So the question is, Why? Why is the RNC doing this? Or, more to the point, is it the RNC that is doing this? There was a rumor abroad that the stepped-up security (it reminded one ex-military observer of Bagdhad) was not the RNC’s doing but the federal government’s. Anarchists, you see, had threatened to disrupt the proceedings, so someone declared the event a national security emergency and clamped down hard.
What sort of threat do the anarchists actually pose? you might ask. I asked, and haven’t gotten much of a reply. I’ve been looking around for anarchists but have so far failed to turn up even one. Maybe anarchists, like the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz, are deathly allergic to water. Some paranoid, conspiracy-minded folk have put it about that the onerous, spirit-dampening security was foisted upon the event by scheming Obamanites deliberately to taint the party spirit. I do not necessarily endorse this low thinking, I merely acknowledge that the idea has been floated and talked about. And I note further that, as the poet Delmore Schwartz once observed, even paranoids have enemies.
The security arrangements at the convention are over the top, onerous, and almost comic in their look-at-me,-I’m-wearing-SWAT-gear swagger. But maybe the most disconcerting aspect of the affair is the two-tier, us-and-them, plebs-and-elites aroma that suffuses the event. Almost everyone is herded, cattle-like, through the security maze. Anyone who is let into the fenced-in enclosure has a bouquet of badges hung around his neck. But some few have badges that bear the legend “perimeter access,” and they get special treatment. A tiny elite is ostentatiously whisked through on golf carts or in limos, just as they are in various Latin American or Soviet-era despotisms. It’s the ostentation of the disparity that rankles.
People like me — knuckle-dragging, right-wing haters — often bemoan the cancerous growth of government. Usually, we’re talking about the government payroll, the government debt, the proliferation of government agencies, the explosion of government rules and regulations and the regiments of bureaucrats needed to force “compliance” with all those rules and regulations.