from afar

Yesterday, I watched a good portion of the first debate between the two persons running for presidency in the U.S.

Neither one of them lived up to the expectations I had. The man was in no way as disgusting and agressive as I expected him to be after all I have heard. For most part, he appeared to be short of ideas. Spelling out what others did wrong. Not explaining, how he would set it right and why. Save for cutting taxes and increasing custom duties.

The woman was not as elegant and eloquent as expected. She did have policies and solutions, she fights for. And she did explain the whys. But where was the fire? Maybe, the normative power of the factual has long since blown out any fire.  And maybe, this is, what working in politics just does to you. Just maybe, this is as good as it gets, taking everything into consideration. But oh, do I miss the Bern and his visions for a different order. And the power to inspire with words, the one just leaving office has.

Instead, there were attacks on the opponent. Plenty of them. I thought that off the mark. I ask myself: do I apply different rules to a Lady? What, if it were a man. Would the same words have a different effect? I am most certain. But a man would not do it in such a sideway manner, he would do it more directly, speaking to the person, not to the audience about the person standing right next to him.

In this way, the entire thing was blatantly turned into a show. Which it was. A show that got me bored after a while. Overall, I think those debates are not about politics, but about the chance for a broad public to get a first hand impression on who the people are, that they are about to entrust with ruling power. A public behavioral study, if you want. And both combatants on the stage in this particular debate were obviously trying so hard to be NOT themselves, that it all seemed like a bad joke. So I just stopped watching.

Don’t get me wrong. The woman is way ahead with everything, compared to the man. I can not fathom any American in his or her right mind would vote for the man. Knowing in the same instant, that many, hopefully not too many, will do just that. Why, I can not understand. But then again, I am just watching from afar.

7 thoughts on “from afar

  1. They are not just attacking each other in the debate. Hillary has been incessantly scrutinized, criticized, and attacked ever since her husband was elected Governor of Arkansas. She has had to defend her every move for decades, and is justifiably cautious. Trump on the other hand is all offense, devoid of substance. I do hope this “debate” helped people see that he is nothing but a thin-skinned, spoiled frat boy who will blame everyone but himself for his shortcomings. I honestly can’t wait for this to be over.

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  2. It’s interesting to get the view from afar. I’m particularly struck by your comment that you were watching two people try very hard NOT to be themselves. Sad but true. The stakes are so high that they feel compelled to perform. Memorize lines, deliver them unnaturally, stick to the script. Which forces us to read between the lines, note every uncontrollable gesture (like who blinks the most), and remind ourselves, unsuccessfully, that our favorite lines were carefully crafted in advance. It’s performance politics.

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    1. Yes, it is sad. But in the end, we, the people, make this happen, too. Simply by watching. The media will air, what we want to see.
      I still like the golfing idea, I just had (see comment above). Send the opponents out on a round of golf. Or maybe another activity. Painting by numbers would be nice to watch, too. I wonder, which motive each would have chosen.

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  3. Our presidential debates are not debates at all (which is why Obama disliked them so much). They are a series of two minute speeches in which the Prime Directive is to NOT say or do anything that will set the internet on fire while goading the opponent into slipping up. I found NPR’s 100 word summary of the debate pretty much covered the whole thing except that (I found) the Republican’s words got increasingly incoherent as time passed. So much for stamina.

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    1. Maybe every democracy should change the debates into a sports event. Have the candidates play a round of golf, maybe, discussing their ideas between holes or while waiting for the flight in front to leave the green.
      Actually, as I write this, I start to like the idea….

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      1. It’s a great idea, but golf might be too elite of a sport. I think they should go bowling together. We can see how they react to putting on rented shoes. Whether they get a pitcher or individual beers. Whether they are capable of simple addition. How they react to gutter balls.
        It would tell us so much more about these people than the current debate form does.

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