Corona Virus Quarantine Day #194: For History’s Sake: September 30, 2020:
Last night the United States sat in horror as they watched the first of three Presidential debates between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Now, as a history teacher, I think it’s important that people tune into these events. Also, as a history teacher I think it is my job to give my students both sides of the story and let them determine their own opinion.
So I am writing this today for the sake of history, I will not get in a political debate with anyone.
When the debate ended the person who spoke said something to this effect to the listeners at home “we are all breathing a collective sigh of relief that this debate has finally come to an end.”
Wow. This person nailed it. I couldn’t have agreed more.
I watched this at home with Bryan in horror. Several times I considered turning it off, but felt like I was duty bound to watch it. History was definitely made last night, but not in a good way.
The news reports today described this debate as a “brutal slugfest” and a “chaotic mess”. One reporter on TV last night simply described it as a “shit show.”
I have to say, I felt the same way.
We are living in a time of so much vitriol and divisiveness and this, did not help. Now, I’m no fool, I didn’t expect these two men to get up and sing each other’s praises, but I expected better than this (my mistake, I guess). They are from opposite parties and both are fighting for their respective political lives…but my goodness…the interrupting.
As an adult, teacher, mom, human, I find interrupting to be one of the rudest forms of disrespect. Just listen and wait your turn to speak. You will get your turn. Neither of these men were capable of doing that. At one point Biden says to Trump “Man, would you please shut up?”
Say what? Nothing about this debate seemed at all presidential. While it’s hard to believe a line like that would be spoken in a presidential debate, if you were watching, you probably agreed with him.
The interrupting on both sides…again, so hideous.
Presidential debates have had many one liners and quotable moments over the past but this was a new kind of quotable moment. In the past the candidates have found ways to insult one another in a more, dare I say, presidential way.
For example, in 1984 when Ronald Reagan was running against Walter Mondale, Mondale suggested that Reagan was too old to continue doing the job of the president. To this Ronald Reagan replied, “I am not going to make age an issue in this campaign, I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” Even Mondale laughed.
While each side typically takes their shots during a debate, the shots fired last night seemed out of control, too far and just down right cruel at times.
At at time when our nation is divided in so many ways, I just cannot wrap my head around how this is helpful.
The naïve and hopeful side of me just wishes the two sides could find a way to work together so our country could actually get some real work done. But last night proved we are a very long way from that happening.
The bottom line for me is that we as a nation have forgotten how to respect someone else who has a different opinion than you. It’s ok to believe something different than someone else and still treat that person with respect and dignity.
These two men, who should be emulating that very behavior did just the opposite last night.
Maybe there is some successful political strategy in what happened up there on that stage that I am not privy to, but I was embarrassed for our nation. I was disappointed. I had a legitimate headache when it was over and I pray to GOD that next time, they do better.
History was made last night, just not the good kind.
On a side note and along the lines of history…our triplets have been fired up excited about a Native American project they are doing for school. All I know is Cooper has an animal skull, feathers, a deer antler, a bag of sticks and a hot glue gun in his back pack ready to make magic happen tomorrow. Ellen also has a bag of sticks, toothpicks and some of our largest marsh mellows for her project and Finley cut up a whole box of cardboard for whatever he is making.
The history teacher in me was crazy proud to hear them talk about their history class like it’s the most exciting thing in the whole world.
So I’ll celebrate that tonight instead of thinking about what a disaster that debate was last night.