If you haven't tuned in to the RNC yet, here are 13 reasons why you should.

If you haven't tuned in to the Republican National Convention yet, you’re not alone.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.


Maybe you’re a Republican who gnashes their teeth every time Donald Trump opens his mouth. Maybe you’re a Democrat who’s already heard "Jail Shillary Clinton" enough for one decade. Or maybe you’re just a person who gets bored by boring speeches.

And yet, you still want to do your civic duty. You want to be able to participate in the watercooler conversation. Or, perhaps, you’re a nervous internet writer who dabbles in politics and you want to continue to justify your salary to the publication that employs you.

Fear not! Even if the speeches ramble, the music is suspect, and the balloon drop is anticlimactic, there are many ways to make watching the RNC a fun experience for the whole family:

1. Focus on the fun hats.

When you watch a baseball game, you see baseball caps. When you watch a rodeo, you see cowboy hats. When you watch bearded 27-year-old programmers in "Buffy" T-shirts hitting on college students, you see fedoras.

The hats at the RNC are in another league. A noble league ... like The League of Nations.

A league that peaked in 1918.

Cowboy hats?

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

Check.

Coonskin caps?

Photo by Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images.

Check!

Hats directly from the costume chest for the West Oakport Community Players production of "The Music Man"?


Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

Check and mate.

If you’re a fan of delightfully anachronistic haberdashery, the Republican National Convention is the small-screen event of the mid-2010s.

2. Watch campaign operatives desperately try to spin obvious screwups into success stories.

Melania Trump's apparent cribbing of a passage from a 2008 Michelle Obama speech on the first night of the RNC has already sent Trump's surrogates into a flurry of questionably credible but extremely entertaining denials.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Some simply pretended it didn't happen. Some tried to explain it away as a case of the two women simply having the exact same thoughts on the exact same subject. Others suggested that — hey! — only 7% of the speech was plagiarized, which really isn't that much. (College students on deadline, take note!)

There's no feeling quite so warm and cozy as sitting back on your couch, knowing there's a problem out there in the world ... and it's someone else's job to deal with it.

3. Cheer on the dancing delegates.

2012 convention attendees get their clap on. Photo by Robyn Beck/Getty Images.

The RNC remains America’s #1 source of elderly people who’ve still got it, show it, and want you to know it.

Curious what style of arrhythmic jerking was popular in 1962? Looking forward to seeing some semi-coordinated American flag-ography? Want to watch a county commissioner from Ladysmith, Wisconsin, gingerly hip-bumping the state comptroller of Tennessee?

You only get one chance every four years. Seize it!

4. Gawk at the ridiculously over-the-top entrances.

For Donald Trump, last night's raucous, backlit entrance to "We Are the Champions" was actually pretty restrained.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

It can only get more grandiose from here. Will we see him riding in on a hoverboard? Descending from the ceiling on ropes? Time-jumping in from the future? It's only Tuesday! The possibilities are endless.

5. Feel nostalgic about celebrities you haven’t thought about since you were a kid/before you were born.

Sure, "celebrity" might not the exact right word, but it totally would be if you had a time machine.

Scott Baio (Chachi!) was there Monday night.


Ehhhhhhhhhh. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

So was Antonio Sabato Jr., who totally was in something once.

Oh and hey, remember soap star Kimberlin Brown? No? Well, she’s speaking too.

Like Pogs, jelly shoes, and friendship bracelets, you might not have missed them and you might not have even loved them all that much even at the height of their popularity, but they're back, and sure, why not!

6. Cringe at the massive pandering fails.

In a Monday session with delegates from Pennsylvania, Paul Ryan took a few seconds to wave a Terrible Towel — an emblem of the Pittsburgh Steelers — in the air...

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

...which irked some in the city of Cleveland, where the RNC is happening. They were none too pleased to see the Republican leader brandish the banner of their bitter football rival.

In other news, Cleveland and Pittsburgh are apparently different cities. You learn new things when you watch the RNC!

