The Republican Convention 2016 is history, and, speaking for myself, few things turned out the way I wanted them. Be that as it may, the experts will be—at least for a few more days—hashing and re-hashing the various speeches and incidents: Trump’s speech, Cruz’s speech, Pence’s speech, the kids’ speeches (by now, Melania’s “plagiarism” of Michelle’s clichés is old news).
And, of course, the protests—except that there so little to report. Not that the MSM isn’t trying. Cleveland, you’ll recall, was supposed to be Chicago 1968 with the added spice of its being a Republican, not a Democrat, Convention, the place where real Molotov-cocktail-throwing protests against racism, imperialism, and robber-baronism are supposed to happen. Too bad that memorable brawl of ’68 took place in Chicago, that bastion of Democrat machine politics; Cleveland would set the record straight and put riots where they belong.
Alas, nothing of the kind happened. Ah, but you say, what about the flag burning, the Code Pinko who interrupted Trump’s acceptance speech, the Wall of Trump?
Yeah, well, what of them? The flag burning was staged by an outfit known as the “Revolutionary Communist Party, USA,” the national membership of which is unknown although it might be guessed from the small number that gathered to burn Old Glory, simultaneously catching one or two of their own afire. As for the Wall of Trump, word has it that dozens participated, but for all the attention they got, they may as well have built their wall in somebody’s back yard.
The protestor who interrupted Trump’s address was one Medea Benjamin, a “veteran protestor” according to Hunter Walker of Yahoo! Euripides must be smiling somewhere. Medea has shown up, as befits a veteran, at more than one political event to vent her rage at the usual outrages: racism, anti-feminism, and, the new kid on the protest block, Islamophobia. She is reported to have screamed, “He’s a danger to our country and the world! He’s a danger to all of us! Say no to Donald Trump! He’s a danger to the world!” before being hustled out of the Quicken Loans Arena by security guards. One would think Trump was Jason.
Later on, in a calmer frame of mind, Medea assured anyone who would listen that Code Pink did not have a political agenda for or against any specific party. As Yahoo! reported, she’s riled at Hillary’s “hawkish” policies too. “So it wasn’t anything done to support one party or the other.” I’m sure she meant every word, but I also would like to know the last time Code Pink showed up at a rally to accuse Democrats of racism (as in Black Lives Matter) or foreign adventurism (as in Obama’s delayed exit from Afghanistan). As for Islamophobia, I’ll admit not too many Democrats, as they are quick to assure one and all, are likely to be charged with that particular sin, so the Republicans will just have to live with it.
All of which is to say, there was little, if anything, that was new in Cleveland. The protests were as paltry and predictable as yesterday’s news, which largely is what they were: yesterday’s news from fifty years ago, re-worked again and again to give the American left the comforting sense that the good old days of the sixties are somehow still with us. Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and Code Pink are little more than a dusting off of the New Left for an eager audience of old nostalgic and young wanna-be radicals.
So many of the men and women framing political discussion nowadays are the progeny—or the progeny of the progeny—of leftist professors of the sixties. They yearn for those political salad days: the anti-war marches, Marcuse’s lectures, the first issue of Rolling Stone, Woodstock, Quotations from Chairman Mao, and, oh yes, the riots in Chicago. Time may have marched on, the Soviet Union may have fallen, Mao may be dead, but, hey, we’ve got Black Lives Matter and a new Civil Rights Movement brewing for the LGBT community—as long as the Islamophobes don’t give Amerika (the preferred, Kafkaesque spelling in the sixties) the wrong idea about what happened in Orlando.
A few days before the convention, black protestors marched in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to voice their anger at the shooting Alton Sterling by police. During the event, a New York Daily News photographer snapped a picture of a woman, standing tall, dress “flowing” as riot police converged. You knew, one reporter rhapsodized, she would not be moved. The picture went, in current parlance, viral: a picture “for the ages,” as the MSM declared.
Whether the picture really is one for the ages or yet another attempt by the media to stir the pot of rancid leftist stew remains a point of debate. One thing is apparent. Ieshia Evans, the woman in the picture, told friends before the incident that she intended to get arrested. Lucky for her the Daily News photographer was nearby, ready to do his duty for the cause. It was 1964 all over again—except for the missing fire hoses, police dogs, and broken skulls. But the staffs of many a liberal news service felt ever so righteous about it.
Maybe that’s all they want to do—feel good, I mean—but I doubt it. The real goal in these brazen efforts is to control political discourse through carefully planned protests, usually with a compliant press corps to frame the “narrative” in a matter calculated to cow and ultimately scatter the opposition. It’s the old Alinskyite program in not-so-shiny gear.
Although, the media’s efforts notwithstanding, the formula didn’t work in Cleveland, that’s no guarantee that it won’t somewhere else before November. Philadelphia maybe? Surely not: that’s the Democrats show. Like Chicago 1968.