Deplorable Debate: The Shame Of America

The United States could not have been more collectively embarrassed by the geriatric spoon-fed candidates we have unbelievably chosen as the potential leader of the free world into the third decade of the twenty-first century. Are we absolutely insane?

Apparently so.

One candidate hated to see looting in Charlotte, because it might hurt his investments there. The other claimed that “military style weapons on the streets” is an epidemic, as if guns multiply on their own. Both candidates claimed to speak for phantom constituencies they have as much in common with as I have with a tuk-tuk driver in Bangkok.

They played the one-up game on lies, who really started the “birther” movement (it was both of them, at different times), and accused each other of being the worst liar like Pol Pot and Mao Tse-tung comparing notes on purges and mass killings.

Trump actually tried to maintain an even-keel “presidential” bearing. He blasted Clinton, mentioning “30 years” ten times by my count in a litany of things she never fixed.  Trump’s biggest zinger: replying “Why not?” when Hillary riffed how she’ll be blamed for everything by the end of the night.

The “presidential” act lasted about 25 minutes, until the Real Donald Trump came out, and the presidential Trump never returned.

Hillary got under Donald’s skin when she brought up his finances, claiming he got a $140 million loan from his dad, and that he stiffed many contractors working for him. Trump took the bait and generally melted down into a ball of incoherence.

Most of the major issues surfaced, and nothing was settled. Trump still won’t release his tax returns, although he quasi-challenged Hillary that he’d do it if she released the 30,000 emails still under wraps. But he never followed up. That’s how the whole night went.

They  both pulled their punches, missing opportunities to really drive a point home. When moderator Lester Holt brought up Trump’s support of the Iraq war, Trump emphatically denied it, talking far too long, and made a jackass of himself–falling back on friend Sean Hannity (call him!) to prove he’s right. That made Hillary smile with a huge grin.

Then Trump had the temerity to immediately claim he’s got a better temperament than Hillary.

After the most cringeworthy 90 minutes in the history of television, it was blessedly over. The only person who made it out unscathed was Holt, mostly because he stayed out of the way and let the two old people slug it out in a slow motion version of a badly scripted remake of “Grumpy Old Candidates.”

Tonight and tomorrow, both sides will doubtless claim victory, as if either of them did better than having two horses face away from the audience and trade flatulent outbursts.

Before this debate, if it had gone the way I expected–with Trump maintaining some modicum of self-control–I was prepared to predict Trump will win the election. Now I believe the election is as unpredictable as ever. It’s as if Trump has been trying to throw the election to Hillary, but she’s so bad that he can’t try hard enough to lose.

What I do know is regardless of who wins, in 41 days, we will all lose.

In one pageant of two morose pitiful kleptocrats smelling of Ben-Gay and hair spray, America proved we have reached the nadir of our existence.

Until now, I have been proud to be an American, as Lee Greenwood crooned. This debate (and knowing that one of the two contestants will ascend to the most powerful executive office in the world) has forced me to question that feeling.

America has been shamed.


About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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