In few days, I’ll be in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention.
Of course I didn’t expect to see Donald Trump there. But Trump’s ascendancy to the brink of power promises to make this convention an extraordinary experience.
After all, when have you ever heard of a billionaire throwing a party and A-listers line up to send regrets?
The last two Republican presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, aren’t going. John McCain and Mitt Romney will be no-shows. Even the Illinois delegation won’t have a leader as Gov. Bruce Rauner also chose to sit this one out.
Because top party leaders are skipping the coronation, this convention will truly be a gathering of the party faithful.
If Trump loses to Hillary Clinton, he’ll go back to building towers and golf courses, but his groupies will still be out there spewing the ugly rhetoric that worked its way back into the public discourse.
This time around we’ll get a clearer picture of what conservatives mean when they speak of the “Real America.”
While some say the reference is to the folks who embrace values such as gun ownership, Christianity and conservative ideology, “Real America” is another buzzword for “White America.”
Frankly, if gun ownership was the true measure, then urban cities (with their predominantly black and brown populations) have a lot in common with so-called “Real America.”
There are an awful lot of guns on the streets of cities like Chicago.
So far this year, Chicago police have taken more than 3,000 illegal guns off the street. Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson recently told reporters that police have removed one illegal gun per hour every day.
But the more illegal guns police confiscate, the more illegal guns flow into low-income neighborhoods, leading activists to argue the weapons are intentionally being dumped into black areas.
As for embracing Christianity, black neighborhoods have a church on just about every corner.
When I questioned my father about his politics (he was a Democrat), he told me Republicans look out for the rich people and Democrats look out for the poor.
But, of course, politics isn’t that cut and dried.
Barack Obama made history in 2008 when he became the first African-American to become president.
But he almost shot himself in the foot during that contentious contest with Hillary Clinton when he was recorded telling a group of well-heeled supporters at a fundraiser in San Francisco, he wasn’t surprised working-class voters in Pennsylvania were bitter.
“They cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” Obama said.
When the comments became public, Obama was forced to suck up his words.
Frankly, when most black folks hear the term, “Real America,” all they see are good ol’ boys sitting on porches with rifles on their laps.
Last week, ex-Congressman Joe Walsh cemented this image when he put out a now-deleted tweet warning President Obama to watch out after five police officers were killed in Dallas.
“Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you,” Walsh tweeted.
According to Walsh, the tragic ambush of 11 Dallas police officers means war.
Obviously, the radio talk show host has found a platform for his brand of hate. It is too bad that media can’t ignore such foolishness.
But after Trump’s romp to the GOP nomination, ignoring foolishness isn’t an option.
This political season, the GOP convention will be the place where the “Real America” shows up, for real.