Episode 51: Reality Not Concerning

In the fifty-first episode of The Latest, we watch the fireworks fizzle out of the 2020 Republican National Convention. City of Chicago policy planner Jeff Garceau joins the program for this week’s O.J. Simpson Twitter Update.

Episode 51: Reality Not Concerning
Season 2

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Those voices are discussing the Republican National Convention, the GOP version of Coachella where bands are swapped out for white nationalists.

Seeking to strike a positive tone concerning the future direction of the country, Republicans left viewers with an unmistakably optimistic message: if you haven’t already been killed in Donald Trump’s America, you’ll definitely be killed in Joe Biden’s America.

Over the course of the four evening affair, the likes of Mike Pence, Trace Adkins, and Melania Trump each took to the stage to remind the country what it looks like when your career doesn’t quite work out the way you had intended. 

Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the menacing St. Louis couple who answered the question of who would shop at Kohl’s if they sold automatic weapons, asserted that Democrats want to “abolish the suburbs altogether,” accelerating the decline of those who already live in the suburbs because a more interesting life hadn’t panned out.

The president’s son’s wife rousingly misquoted Abraham Lincoln by lifting words he never said from a Facebook meme, a step up from the words by Jefferson Davis that Stephen Miller typically cribs off of Parler. 

And the father of student murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School asserted that members of the “far left” were responsible for his daughter’s death, because she had been killed by people, not gun control laws — which must be why AR-15 magazines are loaded with pages from the Congressional Record.

But the star of the show, burning out like a giant ball of gas, as all stars do, was President Donald Trump. 

After he pardoned a former felon in front of the cameras as if he were a Thanksgiving turkey, granted citizenship to five immigrants in what looked like The Bachelor’s rose ceremony just off the Rose Garden, and gave his eldest daughter the opportunity to run for student council in prime time, Mr. Trump laid out his core message to be re-elected to a job that he doesn’t enjoy doing.

Clocking in at over 6,000 words spanning 70 minutes, the President characterized his detractors as Marxist revolutionaries, socialist abolitionists, and, perhaps worst of all, Americans. 

Asking for a second term as leader of the free world, Mr Trump worried that under Democratic control, cancel culture will run rampant, robbing Scarlett Johansson of the opportunity to play more Asian characters, extreme late-term abortion will be embraced until the moment a child enters middle school, and this country’s borders will remain open to anyone who wishes to enter, legally or illegally, so they can pursue the American Dream of catching the virus in a Walmart from an unemployed college football fan who refuses to wear a mask because of a guy who washes windows that made a YouTube video about why he’s smarter than a doctor.  

Between both conventions, we heard plenty of on-brand propaganda from each of this country’s two legacy politics brands. 

The Democratic Party wants everyone to be so nice to each other we’re smiling all the time, and if our faces hurt from the smiles, don’t worry, the heath insurance is free.

The Republican Party, meanwhile, wants you to simply mind your own business — while they fully intrude on your business.

In the last episode, I characterized the race between Mr Biden and Mr Trump as an obvious choice of good versus bad: would you prefer the chicken this evening, or the lasagna filled with glass? 

But after watching both conventions, it became clear to me that this choice isn’t so obvious — after all, the glass is covered in a thin layer of mozzarella and marinara — because the Democratic Party is the party of Reality. 

The reality of needing health insurance, needing mail, needing meaningful police reform, and needing to hear from the Clinton family precisely once every four years, no more, no less.

But between the empty ear canals of the conservative news media and Facebook’s jihadist recruitment network, the GOP is the party of pure fantasy — you’d think think Republicans all had Oculus Rifts strapped to their heads if they didn’t have such an aversion to covering their faces in public. 

The president’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow referred to the pandemic in the past tense, kind of like how he “used to be” a coke addict, and it’s no surprise that he and so many others are pretending that the pandemic has subsided when almost nothing has changed in six months, especially when you consider that many of those very same people are the ones who boo wearing masks in a crowd, believe the letter Q is kicking sex offenders off of Sesame Street, and think that Mr. Trump is a religious man because he showers himself in praise while pretending to drop money into the collection basket.

I’m not under the impression that by laying all of this out, I’ll be changing anyone’s mind —wait a second, Mr. Trump isn’t necessarily telling the truth? — is not a likely epiphany for the kinds of people who believe that magician really pushed that quarter through the dinner table on that cruise ship. 

But for anyone else who’s considering sitting out this election, who hasn’t made a plan to vote by mail or in person, or thinks that things aren’t really going to get worse than they already are, I hope that you’ll take action against the people currently holding the White House before their fantasy becomes our reality.