Thursday, July 21, 2016

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

(By American Zen's @mikeflannigan59, on loan from Ari
"You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go go go, oh no.
You say goodbye and I say hello. "
-The Beatles, "Hello, Goodbye"
Quicken Loan Center, Cleveland--- 
When our front man Dave got signed to a solo deal in '78, literally leaving us in the dust of a parking lot in Ayer, MA, I could only imagine the culture shock when he went to LA. There he was, a 24 year-old guy from rural central MA getting thrust into the left coast of disco culture in which the locals wore outfits that bordered on the extra-terrestrial, encountering degenerate behavior that went far beyond smoking an occasional joint or having sex with the shades up.
     Now I need imagine no more. These past three days have been an eye-opening experience, even though I am friends (and am sharing a room) with Billy Frazee, a man who'd once drunk a quart of motor oil just before a gig. I am also a veteran of countless conventions of both political stripes. But this year's RNC Convention in Cleveland is shaping up to be the weirdest even for a party that is ingenious at redefining weirdness.
     Acting as carnival barker is Prison Planet's Alex Jones, libertarian lunatic extraordinaire, flying his Surrender Dorothy banner high above the convention center. There are the usual hucksters, con men and harmless morons wearing anachronistic straw boaters and "Hillary For Prison" tee shirts (a sentiment with which I cannot disagree but I fear the Sons & Daughters of Trump are still obsessed with Benghazi and Whitewater) who stand outside and in.
     There's a strange electricity in the air that was not in evidence as in Tampa four years ago or previous editions of the Republican National Convention. Or perhaps it is just the pent-up homosexual energy of horny gay Republicans looking for God knows what before they return home to their long-suffering, waiting Republican wives.
     And last night saw a strange reversal. Lame Duck Senator Ted Cruz personally witnessed the last stage of his evolution from Tea Party Darling to hated mainstream Republican establishmentarian. Essentially, much of the inside of the Quicken Loan Arena turned into Tea Bagger Central in a seeming (though very misleading) consensus for Donald Trump. And essentially, the only thing keeping the hilariously dysfunctional Trump campaign alive is xenophobia, misogyny, racism and a vague promise to put Hillary behind bars.

"Allahu Akbar, Y'all!"
     As it is reported during every GOP convention, gay hookup ads multiply like fruit flies on Craigslist, Grindr and where ever else gay men meet online for discreet encounters. This time around is no different as hypocritical Republicans cheering on the most LGBT-repressive platform of all time are taking to the internet looking for... Well, click on the link provided above. I've already taken enough hits for the team just for being here. Let's just say the official symbol for this convention could just as easily sport a pachyderm standing on something long and straight that isn't a guitar neck.

     And in a misguided attempt at looking for his own love, Ted Cruz told voters not to stay home and vote their conscience (Pretty innocuous and even commonsensical, true?) and somehow managed to implode his unannounced 2020 presidential campaign and pretty much the rest of his political career. How? Well, he failed to honor his vow to endorse Trump. By telling the attendees to "vote your conscience", he was basically telling them to write his name onto their ballots. The uproar was so great enraged Republicans were essentially lunging at Cruz and Ken Cuccinelli (Yes, that Ken Coochi Coochi) was temporarily turned into Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard and had to escort Heidi Cruz off the convention floor (while the ugly mob screamed, "Goldman Sachs!" at her).
     It's a helluva trick to make fellow Texan George W. Bush look urbane, articulate and loved by conspicuous relief but, by the grace of God, somehow Ted Cruz managed it. And yet, despite Cruz unintentionally hoisting himself on his own petard, it was a synecdochal display of rebellion from  mainstream Republicans of which Cruz, whether or not he wants to admit it, is now a part. The Dump Trump movement on Day One of the convention may have been a Quixotic farce doomed from the start but it still served notice that Trump is as loathed and distrusted by his party's voters as Hillary is by hers.
     And yet, there is still a disturbingly large number of voters who overlook Trump's obvious character flaws, epic failures and palpable lies and rah rah sis boom bah him with a manic, brainless viciousness we haven't seen since 1932 Germany. Such elements of the electorate on both sides of the aisle have a horrifying lack of discrimination regarding what the qualifications of a President should be (and it appears as if the ability to ignore countless scandals is among them). The only thing that remains to be seen is how Trump will react to a Twitter DM at three in the morning.

Giving Trump a Hand Up
     As proof the Republican Party is far superior to the Democrat Party in refusing to use the politics of fear in their platform, the RNC featured speakers who weren't actually part of Trump's bloodline who all essentially said the same thing: "Vote for Donald Trump or we all die." Laura Ingraham (above) was one of the earlier speakers and helpfully gave African Americans such as Charles Kinsey a pointer how to raise their arms to police without getting shot (One arm: Good. Two arms: Bad.).
     Before that, Rick Scott reminded America of what a true Marvel Nazi super villain is supposed to look like. Then there was Newt Gingrich who told us we were doomed unless we, yada yada. One of the Trump American Psycho boys took the stage to deliver a hagiography of Daddy only to have the Jumbotron behind him go black, a perfect symbol of Trump's strangely detached, Phantom of the Opera-like presence at the convention.
     Then, as we now know, Cruz did his vocational suicide bombing then something very strange in a night marked by nothing but happened. Mike Pence took the stage at 11, past prime time and was eventually joined by Donald Trump, who then blew an air kiss at Pence.
     While it's unclear why Trump would want to blow a kiss toward a running mate whose flat pie face brings to mind a shaved orangutan is anyone's guess. It would be tempting to go back to the Craigslist story but that would be too pedestrian for Trump. It does, however, bring to mind this disturbing blast from the past:

     And while I dump that nightmare fuel in your brain tank, please kindly remember I will have to endure the final night at the convention, which will undoubtedly be a crescendo of crazy, an orgy of hatred unimagined by Orwell in his Two Minutes Hates. It will be forever wedded to the nauseating smell of flop sweat, bourbon and Tic Tacs that may make necessary my telling Billy to start up his Harley in our room while we go gently into that good night.
     Just kidding. But tonight will no doubt be capped by a slightly elevated version of Trump's usual lazy rallies in which he'll rail about "Crooked Hillary", reveling in the fact his name will be the #1 trending topic on Twitter, with perhaps a bloated live timeline showing in real time how many retweets and favorites he'll get.


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