You wake up Tuesday morning and get ready for another day at work– this time at the Republican National Convention. You work for CNN. You are a woman. You are Black.
So as you walk through the convention center with your camera (you work as a camerawoman), you turn around– because you think you’re being heckled. A peanut hits you. And then another. The man throwing peanuts at you yells: "This is how we feed animals!!"
Welcome to the Republican National Convention.
This camerawoman is one of us. She is the type of person the GOP is fighting for. A person who gets up every morning, likely has traveled a long distance to be away from her family to earn a paycheck. She pays her taxes.
But she’s Black and, according to some at the GOP National Convention, that makes her an animal.
That makes me an animal.
There are times I toy with becoming a Republican. I would love to pay lower taxes. I think many of our tax dollars are wasted and I’d like it if our government would use the same scrutiny with the tax dollars we give it as the scrutiny my household uses when making decisions on what we can afford and not afford.
Then something like this happens which serves as a reminder why being a Republican can’t happen. I’m not welcome. Too many within that party at least privately share the feelings of their brethren who threw peanuts at a woman because of the color of her skin. The national party condones this type of behavior. If they didn’t, then how come the national GOP hasn’t been more aggressive in denouncing this sort of behavior? When tea-partiers spit on Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver during the health care debate, how come that was tolerated? When tea-partiers chanted "ni**er" at Georgia Congressman John Lewis, a civil rights hero, and it’s tolerated (it was defended by some as being some sort of liberal plant story that didn’t happen), how can it be argued that this sort of behavior is not part of their strategy to regain the White House and both houses of congress?
Look at Donald Trump and the rest of the birthers. It would be easy for GOP leaders to distance themselves from the conspiracy that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. It would be easy to condemn birthers with the same passion as the President. To believe birthers, you would have to believe the state of Hawai’i is part of a conspiracy in authenticating a fake birth certificate that Barack Obama made. And that the Honolulu newspaper ran a fake birth announcement. Or that two people in Kenya had enough forethought that their son could be the president of the United States that they mailed in the fake announcement to a Honolulu newspaper (from Kenya) so the birth announcement could run in an American newspaper.
Mitt Romney tacitly endorsed this by standing on the same stage as Donald Trump. The national GOP, by not saying more against it, has also endorsed this fringe group as people it doesn’t want to turn off. It means Republican votes.
I have argued with Obama supporters that the GOP has been softer on its opposition to Obama relative to Bill Clinton when he was president. I have believed that but I go back and forth on it. Certainly the tone is different. There is a disrespect for President Obama from some quarters that borders on homicidal. The contempt for this president fuels the rage of the right. And the GOP’s failure to repudiate the disrespect, contempt, and rage is evidence they endorse it. While George W. Bush was President, a military friend told me to respect the office, if not the man.
The GOP strategy of demonizing the President does exactly the opposite. If you choose to discredit by demonization, then when the opposition gains power, your supporters will expect you not to negotiate with them. You can’t negotiate with Hitler, right?
Then, you become the party of "No!" and nothing gets done. That is what has happened the last four years.
So that’s where I am. I am not in love with Democrats, but at the very least, I can walk in the room with them and not be subjected to racist taunts, or be in a room with people who would subject others to racists taunts.
So although I flirt with supporting Republicans, until the GOP condemns the elements in their party that engage in spitting on congressmen while calling us "ni**er" and animals, and condemn that action with the same passion as they condemn the president, it will be damn near impossible to stand up and being counted as one of them.
And that’s just me. I’m sure some women, Latinos and gays feel the same way.