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Presidential Debate Reminds Me Of “Happy Days Are Here Again”

October 19, 2016

Over the recent past I have been learning to play  piano.  No recitals anytime soon–or probably ever.  But the list of songs I enjoy playing has expanded and recently as election season has impacted my life Happy Days Are Here Again has repeatedly come to mind.  Tonight as I watched the third presidential debate it was all I could do not to tap my feet to that music which was running through my mind.

When the 1932 Democratic convention was underway it was first thought that Anchors Away should be the prominent song.  But as a political operative to Franklin Roosevelt noted that song would not do as it was used as a jingle for a cigarette company.  That same operative suggested a song from the MGM film Chasing Rainbows.  When she sang and sold the idea to others the convention was told to strike up the band and play it.

Democrats have been using the lifting melody for generations.   With what took place at the Las Vegas debate there is no doubt that song will be heard in November.

With a determined and focused approach Hillary Clinton gave her best debate performance as she forcefully and tactically displayed facts and debate styling.  When she artfully tied gun control and the safety of children into one powerful response near the start of the debate I had a sense she knew precisely who she was speaking to–those Republican women in the suburbs that my better half must surely be tired of hearing me talk about in our home.

She was able to take the fight to Trump and not back down.  When pressed she never retreated or shied away but pointed out the flaws in his views along with the absence of facts in his statements.

The saddest part of the debate, and the point where one could instantly write the headline in all the morning papers in their mind, was when Trump would not state that following the results on Election Night he would commit himself to act with honor in the way that all presidential contenders over time have done.  It was the most audacious remark that he has made on the debate stages this fall.

“I will tell you at the time. I will keep you in suspense,” Trump said, which was a most shocking statement that threatens to contradict the foundation of American democracy.

I do not want to sound flippant about the sad state of affairs that this creates for the nation, but at that moment I knew the election was completely over. There has been no doubt in my mind for months who would win the election.  But I  knew  when Trump made that statement it would resonate in the media and every congressional Republican candidate will be asked to respond.  I know in this land where fair play is an American tradition Trump’s statement will be met with shock and a deepening recognition that something is terribly flawed with the GOP nominee.

Clinton was able to stay long after the debate pressing the flesh and smiling as she knew she had not only won the debate but sealed the election.  As the last hands were shaken and pleasantries exchanged I am sure Clinton–like any presidential candidate at this stage of the campaign–is mighty pleased to have just a short number of days left to rally and get out the vote.

But after what this nation witnessed tonight with the smallness of Trump’s character for all to see I suspect untold millions of Americans are even more pleased than Clinton that this dismal chapter is coming to a close.

So long sad times
Go long bad times
We are rid of you at last
Howdy gay times
Cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past
Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again
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