witnessed a miracle short of the burning bush. The
Republican National Convention (RNC) in Tampa was just another dry cheerleading event with
the same old talking points and disenfranchising positions.
Conservative Republicans received their awakening
at just the right moment.
Eastwood’s gesture and remarks
were vulgar and degrading toward the President and
Addressing an “invisible” President
Barack Obama sitting in an empty chair, Clint Eastwood,
who played the iconic tough guy character “Dirty Harry”
during his long career in Hollywood, fired up the party base when he said
he cried when Obama was elected and cried even harder
years later when millions were out of work.
We might recall that some years ago,
during the 2000 election, the Conservatives were seeking
a leading cry to unite their base and move them forward
toward their objective of “taking their country back.”
It would mark a culmination of four decades of structural
manipulation of laws and processes leading to yet
another page-turning electoral coup. Reagan was the
first. They latched onto an actor…Moses.
Now, Charlton Heston is known for heroic roles in films such as The Ten Commandments,
Ben-Hur for which he won the Academy Award
for Best Actor, El Cid, and Planet of the
Apes. Why white traditionalists cling to the words
of actors - people playing other people - is
far beyond my pay grade. What’s clear is that, for
the conservative American, their nostalgic palate
must be titillated. How that translates into solid,
feasible public policy is a question for psychologists
and not political scientists.
I don’t have the answer,
but it is clear that Republicans are comfortable with
placing their constitutional rights in the hands of
purveyors of make-believe. That might explain why
Republican policies are always at odds with mainstream
America - and definitely, the progressive Left.
When Heston, then-president and mouthpiece
for the NRA, stood before America and held a long-barrel rifle above his
head and stated, “from my cold, dead hands,” he fired
the shot heard around the country. It ignited a call
to Conservatives for them to respond to the fear of
white males all across America. White men wanting
more liberal gun rights heard the call from “Moses.”
The NRA has been the single most successful lobbying
group on Capitol Hill ever since.
off as a champion for civil rights, but by the 1980s,
Heston opposed affirmative action, supported gun rights
and changed his political affiliation from Democrat
to Republican. When asked why he changed political
alliances, Heston infamously replied, “I didn’t change.
The Democratic party changed.” He campaigned for Republicans
and Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.
W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Since when did fighting for the equal
rights of all Americans change? What hasn’t changed
is Conservatives seeking gimmicks to win. Charlton
Heston was widely known and popular, as is Clint Eastwood.
Their names evoke fond and youthful memories of white,
male saviors. That’s what Republicans are searching
Heston died and Conservatives need
a replacement - someone possessing a comparable gutsy
tough-guy and patriarchal bravado. Enter Dirty Harry…
Republicans are comfortable
with placing their constitutional rights in the hands
of purveyors of make-believe
The RNC had
left room for a “mystery guest” on its final day schedule
and announced that Eastwood would fill that slot.
Late in the afternoon, Eastwood walked the aisles
on the convention floor for a brief rundown of the
night’s events. His ad-libbed speech later in the
evening was decidedly political, bitingly satirical
and more than a bit....rambling. It appears that in
a patriarchal, male-dominated political party, old
white men run the show - even if they’re bitter, disheveled,
and rambling …and a show it was!
“What do you
want me to tell Romney?” Eastwood asked the empty
chair. “I can’t tell him to do that to himself ...
you’re getting as bad as Biden ... of course we all
know Biden is the intellect of the Democratic Party.
Kind of a grin with a body behind it ...” Of course,
Eastwood’s gesture and remarks were vulgar and degrading
toward the President and the Office, but the conservative
base ate it up! Eastwood even made a throat-cutting
gesture - literally - meant for President Obama (NOTE:
Young, Black basketball players are fined for directing
those same gestures toward their opponents).
Though not as eloquent as Heston, Eastwood
was the answer to the Right’s rally cry for an actor
who personifies their values and mission to end Obama’s
reign and “re-take their country.” Eastwood is this
generation of Republican’s Moses, and Eastwood’s anti-climatic
ramblings led them to their “Moses Moment.”
Redd, is the former Executive Director of
the workers rights advocacy, Sincere Seven, and author
of the on-line commentary, “The
Other Side of the Tracks.” He is the host of the
internet-based talk radio show, Socially Speaking in
here to contact Mr.