The convention’s host, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, and other members of the Illinois delegation stood up and shouted insults at the senator from Connecticut. It was an electrifying moment, a rare case of the reality of the streets intruding on the packaged rhetoric of a political convention.
No such unscripted moment was allowed at this week’s carefully orchestrated Republican National Convention, despite the tumult occurring outside: the protests after the shooting of a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, culminating in the arrest of a 17-year-old charged with killing two protesters; the fierce hurricane slamming into coastal Louisiana; the wildfires consuming homes and forests in California; and the continuing march of a pandemic that has left more than 180,000 Americans dead.
Covid-19 is under control, Trump asserted, and America is reopening. As if to punctuate that message, he assembled 2,000 people on the White House’s South Lawn with few precautions to prevent it from becoming a super spreader event.
It also presented a dangerous image to viewers, he wrote. “At a time when public health experts are trying to persuade Americans to wear masks and practice social distancing, they saw hundreds upon hundreds without masks and jostling close together.”
‘Quite a show’
It just may work
Americans have seen Donald Trump up close as President for nearly four years and as a reality show star for a lot longer. Their view of him seems unlikely to change in the 70 days before the election. But branding — and rebranding — is what he does.
Nonetheless, the RNC featured a parade of people vouching for Trump’s magnificence. It “painted a picture of an administration that had completely eradicated myriad scourges, including Covid-19, ISIS, the Middle East conflict, unemployment, the opioid crisis, criminal over-sentencing, sexism, racism and a swamp that needed draining — and Trump alone deserves all the credit,” wrote SE Cupp. None of it was true, she noted, “nor does it tell the story of Trump’s corruption, incompetence, nepotism, cronyism, abuses of power and lawlessness.”
For more on the campaign:
Search for a vaccine
In his acceptance speech at the RNC, President Trump promised to “produce a vaccine before the end of the year, or maybe even sooner.” And the Financial Times reported that the administration may bypass normal procedures to fast track the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, noted infectious disease expert Dr. Kent Sepkowitz.
“This tough-guy approach of pushing aside regulations to introduce an incompletely studied vaccine is an enormous mistake,” Sepkowitz wrote. “The Oxford vaccine, while promising, is still in the early stages of clinical development.” Possible side effects need more investigation, and we don’t yet know how the vaccine would affect the most vulnerable parts of the population, he said.
On Sunday, a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times. The tense days that followed didn’t surprise Denise Lockwood, who has covered the southeastern part of the state for more than 20 years. The city — and region — “has struggled with issues of systemic racism… mass incarceration, high infant mortality, lack of mental health care access, unequal education, unemployment and drugs.”
“When I covered Wilson Heights, where the shooting of Jacob Blake happened, I remember reporting on a gang-related shooting where an apartment building got shot up, and a bullet went through a wall, through the leg of a mother and into her daughter’s leg,” Lockwood wrote.
“They survived. But how do you live with that? Who pays for that untreated trauma?
The next 100 years
“We must recognize gender violence as the national crisis that it is and use the franchise to ensure both our political and personal equality,” wrote Anita Hill.
Melinda Gates had sobering words about what happens if progress continues at its slow pace: “it will take another 208 years to reach gender equality in the United States. That means you won’t see it, I won’t see it and even a little girl born a century from today won’t see it in her lifetime either.”
One thing is for sure: “money equals power,” Billie Jean King said. “Women have not been taught to follow the money. We need to fix that and fix it now…With money comes choices and mobilization. With money comes freedom and equality.”
A popular view is that friendship “should be effortless” and that “the grit and striving of emotional relationships is most applicable to the work of marriage, siblings and child-rearing,” Carr wrote. But the authors have a more realistic approach: “Key to sustaining big friendships…is the ‘stretch,’ Sow and Friedman’s extended metaphor for the ways that both members of a ‘big friendship’ have to recognize that no friendship lasts on autopilot.”
New York City, dead or alive?
We asked economist Jeffrey Sachs, a New Yorker, who’s right.
“NYC will survive the Covid-19 pandemic, as it did the 1918-19 flu epidemic, 9/11, and other calamities,” Sachs wrote. “And as Seinfeld rightly notes, so too will other great cities such as Rome, which after all first became known as the Eternal City (Roma Aeterna) in the 1st century BC.”
It may take several years, but Covid-19 will subside. The world is becoming increasingly urbanized, as farms have grown more productive and need fewer workers. People prefer cities: “The services are far better, the entertainment is far more varied (Seinfeld and all), and the violent crime rates in US cities have plummeted, though with a spike this year,” Sachs wrote.
That doesn’t mean things will be easy for New York over the next few years, he added. The number of empty storefronts “will be staggering, indeed depressing.” To keep public services running, New York will have to turn to its super-wealthy — there were 111 billionaires living there last year.
But a drop in the cost of living will lure young people back. “Rents will go down, property prices will go down, commercial space will be converted. NYC is the place where meatpacking plants became high-end art galleries, garment factories became chic hotels, and a former railway spur became the much-beloved High Line outdoor walkway, residential and shopping area.”