For the third straight night, the Republican National Convention (RNC) gave the stage to regular Americans to tell the stories so many of us live but so few of us hear from a clucking corporate media. From tears to triumph, three nights of speakers have shared uncomfortable stories and made bold statements that are unprecedented in the modern age of televised political conventions, pointing to what political outsiders can achieve when not hobbled by conventional wisdom.
The evening closed with the president and first lady’s appearance to salute the flag and meet the cheering crowd after the vice president’s speech at Fort McHenry. The most powerful men in America taking pictures with veterans in the front line stood in complete contrast to the media-praised DNC finale, which saw a Democratic candidate afraid to shake hands with his own running mate before exiting down an empty convention hallway.
While everyday speakers once again dominated the evening, professional politicians from South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem to Rep. Dan Crenshaw to the vice president didn’t squander their energy, using their speeches to express party unity, and keeping the evening going ’til country star Trace Adkins’ delivery of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Sister Dr. Deirdre Byrne, a warzone-tested surgeon in the black habit of her Catholic order, spoke calmly and firmly in defense of the unborn. She called Trump the most pro-life president in American history, Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris “the most anti-life presidential ticket ever,” and promised we can find the Catholic nuns “here, with our weapon of our choice, the Rosary.” The DNC, by comparison, featured a plain-clothed celebrity “bus nun” praying to an “O divine spirit.”
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Football legend coach Lou Holtz followed, cracking jokes before pointedly accusing the Democratic nominee of being “Catholic in name only.” NFL player Jack Brewer recalled a youth spent fighting for his life against racist skinheads and called out Black Lives Matter for its radicalism and the media for calling the president racist when they don’t even know what that is.
An elderly widower choked back tears, and told us of the morning he heard the car horn sound as his wife was murdered in their driveway. Ret. Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg remembered his grandchildren’s eyes as they said goodbye to their military parents, and called out decades of globalists’ unwinnable wars. Former Amb. Richard Grenell condemned not just the foreign policy follies of the Barack Obama administration, but those of their Republican predecessor, George W. Bush.
This, he said, “tells you all you need to know: The D.C. crowd thinks when they call Donald Trump a nationalist, they’re insulting him as if the American president isn’t supposed to base foreign policy on America’s national interests.”
We’ve seen national conventions before, but never anything like this. Why not? Starting with 2016’s RNC, the party bosses who negotiate and sell off the speaking slots to burnish peoples’ party credentials aren’t calling the shots. Even the candidates who once spoke at this sort of thing were swing-state moderates, carefully vetted to deliver meaningless, feel-good platitudes designed to “reach the middle.”
On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump won’t disavow Coach Lou’s tough but fair assessment of Biden’s public repudiation of Catholic doctrine. The press secretary will not apologize to the Republican administrations that were publicly attacked. This convention isn’t about the party — or its egos — it’s about an idea.
The evening came to its finale at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, immortalized by Francis Key Scott, a prisoner of the British Navy who watched from a ship as the fort suffered an all-night bombardment, the sun rose, and tattered Old Glory still flew.
In front of the first raucous crowd of either party’s conventions, Pence delivered a political but skilled defense of their accomplishments, attacked the Democrats, and demanded the return of law and order in America’s cities. When he was finished, the Marine Corps band played “Hail to the Chief,” the president and first lady joined Pence and his wife, they saluted the flag for Adkins’ rendition of the National Anthem, and then joined the crowd, speaking with disabled veterans and other invited guests.
Corporate reporters in the audience tweeted from the scene that some guests hadn’t been tested for Covid-19. It’s possible they don’t understand what’s going on outside of Washington.