7. Shovel popcorn into your mouth as Trump and his team pick random, hugely entertaining fights with GOP lawmakers.

Fittingly, for a candidate whose highest profile accomplishment is hosting a reality show, Donald Trump is really, really, good at draaaaaaaaaama.

Even before the speeches started, top Trump aide Paul Manafort attacked Ohio Gov. John Kasich — America's Republican uncle — as "petulant" for refusing to attend the convention.

Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images.

"Manafort’s problem, after all those years on the lam with thugs and autocrats, is that he can’t recognize principle and integrity," Kasich strategist John Weaver fired back in an e-mail to The New York Times, calling out Manafort's public relations work for the former president of Ukraine.

Rawr! Go get 'em, boys!

8. Daydream about what LeBron James is doing elsewhere in Cleveland while all this is going on.


Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images.

One of the great things about Cleveland hosting the convention is that, if you’re not feeling the program, you can just close your eyes and imagine what King James is up to just a few blocks away at any given moment. Maybe he's grabbing a beer at the Radisson lobby bar across the street or wandering around the perimeter of Quicken Loans Arena trying to catch a Pikachu!

Train your brain to conjure 'Bron, and you're sure to realize a truth that hardened political insiders have long known: The mental image of LeBron James doing anything beats watching the 19th lieutenant governor shuffle haltingly around the stage to Kid Rock’s "Born Free."

9. Enjoy the spectacle of news organizations testing out new technology with mixed results.

The Washington Post has a robot!


Come for the debut of an amazing, cutting-edge mass communication tool. Stay for the schadenfreude of when it inevitably, hilariously tips slowly forward and plants on its face.

10. Applaud the fact-checkers doing A+ work.

It's pretty hard to wallow in self pity about having to sit through three prime-time hours of the Trump Family Variety Spectacular when the heroes at FactCheck.org are spending their week watching every minute of both conventions evaluating every ridiculously hyperbolic claim made by every marginal elected official on that stage, presumably with their eyelids taped open.


Every single American owes these people a drink. At the very least, we need to all go in for a gift basket.

11. Savor the meme-worthy speech faces.

Like this one:

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

11. Revel in the ramshackle production quality.

A delegate stands on stage. The lights are hot. He's got his suit, tie, and firmest scowl on. He's projecting a stern air of authority. He's feeling good.

And then, this happens:


One prop master's catastrophe is one potato-chip-eating, couch-slouching American's perfect television.

12. Rock out to the endless playlist of music you love to hate to love to wonder what even is it?

Between the speeches, the logistical announcements, and the arcane points of order, the playlist on the first day of the 2016 RNC featured a weird collection of B sides — "Limelight" by Rush, The Who's "Eminence Front," "Stay With Me" by Rod Stewart — that undoubtedly delighted your Uncle Craig:

"I have an extra ticket to see Yes with your name on it." Photo via iStock.

But it pretty much left everyone else scratching their heads. And you know what, scratching your head is immensely soothing and gratifying, so thanks, music team!

13. Appreciate that you are watching democracy happen in real time — weirdly — exactly the way it’s supposed to.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

You may not be thrilled about the election. You may think the ads are tacky. You may wish the participants were different (dear God, you may wish the participants were different).

You can hate everything about the American political process and still be grateful this is how our political transitions go down rather than when the guy in charge dies and his 9-year-old son takes over, or when a bunch of tanks plow over the White House while the president is in Bermuda, or when every federal employee is replaced by an alien impostor except for a single, mild-mannered Nebraska congressman who, luckily, is played by Kurt Russell.

New political administrations in America happen after a bunch of nerdy bureaucrats make a bunch of boring speeches about freedom, justice, and patriotism in support of candidates we don’t like very much but who we will dutifully go out and choose between in November.

It’s unglamorous. It’s stressful. It’s frustrating and exhausting. But I’m going to tune in. Because it really is the worst.

Except for all the other options.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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