Donald Trump

America Is Greater When We Don't Let Fear Win

America's greatness will never grow by giving people more reasons to hate than hope.

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Ivan Flores/Ivan Armando Flores/Sipa USA/Newscom

"Come to Cleveland, they said! There'll be riots, they said!" Apropos of nothing, a young man in a pickup truck was leaning out his window, shouting this at me as he drove by with a big, goofy grin on his face. It was only day two of the Republican National Convention, and so far the biggest story aside from Melania Trump's possibly-plagiarized speech was that everything was going along with incident. 

And so it's continued. Outside the convention itself, an assorted collection of protesters, pranksters, zealots, and cranks filled the streets with spectacle. Members of the media and locals out for the show trailed them with iPhones pointed and boom-mics looming. On the immediate outskirts of this melee, a variety-pack of police from around the country hovered. For every activist, there must have been three reporters. For every reporter, there must have been a dozen cops. 

Yet as I'm writing this—just about an hour or so before Donald Trump delivers his convention-closing speech—there have only been a handful of arrests, few notable confrontations, and no real physical violence. "I'm bored," or "there's nothing to do," journalists can be overheard saying constantly, with slight variations, before adding—with varying degrees of sincerity—that it's an encouraging sign for society, at least.  

Demonstrations have been spirited but peaceful. The police have been, by all accounts, overwhelmingly chill and friendly. They shake hands with convention goers and complement passers-by on their ensembles. They chat with local activists about Cleveland's problems. They crack jokes. They apologize if they brush into people while passing by. I even spotted one uniformed officer standing on a street corner sipping a Great Lakes beer. 

For a city that looks at first glance like it's under military rule, it's pretty remarkable. 

I wonder if the officers have been scared. I've found myself moving quickly away when I notice I'm lurking a little too close to a gaggle of officers. With the recent unprovoked hunting of several crowd-control cops in Dallas, the specter of sniper fire doesn't seem totally paranoid. It's had to have made many of them touchy. And touchy cops are dangerous cops. With this in mind, their composure seems even more commendable. Even the cold, black, anti-authoritarian hearts of my libertarian friends and mine have been a bit touched. 

Everyone was worried this would go differently. Everyone was warning: "Chicago, 1968!" 

So what went right? We'll get 1,000 think-pieces about this in the next few days and weeks. I don't presume to have a big-picture answer. But one thing I've noticed is that the atmosphere here has become more relaxed as the week wears on, even as the security stakes get, arguably, higher. Fear and violence breed fear and violence, but in Cleveland, we've seen the opposite: a people and police force that came in on high-alert increasingly softened as tales of the kumbaya vibes spread via word-of-mouth, Twitter, cable news.

As Donald Trump delivers his convention speech tonight, the text of which is largely focused on fighting crime and making "America safe again," I wish everyone in America could have seen what those of us in Cleveland this week have seen. Trump's convention speech, with its lies and half-truths about homicides rising, the Obama administration's "rollback of criminal enforcement," the so-called war on cops, an America in chaos and under siege, and many more such dog-whistles designed to instill fear and bitterness in U.S. citizens, makes for good reality TV. But if there's anything U.S. citiznes have learned from the past two decades, it's that's "reality" TV bears only a marginal relation to reality. 

America is safer and less violent than ever. America is more tolerant than ever. Most people—including cops, including protesters, and perhaps even including journalists, are basically good. And nobody is (as Trump suggests) being murdered because of political correctness. Let's not let Trump and his entourage's quest for ratings blind us to the truth, bind us to fear, or keep us from realizing that while America might have a lot of room for improvement, its greatness will never grow by giving people more reasons to hate than hope. 

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NEXT: Peter Thiel Speaking at RNC in Cleveland Is Interesting and Weird. And Really Good.

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  1. WAFFLES!!!!! Cause fuck pancakes.

        1. They’re fresh out of pancakes, so I’ll give you some Crusty socks that you can juggle.

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  2. It’s a cynical goddam clown show packaged as a soap opera and a horse race. The whole thing is rotten.

  3. I hate peace. So boring!

    1. I know right. Peace is for the geese, who secretly carry around guns in their feathered valise.

  4. How can you take the Kobayashi Maru test seriously if you don’t let in fear?

  5. a young man in a pickup truck was leaning out his window, shouting this at me as he drove by

    He was hitting on you, silly. There are worse ways you could spend a Tuesday evening. Like watching Trump get crowned, for one.

  6. America Is Greater When We Don’t Let Fear Win

    America’s greatness will never grow by giving people more reasons to hate than hope.

    Except there is quite a bit of fear and hatred of Trump and his supporters…

    1. Can you hate or fear something you hold in contempt?

      I leave the theatrics to the wannabe theater majors on the left.

  7. Damn. Ivanka is hot. She doesn’t have stifled rage look that the Trump boys have. If she had that she’d be even hotter.

