After last Tuesday’s Presidential Debate, the Editorial Board, like many Americans across the nation, are left in a state of despair and disappointment.
The purpose of presidential and vice presidential debates are to educate the public about each candidate’s policies and ideas were they to be elected into office. A glimpse into that candidate’s potential presidency, so to speak.
During these debates, Americans hear from both sides, and for those who have already decided whom they are casting their ballot for, they are quite literally forced to listen to the other side’s perspective in order to hear from their own as well.
These debates are the platform in which voters see the differences between two candidates. Discussion points should center around policy and ideals, not about attacking the other side in order to build up yourself, especially on matters that aren’t relevant to governance.
But that’s not what happened this past Tuesday.
President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden took place in a verbal boxing match. The two trashed each other’s character, poked fun at each other in incredibly aggressive ways and the broadcast was more of a semblance of a reality TV show than an educational program.
Americans turned off their TVs, turned to their social media and the consensus was that the future is bleak, both in terms of how each candidate brought up only negatives about the other making both seem unfit, as well as about the state of democracy in the United States.
We left without seeing either candidate’s true vision for the next four years, with no hope for what the future means as an American citizen.
While we understand the debates are known to become heated and aggressive, these conversations typically center around policy, with each side vying to show why theirs is better. As we can see through the bullying-type behavior exhibited last Tuesday, debates have turned more into a political spectacle than a place to discuss the tasks at hand for future administrations.
One point that was particularly noteworthy was when Trump mocked Biden’s decision to consistently wear a mask while out in public.
“I don’t wear a mask like him,” Trump said. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from you and he shows up with the biggest mask I’ve ever seen.”
The irony of this all is that masks have been proven by the CDC to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Early Friday morning, a mere three days after the first debate, Trump and his wife tested positive for COVID-19, thus forcing him to withdraw from campaign activities just one month before Election Day.
After months of downplaying the severity of the pandemic, Trump and a majority of his staff will be quarantined and out of the office until at least Oct. 16. Not only is the nation’s commander-in-chief in a hospital, but now, a good number of the executive leadership team whose role it is to serve and protect the American people are out of commission.
The health risk to the national security personnel is alarming.
When a country’s top leadership is placed in a vulnerable state, the state of the nation follows with it. They have devastated the American people both in terms of adequate pandemic policies as well as in terms of handling their interpersonal practices in safe and healthy ways, to the point where they have hurt themselves and our country’s role on the world stage.
What is even more scary is that we are one month out from an already at-risk election. Given the concern of foreign interference in the 2016 election and possibility for future encroachment in 2020, the Trump administration’s diagnosis creates even more danger for this type of activity to occur yet again in the coming month.
If anything, Trump’s diagnosis proves that COVID-19 is virulent and aggressive, and not even a presidential title can stop you from contracting it. If one of the most powerful people in the country can contract the virus, anyone can.
This only furthers the severity that more vulnerable populations have faced since the beginnings of the pandemic earlier this year. We know that these populations include non-white, lower-income families throughout the country.
This past Tuesday, Trump blatantly failed to address debate questions surrounding the issue of white supremacy, specifically in how he was unable to condemn it. The fact that he had to even be asked this question, much less his response, or lack thereof, tells you all you need to know.
He mocked Biden’s mask wearing.
And now, Trump is in a hospital.
We wish him a full recovery. Prior to this week, the health of our nation was already poor. We are on month eight of a devastating and painful pandemic. Our democratic systems are fragile and are holding on by a mere thread as we try to navigate an election during a time of social distancing and hardship.
Hold on tight. It’s sure to be a bumpy ride. We’ll be with you through it all, and we will make it to the other side.