I tried to watch Donald Trump’s speech at the Republican convention with an open mind. I really, truly, genuinely did. It was painfully difficult, like watching Joel Osteen for longer than 45 seconds without gagging or Fox “News” for the same amount of time without running shrieking from the room.
“Gahhhhh… the stupid is after me!”
To ease myself into it, I pretended that Trump is a Democrat, which wasn’t really that difficult on the heels of the best Doting Daughter speech ever delivered, from his daughter Ivanka. Oozing adoration aside, come on, you have to admit it: Ivanka smacked it out of the park — even though she has an annoying habit of stifling a giggle after the end of nearly every sentence.
What was that little giggle all about… was it simply nerves or is she laughing at us because we’re not in on the joke? You know — the one about Trump being qualified to be president. That one’s a hoot. But, because I’m determined, for the sake of my own sanity and serenity, to defy the prevailing national sentiment of divisiveness, bitterness and strife (for my next trick, I’ll boycott social media), I’m going to choose the positive spin: Ivanka was just nervous.
I’m also giving Melania Trump a pass for obviously plagiarizing Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech, because come on — who isn’t in love with Michelle? She even appeared in a segment of “Carpool Karaoke” this week, and nailed a sing-along of “Get Ur Freak On” by Missy Elliot, with Missy Elliot herself in the back seat!!! She even knew where the pauses were!!!
Yes — three exclamation points! Michelle was amazeballs!!!
Truly, there has never been, nor will be, a cooler cat in politics than Michelle Obama. (Which makes me fantasize about an Obama 2032 presidency. Yes, 2032, because Hillary gets eight years, followed another eight for Elizabeth Warren. I foresee an estrogen sweep of the White House for 24 years. This country needs a good, long, cleansing testosterone fast. A 24-year detox is in order.)
Ah, but enough about our First Lady, and back to the Lady Who Would Be First Lady. (Or not.) As I said — I give her a pass. Melania wasn’t ready for such a massive and weighty spotlight, and she’s been living in the very, very huge shadow of her husband for years, never challenged with anything more difficult than being a pretty decoration for his arm. Given The Donald’s loquacious nature and gigantic ego, she probably hasn’t said much more than “Yes, Your Grace” ever since she said “I do.”
Rather than letting Melania take the fall, the Trump campaign sacrificed a family friend who served as her speech writer but, oddly enough, didn’t touch the campaign staff member whose job it was to vet the speech for obvious bonehead mistakes like this. Unless… Melania really did “write” it, if you consider copying and pasting “writing.”
We can take away two things from Milli Vanilli Melania’s clumsy public debut:
One, if the Trump camp can’t handle a First Lady’s fluff speech, how the heck are they going to handle running the country?
And, two — Donald: Hire better speech writers. (Dude. I’m available. Say the word. I’ll send my résumé. I’m sure you pay more than the Winters Express.)
But enough about the constellation of Trump women around the main man — back to Trump’s convention speech.
As I said, I made an honest effort to just watch the speech with an open mind, not because I’m even remotely interested in voting for him, but because I know a whole bunch of people who are, and I want to understand them. There are people I know, people I adore, who are chanting “Trump, Trump, Trump,” and I just don’t get it. I keep expecting them to say, “Hah — punk’d you!” … but no. They’re apparently serious.
I have the same issue with Celine Dion fans. Just… why.
And so, I dug in on the recliner to figure out what the attraction of this crass, bombastic megalomaniac could possibly be.
I really, really tried.
My brain sabotaged me.
My brain (not me, but my brain) fell asleep three times. Not deep, comfy, too-much-dinner TV snoozing, when you wake up three hours later with drool on the corner of your mouth and your soft palate ground to hamburger from snoring, well into the Seth Myers show, and wondering how Aubrey Plaza is on every single talk show these days (has she been cloned?)… more like that dip of consciousness you experience when the anesthesia isn’t cranked up high enough. I’d pop back awake, then sink into blank oblivion again for a few moments.
No, it wasn’t true TV snoozing. This was something else. A physiological strategic survival maneuver. I think my brain was trying to protect me by shutting down the system every time I approached intellectual and spiritual overload — a cerebral circuit-breaker, if you will.
“Don’t hear these words, Debra… they will make you sad and tired, and also a tad misanthropic and, frankly, kind of bitchy… don’t go into the dark, Carol Ann!”
Despite its best efforts, my brain could only cover my ears and blabber “lalalalalalah” for short bursts. I’d snap to, and be inundated by Trump’s trademark angry C-average third-grader bluster again and again.
During these bursts of consciousness, I didn’t listen to his words, per se, but tried to decipher what it is about his words that attracts such wide appeal, such fervent and furious emotion, and I concluded this: Trump supporters are extremely angry and frustrated and fearful, and they’re fed up with how things are going and don’t have any idea of how to fix that other than putting Hillary Clinton in jail.
So…. in the spirit of defying divisiveness, bitterness and strife, and seeking common ground where we all connect: OK, Trump supporters, I get it. I understand anger, frustration and fear.
That said, #ImWithHer.