In these dark times, it’s comforting to know that the waters of political absurdity are forming such a gorgeous ocean.
In the U.S., the Republican convention’s in full swing. Ohio—the state that hosts the city (Cleveland) that’s hosting the convention—allows people to carry guns openly and to carry concealed weapons if they have a permit. Mind you, the police can’t stop someone and ask if they have a permit for a concealed weapon. They can only ask if they have some other reason to stop them—say a tail light that’s burned out.
What would the police do without burned-out tail lights?
I’ve read that the Black Lives Matter movement is boycotting the protests outside the convention, feeling that their movement was being hijacked by the protest organizers, but I’m guessing that both the city government and the police were already edgy about the Black Lives Matter movement anyway, and became more so after cops were shot in several cities. The shootings don’t seem to have been by movement activists but they were surely related to the anger that fuels the movement.
So let’s guess that Cleveland’s cops, and possibly the city government, are less than happy knowing that firearms are washing around legally.
So what does a nervous city do? It establishes a zone around the convention center and bans a variety of other things there, including toy guns, umbrellas with sharp tips, knives, ropes, and tennis balls. It sounds like the weapons from a game of Clue (or Cluedo, in British). Inside the convention center, the Republican Party itself has banned fresh fruit. And canned fruit. And—what will the National Rifle Association say?—real guns.
So, to sum up, you can carry a real gun near the convention center but not a toy gun. Or a tennis ball. And you cannot attack the candidate with a sharpened banana.
Update: I just read that when a number of armed blacks (as opposed to armed whites) began showing up on Cleveland’s streets, the head of the police union asked the governor to suspend the right to carry arms openly. “I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not,” he’s quoted as saying.
I have some sympathy for cops operating in a world that’s awash in guns, but this serves as a reminder that very little in the U.S. is racially neutral.
In a deep bow to the state of the world’s economy, the convention’s being held in the Quicken Loans Arena. Quicken Loans is a mortgage lender. I don’t know that there’s anything dodgy about it, but I can’t get the phrase subprime loans out of my head. I’d weep if I weren’t laughing so hard.
Meanwhile in the U.K., Boris Johnson—one of the leaders of the Brexit campaign, whose career briefly looked like it was over when his fellow Brexiteer Michael Gove destroyed his chance of being Prime Minister—held his first press conference since being appointed foreign minister. It was a bumpy ride. He was asked if he planned to apologize for the less than diplomatic thing he’s written and said about world leaders. What did he say? In the one comment that’s (more or less) quoted, he called Obama half Kenyan and a hypocrite. We’ll let that stand in for the rest. Having followed Johnson a bit in the papers, I have no doubt there’s plenty more.
In addition to his diplomatic skills, Johnson’s known for playing fast and loose with the facts—he lost his first journalism job for faking a quote and went on to make a career out of exaggeration, distortion, and various other forms of inaccuracy—and reporters took him on for some of the “outright lies” he’d written. I’m not sure who I’m quoting there. Presumably one reporter, not all of them.
Fun. But not half as much fun as his references to the crisis in Egypt, by which he apparently meant the crisis in Turkey. And in case you think it was a slip of the tongue, he said it twice.
So that’s Britain’s new foreign minister. Turkey, Egypt, you know, what’s the difference? They’re all a bunch of foreigners.
Sleep well tonight, my fellow citizens of planet earth. The world’s in good hands. And I’ll be back on Friday with something less political.