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Thursday, 30 August 2012 11:11

Seeing the GOP Convention as a Hieronymus Bosch Painting of Hell

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If you don't know of the work of Hieronymus Bosch, he was a Dutch painter in the 1400's.  His most memorable painting was a panel depicting the grotesque punishments in Hell. Add to that the allegories of his Seven Days in Hell series.

There's no doubt if you had the delegates at the Tampa Republican confab pose for a group photo, you would see a sea of nearly all white faces smiling as if they were at a rotary club meeting on funny hat and vest day.

But beneath those affable-looking Caucasian visages are brains that house the deformed fantasies, driven by emotions rather than reason, that – as George Lakoff has observed about how the mind functions – don't allow the entrance of logic or fact.   What is created is a Bosch-like underside of roiling resentment, anger, greed, and whatever combination of seven deadly sins you want to put together in an a la carte menu of sordid human wickedness.

The veneer, however, is pure fantasy in Tampa. It is a political Disneyesque sense of comfort, a Main Street without any closed stores or uninsured or unemployed, an experience of America that provides a gluttonous day of entertainment, but has no correspondence with the reality or complexity of a democracy confronting complex economic and multi-cultural challenges.  

In regards to the latter, a CNN woman who had peanuts tossed at her by two attendees at the Tampa convention is testament to the racial anxiety and resentment that lies just below the cerebal cortext of Republican attendees:

Carroll [the camera woman] said no one took the names of the attendees who threw peanuts at her Tuesday on the convention floor and told her, "This is what we feed animals." She alerted fellow camera operators, producers and CNN security….

"This is Florida, and I'm from the Deep South," she said. "You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don't think I should do."

The Republican Party has driven this stagecoach of racist anxiety and anger ever since the Southern Strategy emerged to propel Richard Nixon into office. But the people holding the reins of this careening, volatile appeal are the plutocrats, represented in full dissembling personhood by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

As the trenchantly sardonic Charles Pierce wrote about the opening of the RNC 2012 confab in Esquire Magazine:

It was something to see, I'll tell you. An entire evening based on a demonstrable lie.

The theme was We Did Build It — which, as every sentient being knows, is a mendacious barbering of something the president said a while back….

The Republicans will just tell the lie again. And again. And once more, until people get tired of telling the truth in response.

It was an entire evening based on a demonstrable lie because it was an entire evening based on rejecting — publicly and dishonestly, and without caring that the facts of your own biographies give the lie to the words you're saying — the idea of a general political commonwealth as expressed through the national government, which has been the great engine behind the expansion of the country's size, the country's wealth, and, yes, the country's freedom.

The big lie is useful in advancing the agenda of the oligarchical/corporate elite.  It is employed to provide cover to their real agenda of carving up the United States and serving it up on a platter to the top 1% while denying the right to vote to the poor, minorities and infirm elderly.

The "dog whistle" words of race lurk within nearly every speech, because the red-meat appeals activate the reptilian brain, base instincts and sinful urges that lurk in the Hellish paintings of Bosch.

Yes, the GOP has been crazed and wild-eyed in their efforts to maintain a white controlled government since the '70s, but as the demographics continue to move toward Caucasians becoming a minority in the US, the frenzy has reached a pathological pitch.

And taking advantage of that squalid fear are the economic predators who seek a financial dominance of the nation akin to the royalist regime that the American Revolution rebelled against.

Afternote: Sometimes the truth wills out, even amidst the cynical "double speak" of Tampa: “The demographics race we’re losing badly,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.). “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”


 "Hell" by Hieronymus Bosch