If you could bear to watch the de facto opening night of the Republican Convention, you would have seen something amazing. I don’t mean Benedict Lieberman’s speech. Nor am I referring to the remarks from Fred Thompson or President Bush. No, it was looking at the audience that gave me pause.
The attendees that made up the Democratic Convention reflected the American that I know. In the halls of that convention were white, black and brown, male and female, young and old. It was a representation of the America that I know and love. Looking at the Republican Convention reminded me of the country club down the road from me – exclusive and forbidding. See, this country club, though they don’t admit it, doesn’t allow women or minorities to join. The Republican Party on display at the convention seems to represent an ever shrinking slice of America, marked by their exclusivity and xenophobia.
And no, it’s not because they are white. There are plenty of white people in the Democratic Party. It’s because they see their fellow Americans as barbarian invaders, looking to usurp what they hold dear. The Tom Tancredo set in the Republican Party zeros in on foreigners as the “other” that is determined to destroy America. For social conservatives, it is the liberal Huns that threaten their way of life. And for the ultra-wealthy that keep the Republicans financially competitive, it is the thought of all of those poor people making off with their money.
Republicans are brought together by fear. It is no wonder then that their messages are so negative. The terrorists are going to get you – Vote Republican. The foreigners will take your jobs – Vote Republican. Democrats are really socialists that are after your money – Vote Republican. I only hope this time around that people can see past their fears and vote for their hopes.
You may be wondering where this horrible country club is that I mentioned earlier. It may surprise you, but I live in California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. That’s right - the supposed liberal bastion is home to plenty of fear-mongerers. But I say, let them have their club, and let them have their convention. We just don’t want them running our country anymore.