The irate debate

If you think two old men yelling at each other is scary, wait till you hear what one of them was actually saying.

You know that a debate has a lot of acrimony when it causes children to run from the room screaming. A reporter for CNN stated after it was over that she was messaged by a friend that was sitting down to watch the debate with her 12 year-old daughter so she could expose her to a civics lesson in American democracy, and after a few minutes of watching the “Orange Menace” scream at former vice president, Joe Biden, she ran screaming and crying from the room and locked herself in her bedroom. I was left with two takeaways from this bit of information:

  1. It’s probably best not to have your child’s first exposure to civics in America involve anything regarding Donald Trump who apparently fancies himself a latter-day Mussolini.
  2. Is it just me, or have we as a nation raised the most over-sensitive group of snowflakes the world has ever seen. I mean, yes, Donald Trump is scary and unsettling, but really? Running out out of a room screaming and crying? Really?

The debate was a fiasco to be sure, and I would wager that Trump’s performance was part of the plan that Trump and his two debate preppers, Rudolph “Ugly Bat” Giuliani, and Chris “Crisco” Christie concocted. Trump’s boorish, bullying behavior was right out of their playbook to be sure. Both men are bullies and they only have one tool in their political toolbox, as does “the Hump,” and that is of course the ability to bully. Does it work? Well I suppose we can wait to see what the next round of polling tells us, but I have a feeling that if the polls are accurate, and Trump is indeed trailing, I find it hard to believe his embarrassing behavior moved the needle in his direction even a little bit. Of course, I was wrong when I stated that Mello Yello would be the number one selling soft drink on the planet by 2008, so it could be argued that I don’t always have my finger on the pulse of the nation.

In case you were wondering what it would be like to try and lasso a tornado, moderator Chris Wallace had the unenviable task of trying to contain Donald Trump’s exuberance as he constantly interrupted Joe Biden when he attempted to speak. Most critics believed that Wallace failed, but I’m not sure anybody could have succeeded under such circumstances. (New York Times)

Many Americans were turned off by the spectacle, and that’s just what it was, a spectacle. Don’t be fooled though. It was 90% on Donald Trump. Even moderator Chris Wallace couldn’t contain himself. He attempted to admonish Trump for his “Trump-like” behavior and finally in exasperation turned to Roy Cohn’s prodigy and said, “Frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting.” Joe Biden comes from the school of tough but civil political debate. Yes he’s been known to be aggressive at times when he’s debated on the national stage, but never has Biden been involved in a scenario such as this. It wasn’t just that Trump was trying to get Biden off his game by constantly interrupting, as well as viciously, and as far as I can tell, pointlessly, going after Biden’s son Hunter (Who apparently, at least according to Trump’s campaign of disinformation can simply show up in any capital on the planet and be handed trunks filled with cash), Trump was trying to destroy the very idea of civil debate, turning it into his favorite spectator “sport,” professional wrestling. All he was missing was the turban and sunglasses, and Trump could have passed himself off as the “Grand Wizard of Wrestling.”

The idea of civil debate isn’t all that Trump has put his destructive little hands to. In the words of Bob Woodward, legendary reporter and editor from the Washington Post who taped 18 interviews with Trump in order to write his latest book, Rage, stated in no uncertain terms that Trump is literally trying to assassinate the presidency. By the time the orange “Baby Huey” is done, the presidency will be so devalued, even Putin won’t want it anymore.

Trump, seen here practicing his Kung fu moves, was in full bully mode on Tuesday night. The question is, did it help or hinder his chances for reelection, only time and a lot of voter suppression will tell. (Times Union)

It would appear that the vast majority of the American people, including even a decent amount of Trump supporters, were turned off by what they witnessed the other night, I don’t believe the sight of two septuagenarians yelling at each other as if they were in Central Park in New York City debating who was the best centerfielder in New York in the early 1950s, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, or Duke Snyder, was actually the most disturbing exhibit on display. There were two things that I’m assuming most people heard that should have given them pause. One was so heinous and despicable, that the idea that the so-called leader of the free world had to be even questioned about it, by a Fox News reporter no less, should have ended any discussion about who our next president should be. However, it was the other issue that we all heard that truly scared me. If you’re actually worried about our democratic institutions, you’d be plenty concerned as well.

