Re-Framing the RNC, NOT!
At the end of the first day of the Republican National Convention, Nicole Wallace mused that considering who was chosen to speak and what they had said, they seemed to be aiming at the people generally considered Trump’s dedicated and unshakeable core. Certainly they seemed oddly old-fashioned, in the way that Trump saw the world when he began to be adult and assumed the world would never change. He reinforces this worldview with old movies on TV after midnight.
To Wallace it suggested a need to make sure that the basic fraction that shows up in polls remained loyal. After all, many have left, even hard-core Republicans. Some to prison. Who can blame them? Clearly everything is different, even with a president who refuses to change his mojo or to observe any previous Republican standards.
Somewhere in the labyrinth of leadership skills taught formally and informally, is the strategy for breaking up polarized binaries. It’s two-fold: one is finding a category that includes both opposing concepts, like Tillich’s brilliant resolution of Being confronting Non-being on the Ground of Being. The other one is reducing the big things to a horde of little things, with the illustration of a big thing not being able to get through a grid screen, but if it were made into small components, it could go through. I can’t lift a case of catfood when it’s delivered, so I simply open the box and carry in the cans.
Closely related is the idea that if you look at a jail cell door of bars, it would be a good idea to ignore the bars and think about the spaces between them. What can go through those spaces? What can the spaces be used for? It’s not as idle as you might think.
At first glance, I guess the political binaries deadlocked in America share the idea of “winner take all.” It would be fascinating if a book explained all the little components that finally coalesced into that idea. It is so rigid that it crowds out the big overarching category of America the Inclusive.
These counter-strategies are grouped as re-framing, which means taking a new point of view, which often reveals ideas not previously considered. Reflection on this second political convention — which is not a convention at all since the order of events has been reversed with the nomination first instead of last — it reveals that the nomination of Trump was a foregone conclusion so it could be gotten out of the way at the beginning. That piece of business interfered with the adulation. My father used to say, “We’ll take a family vote and then I’ll decide.” He wasn’t joking.
Re-framing means looking at new facts, but Trump doesn’t do that. Facts are swept aside by the need to say “best,” “most”, “no one ever imagined”, “the world is in awe”, and other excesses from Barnum and Bailey. What this shows again is that the nomination means nothing. It isn’t necessary. There is no developed and discussed platform. In the next two months this convention will have no impact at all. We will still be worrying about the pandemic and global warming. No answers were sought.
The constant assault on propriety, the Rule of Law, and responsibility have reframed what is possible when in defying all safe-guards, just ignoring them. It is a premise for the moment, not for the future. We are forced to rethink the oversights and assumptions about politicians, which weren’t flattering anyway, and in fact even redefine the nature of democracy when it is in name only. Clearly it’s possible to fool some of the people all of the time. Now we know who they are.
They go low, because that’s their practice — not the Repubs, but the Trumpists. If the Dems manage to go high anyway — they don’t always — that makes the Trumpists crazy and the real Repubs wistful, sometimes finding the need to get out for the sake of sanity. Reframing taken to an extreme can reveal that what was taken for granted, what was never even imagined, is just this side of madness. When one sees that people formerly considered heroes are on the take, merely criminals, sanity is shaken. But the new “frame” some choose IS crime, though they were not born to it and don’t do it well.
So many concepts have been questioned — nations, science, democracy, gender, defiant treason, covert deals, and gangland threats — that the law is barely relevant, especially when the judges, even on the Supreme Court, can be controlled. Family is reduced to opportunities for extortion. I was not a fan of Justice Thomas nor even Scalia, and certainly not Kavanaugh, but it was Kennedy who broke my heart. I had believed in him.
Trump is exercising the Law of Unintended Consequences daily. His refusal to take responsibility for organizing and funding a strong central national body to manage Covid-19 has meant that states are forced to form coalitions to provide their people with help. “Let the governors do it,” Trump said. So they are and in the process defining new ways of working together that could lead to strong opposition to feds or even departure from the Union. Their new points of view reveal new options, like common cause and cooperation.
Firing all experts in every field and decapitating the Civil Service, then pushing fake remedies and milking everything for personal profit, especially relating to his properties, has provided the eventual reformers with convenient targets for impoundment. As the result of trials, the government already owns apartments in Trump Tower. Motivation for recording and clawing back laundered money is high and we know where it is.
Trump’s dependence on his “children” — without giving them either freedom to develop or authority of their own — has set them up as targets, mockeries of real people, emotional cripples, dummies and pawns of foreign countries. His mob-boss TV idea of luxury has created environments of either overblown gold-plated formal rooms or the slightly worn and Fifties retreats at his golf “resorts”. His idea of a banquet for athletes is piles of cheeseburgers, because his real understanding of African Americans is that they are ghetto people. He thinks that’s the natural order of things.
To create new frames for living, one must leave the old ones but he and his loyalists will never do that, don’t know that it’s possible. But meanwhile, time and the world go on and these are reframing in a way that disintegrates his old assumptions. His flubber-faced enthusiasm for fantasy is plainly crazed now. He stands butt-out, wobbling and weaving, and we suspect that just behind the scenes may be a wheelchair. We don’t know which brand of adult diapers he prefers. Nor the brand of that fake stuff on his face and hair might be called, but we can see the edges and the places he missed when he rubbed it on. He never realizes what we see because he doesn’t see us. In his frame there’s no picture. Only a fun house mirror.