To witness the Republican National Convention in St. Paul is to witness the bludgeoning of the brain, the twisting of the knife, the boot in the face.
It's watching -- incredulously -- the hailing of the mediocre and the deriding of the meek. It's seeing the darkest part of the human animal take hold, the madness that's spilled onto the hands and feet of people for centuries, fumbling and clutching for meaning and who, desperate, will accept anything.
It's the apotheosis of The Big Lie dressed as a carpenter, a soldier, a mother.
And the people only want what's best for themselves. They want safety, pleasure. They relish their minimal participation in society; they trust in those who would shrilly proclaim themselves leaders and heroes. They want to be nestled in a warm bosom, thrilled by a clenched fist.
They want to be protected by Mommy and Daddy.
Except Mommy and Daddy are drunk. They're confused. They lash out at anything that threatens their fragile understanding of reality. And they hate their mortality and try like hell to ignore it. They distrust the known and demonize the unknown and try to fill the murk with violent thrusts and feints, seeing enemies everywhere. The love they may have once had is, sadly, doomed to fail.
And saddest of all: they hate you. And every living being outside their own personal universes. Their very existence seems predicated on this immutable distrust of inevitable change. And this is where the entire construct so inelegantly embodied by Bush and Cheney these last eight years comes crashing down on itself. It simply cannot sustain without falling to rubble.
This is what lies behind the cant and spew in St. Paul. It is what lies beneath the fear and the suspicion scattered like handfuls of seed in the fertile fields of the desperate and the terrorized. And it is become the very heart of the scarcely encrypted Republican message.
Watching the convention one thinks of Lincoln and Eisenhower but sees only McCain and Palin. How far the party's come.