trump’s claim “We will get them out.”
6. The preachers
Nothing is better than using God’s own emissaries on Earth to lead the people astray. So much of the conservative evangelical elite abandoned the RNC over Trump’s anti-religious liberty, anti-family, pro-dictatorship posture, leaving the campaign to turn to folks who won’t turn down a TV appearance: televangelists. Mark Burns brought a PRAYER! Notice the similarities between this speech and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Amen!