I thought I would check out the North Carolina Republican Convention being held in Charlotte this weekend. This group has been responsible for so many pieces of legislation and bills that are harmful to people in poverty and those living paycheck to paycheck, I thought I would check it out. The bizarre irony is at the same convention center, the comic book franchise Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find was having a Comicon. So, as I walked up I saw people young and old dressed in elaborate costumes from Two Face in Batman to Wonder Woman and so on. These folks were in the same place and having lunch right next to a very homogeneous looking crowd of Americans with delegate tags.
The ironies were several. My first thought is this is America. We are an assortment of all kinds of people with different interests, issues and eccentricities. I think I have confessed before I love the eclectic and am especially fond of southern eccentricity. One of my favorite Pat Conroy characters is from the “Prince of Tides.” The old grandpa used to lug a cross around town every Good Friday before Easter. When he got too old, they put the cross on roller skates to make it easier for him. I love that guy and thank you Pat for bringing him to us.
My second thought is one group of people is looking to appeal to a younger, more diverse crowd. What better opportunity to recruit about as much diversity as you could ever fathom? Yet, I did not see much inter-mixing, but a chance was missed. What I did see was the following demographic in the NC GOP – an older crowd, with a few young folks inter-mixed. I did not see much diversity, something they would like to remedy. Along with others, I have tried to tell them you cannot kick minorities in the groin with the changes you are doing and then ask them to join your club. There was a small gathering of the Moral Monday protestors outside, but I think they are saving up for a much larger protest in Raleigh on Monday. By the way, most of the Moral Monday protestors outside were Caucasion-American, one a minister, advocating for the disenfranchised, many of whom are African-American and Hispanic-American.
My third thought is the GOP is looking for a hero, but in their case it may be hard to find. The reason I say this is the party is splintering further between the established GOP and the Tea Partiers with a few Libertarians thrown in. I saw a table which was very accusational toward Karl Rove, the feature speaker of the weekend. I heard someone chatting about how the established GOP has let us down for 20 years. This is within the party ranks. I was bemused and concerned by a banner offering discounted, quality assault weapons and found that not surprising, but terribly out-of-place to my way of thinking. It will be hard to find a hero that can appease this base and be electable on a national scale. On the gerrymandered NC districts the GOP led legislators constructed after the last census, more rational North Carolinians will have a hard time unseating some the folks who have some rather extreme views.
My final thought is who was creating the greater fantasy? The costumed crowd or the ones who watch their own news stations, read the same biased data, and create plans to save America based on faulty problems or shadows in the night. The costumed crowd knows they are dealing in fanstasy, the ones without don’t realize many of the platform positions – global warming, gun control, environment, immigration, gay rights, job creation, poverty, the Affordable Care Act – are based on faulty information. Maybe the ones without the costumes should go get Captain America from the convention hall next door. That hero may have a better shot at pulling them through.