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“Obesely Immoral” Presidential Debate

September 30, 2020

How many showers did it take at your home to rid yourself of the dirty feeling following the most rancid presidential debate in American history? Since 1976 I have watched each of the debates and looked forward to them, as I did all day Tuesday. But I sat shell-shocked as the most serious issues in the land, and the most important office in the land, were treated as if they were no more important than who will be the team captain for a bowling league. It was galling, pathetic.

Donald Trump tore up respect for the Oval Office, the honor of the title that comes with an election, any shred of decency he retained, any ounce of respect he had left for the people of this nation, or the process that is now underway to chose his replacement. Two hours after the insanity had ended I headed to the third floor of our home in t-shirt and shorts to take my mood out on the stationary bicycle. I turned the music up and ‘biked’ half-way across Madison and back. I have never been more dispirited about the process of an election or the state of our nation than I am today.

For decades I have pondered in advance of the debates how the candidates would speak, form their ideas for a watching public, and even use body language. All that is part and parcel of connecting with voters at such a time. But Trump came to the stage and purposely took the lowest path ever used in a debate–going so dark that he would not disavow white supremacy.

James, at one point as my voice was rising, said I was trying to analyze the debate as it this were a normal time, or that a giant jackass were not on stage. I could not, he said, use the rules of the road as they had long existed to frame my thoughts about what I was seeing.

Is that not a sad state of affairs?

When we have to jettison reasoned and well-argued past debates as reference points to make room for the “obesely immoral” absurdity of Donald Trump? That phrase was used by Anderson Cooper on CNN in post-debate dialogue and it is a most apt phrase.

This morning the nonpartisan group, which sponsors the presidential debates, said the debate, during which Trump repeatedly interrupted Democratic nominee Joe Biden and moderator Chris Wallace, “made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.”

Last night Biden at times flashed his famous grin in disbelief at what he was hearing, but that does not remove another dark and corrosive stain Trump has left on the nation. One more institution has been smeared, fouled and made small by the “obesely immoral” one who tried to take America to another lower rung on the ladder.

This must end.

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