Christine Flowers, 7/28/2016 [Archive]

At the DNC, No Mention of ISIS

By Christine Flowers

The Republican National Convention was, despite conservative objections to the contrary, a dark affair. But to say that is not to be critical. To say that is to be practical, clear-eyed, and observant.

Donald Trump earned his nomination by playing on the justified fears of his audience, Americans who had been served a steady diet of terror, bloodshed and angry protest both here and abroad. San Bernardino, Orlando, Nice, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Munich, St. Paul, Dallas. It was not just about ISIS, or Islamic jihad. It was about anger in our own city streets, cops shooting civilians, and those same civilians targeting police officers like a sniper hunts its prey.

I watched both conventions, the dark one in Cleveland that played to our fears and our reality, and the glittering spectacle in my own hometown of Philadelphia that asked us to reject pessimism and embrace the philosophy synthesized in these words from a man I do love, Joe Biden: "We must rekindle the fire of idealism in our society."

I listened to speaker after speaker, to Michelle Obama with her maternal focus on what is good for our children, to Corey Booker who has the looks of a movie star and the histrionic delivery of a silent movie star. From Bill Clinton, who sang a pitch perfect but incomplete love song to his wife, to Tim Kaine, who is sweet but found a way to bore me in two languages. I was struck by one thing: There was no mention of those who had been killed by ISIS. It wasn't until deep into third evening of the convention that there was a reference to the assassination of Father Jacques Hamel, who was murdered by Islamic jihadists in the middle of celebrating the sacred Mass.

I waited for some reference, some moment of silence, some raised prayer in song or uplifted hands. All I got was Alicia Keys in some kitchen towels and no makeup wailing away about something, or a slickly executed video with a DNC "Fight Song."

But, you will probably say, why would the Democratic National Convention show respect for a priest who had been beheaded by Islamists in church? That's so dark, and Democrats don't do dark. They do sunshine, lollipops and flowers, except when they are talking about brutal police officers, bigoted religious conservatives or rich one-percenters.

But usually, they look to mountaintop of human experience, and advocate for those things that elevate the spirit and increase the potential of everyone regardless of color, class and creed. As a recent caller to my radio show said, liberals are all about fairness. That, in fact, is why the Democratic platform includes a provision that would nullify the Hyde Amendment and allow for taxpayer funding of abortion. After all, poor women and rich women should have the absolute same right to kill their unborn children.

Oh, sorry, that's dark and this is the DNC. I'll rephrase: All women should have equal access to reproductive healthcare. Better?

So I listened to this high-minded rhetoric about how united we are, how decent we are, how we can't let petty irrelevancies like race, and religion, and "who we love" divide us into the armed camps that are exploited by conservatives. According to the Democrats, all we need is love.

Well, excuse me for thinking that love wasn't enough to save Father Hamel as he fought for his life at God's altar. This is a dangerous world, and to ignore that fact in pursuit of some rosy fantasy that smells of patchouli and resounds with Kumbaya is suicide.

I am not a fan of Donald Trump, or his less than eloquent sound bites. He is a pragmatist, a businessman who has not always managed his affairs wisely and well, an opportunist and even, in some ways, a grifter.

But he is a realist, and he doesn't pretend that the murder of a Catholic priest in France is irrelevant to our necessary actions at home.

Not one of the major speakers at the DNC had the courage to promise that the evil soldiers of an evil cult would face annihilation. They held hands, spoke Spanish (Tim, you need to work on your accent), chanted about historic firsts and acted like the "grown-ups."

Grown-ups would have mentioned that a priest had been martyred. But they were too busy crowning a queen and living happily ever after.

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© 2016 Christine Flowers. Flowers is an attorney and a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, and can be reached at cflowers1961@gmail.com.

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