Over time I’ve really tended to pay quite a bit more attention to events that take place with long intervals of time before they return.
I think that’s why, back in 1986, I paid quite a bit of attention to Halley’s Comet. With a time interval somewhere in the 75-to-76 year range, no matter how much yogurt I eat, I just don’t think I’ll be around for the next celestial showing, say, around 2061.
So, with that in mind, I did watch quite a bit of the Republican National Convention last week from Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, or, as some in Cleveland call it, LeBron’s House. Really, it’s not that I’m all that vested in the affairs of politics but because I knew I’d be, if the Good Lord sees fit to keep me around, tapping lightly on my 70-year-old door before it returns.
From a largely apolitical perspective, by week’s end, I did manage to take a few notes and collect a few thoughts. Since this old retired English teacher loves alliterative phrasing, let’s drop my observations on parenting, plagiarism, protesting and pomp into the good old “P” bucket, shall we?
As for the parenting thing, I watched a procession of the Republican nominee’s four adult children — Donald Jr., Tiffany, Eric and Ivanka — literally knock speech after speech out of the poise park in front of upwards of 20,000 people in the arena and 25 million or so more watching on TV.
With looks galore and their own résumés of success, a couple of Gatsby-like young men and a couple more model-worthy young women stepped to the mic and delivered, I think, precisely what dear old Dad wanted and needed, to present him as someone with the right stuff for the job he seeks and to present him as an excellent parent as well.
Despite the privilege bestowed upon them, certainly one need look no further than a former Cleveland Browns No. 1 pick and occasional quarterback — someone who also grew up in an economically privileged home — as proof that there are no guarantees that growing up rich equals growing up well.
For those who believe in the age-old expression when it comes to parenting, “Family doesn’t lie,” they certainly saw that the oft-controversial and oft-bombastic Trump co-authored and mentored some pretty impressive young adults.
As for the whole Melania-plagiarism story, for me, this is a total nonstarter. First of all, the former native of Yugoslavia who speaks five languages and delivered the speech NOT in her native Slovenian language isn’t the one running for office.
No doubt, as an admitted admirer of Michelle Obama, she certainly mentioned this fact to a speechwriter. The two passages, comprised of a few lines of common touch points used by so many over the course of time — ideas involving the importance of hard work, the need to treat others with dignity, and the commitment to reach for the stars when it comes to goals — were a veritable drop in the bucket of the entire speech, one delivered far, far better than any one of her critics could have done were they expected to give a speech in Slovenian or her other languages of French, Serbian or German.
It’s a shame the speechwriter wasn’t well enough versed in the language to repackage ideas uttered by speakers and writers for generations before Mrs. Obama by using some synonyms and some clausal-phrasal reconstructions so the diction wasn’t so similar. And, that one’s on the speechwriter, not the possible first lady.
As for the protesting, I’m certainly glad there were only some arrests and no major incidents from those who came to express their rights of free speech, with those rights protected by scores of men and women in blue who have been so rocked by recent events where their brethren have been ambushed.
When I read of the individuals who tried to burn the American flag for which so many have died and so many proudly salute only to wind up setting themselves on fire, I had to do what many of you probably did, laugh.
As for the pomp, I’m also always amused by the juxtaposition of those at a national convention who come to watch, many of whom work in jobs with no fanfare, no giant projection screens, and no balloon drops, in direct contrast to those on the stage.
At any rate, with just a few hours remaining of this week’s Philly DNC, it’s time for that mano-a-womano stumping for votes, no doubt, weeks replete with enough distractions that even I may not remember my basket of “P” observations, so it’s a good thing I got them off my chest now.
John Grindrod is a regular columnist for The Lima News and Our Generation’s Magazine, a freelance writer and editor and the author of two books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.