  1. The president of the United States in 2020 was asked if he would disavow the idea and practice of “white supremacy.”

Spoiler alert, he couldn’t. He wobbled, mumbled the word “sure” with all the conviction of a husband being asked if he wants to go antiquing on a football Sunday, before mentioning that a group of right-wing extremists known as the “Proud Boys” should, “Stand down, and stand by.” The “Proud Boys” are using this as a slogan to rally around and recruit with, and believe that the leader of the free world is giving them not only acknowledgement and credibility, but essentially standing orders for the upcoming election. People said the bar was set too low for Biden going into this debate and that he ended up looking better than he should have because of that. Perhaps, but how much lower can we set the bar for our presidential candidates when all we ask of them is that they disavow the KKK, and they can’t even do that? For what it’s worth, if you’re surprised by Trump’s response, then you’ve really been in a coma the past five years because he’s had other opportunities to renounce white supremacy, but somehow he never quite pulls it off. Ironically, it’s the one thing he appears to have trouble lying about.

2. The president of the United States has called an election that is still months away, without any evidence or proof, flawed, fixed, dishonest, crooked, and therefore discredited, even though he hasn’t even lost yet, and therefore has basically made it known that he will not be taking part in a peaceful transition of power should he lose

This scares me more than any of Trump’s previous examples of inhumanity over the past four years. I am fully of the mind that Trump will refuse to leave under any circumstances. I can’t take credit for this idea, I heard it first from Bill Maher four years ago, but I’ve believed it ever since. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it. Unless the margin of victory is substantial, at least 125 electoral votes, Trump is going to contest the results vigorously. He has said so himself. He’s either going to try to get pro-Trump electors seated for when the electoral college is being counted in each state, and have them change the will of the people in that state, or he’s going to use the courts. It’s the biggest reason he wants to replace the late justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he’s predicting a replay of 2000, and he wants the courts on his side, which he believes he has accomplished.

All extremist movements as well as white supremacist groups start the same way, with an endorsement of “PB” or Peanut Butter.” Oh wait, that’s the flag of the “Proud Boys.” They appear to be well-armed and angry, yup, can’t see where this can go wrong, particularly if they’re taking their marching orders from the single greatest threat to our democracy in our 244 year history. (Associated Press)

If you ask the average American what the cornerstone of our democracy is built upon, you’ll hear things like, freedom, liberty, (same thing) our brave soldiers in uniform, or the flag. As nice a thought as this may seem, I would offer something different. The cornerstone of our democracy lies in the peaceful transfer of power that takes place in this country every four or eight years. This tradition and safeguard was first tested in 1800 when John Adams became the first leader of a nation to step aside and allow the duly elected leader of the rival party, Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican Party to replace him without a single shot being fired. Adams was angry, bitter, resentful, and even attempted to pack the courts with members of his own party, the Federalists. (Sound familiar?) But he still stepped aside.

You would be hard-pressed to find a man with a bigger ego, thinner skin, or who was a more sore loser than John Adams, (Wait, Donald Trump, I guess it wasn’t that hard) and yet despite his anger and resentment, and his feelings of rejection, Adams retired to his farm in Massachusetts, eventually striking up a warm friendship via the United States Post Office with his old rival and enemy, Thomas Jefferson. Great men find a way. Great people set examples for us to follow, and then if we’re smart, we don’t squander the opportunity. In every election in American history, even where there were suspicions of fraud or deceit, the peaceful transfer of power, be it the election of 1800, 1824, 1876, 1960, or 2000, all contested elections ripe with charges of wrongdoing, held firm. Are we really going to allow a crooked, tax-cheating reality show host who doesn’t pay his taxes take all of that away from us? Remember the words of the great scientist and philosopher Benjamin Franklin. When he and the other “Founding Fathers” emerged from Independence Hall In Philadelphia in 1787 upon finishing the Constitution of the United States he was asked by a woman, “What kind of government have you given us Dr. Franklin?” The frail, 84 year-old wise man turned to the woman and croaked, “A Republic, if you can keep it?” (He may also have mentioned something about being on guard for STD’s when sleeping around in Paris, but that’s a story for another day.)



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