debate, di bat, an argument or reasonings between persons of differing opinions; dispute; controversy; quarrel; strife; contention.
debacle, di bak l, to break up. A sudden breaking up of ice in a river; the complete collapse of an enterprise.
Take your choice. Parts of either of the above definitions would aptly characterize what the nation was subjected to in the much-anticipated Cleveland Clinic inaugural presidential debate of the 2020 presidential campaign. No matter your party affiliation or your presidential preference, it was a disgusting, disappointing and depressing display of raw rudeness on the part of both principals. The name calling, ceaseless interruptions, total disregard for the pleas of the muted moderator was an embarrassment to peoples of either corner of the ring, revealing a new low in what more accurately might be called a “free-for-all,” or the raucous rantings of two men vying to win the November 3, 2020, presidential election.
Civility was out the window as the President of the United States, leader of the free world, was called a racist, a liar, a clown and was told impolitely by his opponent to “shut up, man!”
Manners were checked in at the door as evidenced by incessant interruptions on the part of the incumbent; and redundant repetitions that squandered valuable time that could have been used to recite factual achievements or in skillfully rehearsing the glaring inconsistencies and inadequacies of his challenger.
Managers of the President boasted before the debate that he had not spent much time being coached or in preparations for the big night since he had been fielding tough questions in news conferences for months. His lack of preparation became apparent minutes into the hour and a half event, and he tried to compensate by dominating the time and overcoming the pleas of the moderator with his volume and disregard for debate decorum.
And, the President’s debate opponent and his team should be celebrating that there were no instant fact-checkers allowed to participate! The only time he seemed not to misspeak, misrepresent or mischaracterize were the times he was not speaking or muttering something not so under his breath! Has he not been on the record as supporting the Green New Deal; and does he really think Antifa is simply an idea rather than an organized movement of radicals majoring on burning buildings and hurling rocks at police?
But, all the important issues aside (abortion was barely mentioned), the general bad behavior of both principal parties was the saddest and surely most disheartening part of the 90 minute “debate” charade. With probably millions of our nation’s young people watching the big event Tuesday night, two men, representing the major political parties of our great nation, were not able to maintain control of their minds, mouths and manners for a few minutes in order to have a meaningful exchange of ideas, visions, paths for America’s present dilemma and future direction.
Our youth must have gone to bed Tuesday night troubled if not traumatized by a public demonstration of vitriolic, venomous outbreaks by two old men who will soon be exiting the stage of life, having played their parts, if they live what is the average lifespan of today’s American male. They leave behind a clouded legacy, put on public display September 29, 2020, of anger, disrespect and at times dishonesty absent any gracious, humble and deferring gentleness, viewed by untold millions of their hopeful, fellow Americans. Both men would, I suppose, rather be labeled under the “Christian” banner as opposed to the “Non-Christian,” so I bid them, and all who read these lines to heed the words of a man who said of himself that at one time in his life he was a “blasphemer, persecutor and injurious…in unbelief,” but found that “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus…” because “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners….” (I Tim. 1:13-15). He had earlier written to fellow believers living in the first century center of world power, Rome:
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another…dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:10,19)