I don’t think any of us who watched the so-called debate on Tuesday night will ever forget the experience. It will not, however, be among our most cherished memories—unless it turns out to have been the event that cost Trump the election.
Down the rabbit hole
by Sue Robin, Los Angeles, California
It is two days since the so-called debate and my head has, at last, stopped spinning long enough for me to write. During the course of the ninety minutes, I muttered, “That’s a lie,” repeatedly, shook my head in disbelief too many times to count, and bemoaned the dangerousness of this man who has so much power (though hopefully not for long). I did, time and again, draw on the calming image of Joe Biden standing next to Jill, with his hand on his family Bible, being administered the oath of office of the President of the United States of America on January 20, 2021.
Debate: A formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.
What the citizens of the United States saw was not a debate, but the man currently holding the title of U.S. President talking over, interrupting, not just his debate partner but the moderator, hurling insults and basically acting like a schoolyard bully and, of course, patting himself on the back for his supposed accomplishments. We were all tainted by the bile that pours out of his mouth at a rather fast clip.
The one thing he did not do, for the most part, was respond directly to the questions put to him; not even the one asking him to condemn the growing number of white supremacy groups in our country. Instead, he called upon them to stand down and stand by, as if giving orders to his troops. Not a big surprise.
Some of those in office were dismayed, not necessarily because they wanted the condemnation but because it may jeopardize their own reelection. These politicians and the public who continue to explain what he means and clean up the piles of garbage he leaves in his wake are complicit. They are as guilty as he is of racism, xenophobia, fear mongering, lying, belligerence, rudeness, and I am sure the list could go on for pages, but I am of the mind and heart that this must stop. We must stop him and the sheep he has tutored in his evil ways.
He has, for almost four years, been setting the scene for his minions that there will be widespread voter fraud and if he loses, it will be because Democrats cheated. The fact that he has lied more than Pinocchio ever did—about his taxes, the COVID-19 crisis, the size of crowds and his height and weight—means nothing to them. He has encouraged them to break laws by going into polling places on Election Day, to vote twice and to believe that, if he loses, it will have been a rigged election. He does not want to concede the office without a fight. He has repeatedly done this in his business life, taking people to court or making them take him to court to collect their money or to put off the inevitable as long as the lawyers will allow.
If I could be assured that it would be courts and lawyers and not Proud Boys and Oath Takers, I might relax because, though the highest court of the land leans right, I do believe that they would still support our democracy. The specter of these hate groups marching down the street with their guns sends me down the rabbit hole and, like Alice, I think rising above the chaos will be the biggest challenge this country has faced in a long time, perhaps ever.