    1. You’re shooting for smoldering or sultry, not enraged.

      1. It’s not hard to imagine Donnie Jr. readjusting his tie and slicking his hair back in place as he hurries out of a cheap hotel room with a bloodied hooker splayed out on the bed.

  8. Everything sucks in Cleveland. Even the contention.

    1. I contend that the convention is less contentious than others might have conceived

  9. Next up – the Democratic convention!

    1. There’s still hope for the convention violence I was sure would happen!

      (But I thought the hilarious report of BLM, the KKK, and Westboro Baptists throwing bags of urine at each other had to count for something.)

      Conspiracy theory: BLM will make a scene at the Democratic convention because they want Hillary to lose. Sure, they might get a more sympathetic ear from her administration, and maybe a few grants and jobs. Ah, but with President Trump, they can be in full outrage mode for four years! Think of all the moral posturing they’d be able to do! And all the unaccountable money they would be able to raise!

      Twist: Trump uses BLM to undermine police unions. Leftists and libertarians everywhere don’t know what to think!

      I am enjoying all the head explosions this election is creating. Ha!

      1. You enjoy head explosions? You must really like sticky situations too.

  10. Philly convention will be peaceful….::rollseyes:: Not predictable at all.

  11. Let’s see what happens at the Collectivist convention of xenophobia in Philly.
    Will the entire thing be a communal “safe haven” from strange ideas and freedom?
    Will Hillary order any any deaths?
    Will any attendees pay for their own lunch?
    Who knows.

  12. I don’t ever really know what people mean when they say “don’t let fear win.” Win what? Is it acting on fear if I flee my home because a hurricane will ravage it in two days? After all, it’s sunny right now, so I shouldn’t be blinded by fear. Taking a snapshot of what our current circumstances are and then telling others the way their acting is irrational based on that is dishonest, we look at trends to guide our future actions.

    It’s only a “half truth” about homicides rising if you don’t actually examine the claim Trump made, like you didn’t. He specifically said homicides were rising in our major cities, which is true. National violence levels are down, also true, but I don’t really think the person in the inner city gives much of a shit that crime levels are down in rural Wyoming. There is nothing wrong with acting on fear, so long as the fear doesn’t cloud your judgment. It can and should be a motivator that calls us to action.

    1. Wrong. Rates of violence in cities have been plummeting for decades. Just as a random example the historical NYC murder rate – 1981=~1100 murders, 2015=333. Large cities have over the last 20 years been experiencing a gentrifying effect thats pushed violent crime to the suburbs, but it has never come close to reaching levels seen from during the 70’s.

      1. So yeah, murders are still less than 30 years ago, but there has in fact been a recent spike compared to recent years.

    2. Reacting appropriately to any situation is correct behavior except by those who fear taking action will harm their political base then it is transcribed as fear mongering on the part of those who take real action to fix a problem.

  13. People actually have died because of political correctness. Doesn’t the author remember the Fort Hood shooter? The guy who raised red flags with almost everyone he encountered on a daily basis but who was never “If You See Something, Say Something”‘d because everyone thought they would look like bigots?

    1. Every premise of your comment is wrong. But I wont belabor the point with you as Im sure you can produce some quickly googled link to breitbart that objectively proves what was inside of the head of every person who met the Ft Hood shooter. Certainly if the wars, drone bombings, assassinations, torture, warrantless detention, calls to introduce religious tests to the immigration process, et al prove its that Americans are TOO SOFT on muslim extremism. Youve really hit the nail on the head there.

      1. Every premise of your comment is wrong. But I wont belabor the point with you as I’m sure you can produce some quickly googled link to Huffpo that objectively proves whatever your feelz are regarding all of the red flags that were ignored regarding the Ft Hood shooter.

  14. with its lies and half-truths about homicides rising

    “Half-truths”. So actually, truths, which you call lies without identifying them or providing evidence that they were lies.

    Is it #TrumpDerangementSyndrome, or the Progressive infection, including their tactics of “by any lies necessary”?

  15. As Donald Trump delivers his convention speech tonight, the text of which is largely focused on fighting crime and making “America safe again,” I wish everyone in America could have seen what those of us in Cleveland this week have seen

    That Trump’s convention was safe.

    But they did see that.

    That’s why you have to find a way to make this seem like a negative.

  16. “America Is Greater When We Don’t Let Fear Win”

    Plagiarized?

  17. I’m still sad there weren’t any Mexican standoffs or shootouts between white supremacist bikers and BLM people in Cleveland. Where were all shootings because of open carry?!

  18. Shouldn’t we fear negative interest rates, police murders, and violent student protests? As far as being tolerant, wait until you say something politically incorrect.

  19. I can’t wait for the real violence from the non gun toting protesters and the democrat convention. the media will ignore the comparisons between gun holders and non gun holders if it happens

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