Ramón Del Castillo, PhD
American democracy took a literal thrashing during Tuesday night’s debate. What was framed as a debate turned into a debacle igniting the curious and frightening passions of Americans as they sat down for what they thought was an evening treat, but ended up as a catastrophe. The dynamics were unprecedented in American history and certainly un-presidential—making a laughing stock of this country.
Television producers made a fatal assumption thinking that Donald J. Trump would practice civility during the debate. The reality is that when a sociopath is invited to debate—the moderator should be given the necessary tools to control impulsive vicious and racist attacks—however, there is a caveat, moderators should also be willing to use them when necessary. The reverse occurred. What transpired was a shouting match between an ego maniac and a well-polished statesman, whose charisma could not be tarnished, even by the best of sociopaths.
Rules of engagement and civil discourse went down the tubes during the debate. Insults, interruptions, and a continuous barrage of ragging by President Trump turned into a vaudeville comedy that ended as a tragedy. Values of respect and self-respect were violated not only against many who attended the debate, but the American public as well.
Trump attempted to redbait Biden into a shouting match that at times reached symmetrical escalation, that is, the one with the loudest voice and unruly behavior wins; however, this type of fiasco violates effective communication rules, and in the final analysis ends in a shouting match. In order to have a successful shouting match, there have to be at least two people. In this case, only one participated.
Voting intimidation was brought into the debate as Trump reverted back to his dog whistle language, using it as an alarm to the many supremacist troops standing in line with other white supremacist enclaves, waiting for someone to blow the bugle. In the past, Trump has threatened to send quasi military groups to the voting booths—this was reaffirmed—using intimidation as a strategy to scare people from walking from their homes to the voting booths or somehow presenting the façade that if they don’t vote for the right person, they might be harassed. What is left are frightened families wondering if we are headed towards a Civil War.
Trump’s unwillingness to disassociate himself from white supremacists astonished many patriotic Americans whose sons and daughters have sacrificed their lives for American freedom. One can only imagine members of Proud Boys, an organization that has been touted as rage filled youth on a quest to recapture what they view as consummate Western values, unwilling to see the new América as a multiracial society, marching in unison to the tune of revolt.
The assault that took place on television has penetrated the American consciousness—leaving indelible wounds. Genocide comes to mind as Trump refuses to develop and implement a national plan to address COVID. There has never been a doubt that his intentions are to get rid of Brown people as demonstrated with his border patrol security—placing Brown youth into cages, essentially detaching them from their mothers. The problem is that the deaths caused by the invisible war with this pandemic also affects White people.
On the issue of taxes, Trump purportedly lied, stating that he has paid millions of dollars in taxes, while in other interviews, he has flaunted himself as a “smart,” man with an ability to dodge taxes at the expense of essential workers, including immigrants who are scraping empty pocketbooks to buy food to feed their families. It has been shared that Trump paid only $750.00 in taxes last year during his presidency. Those who occupy the lowest rungs on the economic ladder paid more in taxes than the president.
International viewers—particularly those who have been become purported chums with Trump and have an affinity with América—will secretly get the last laugh. Those who have depended on American wisdom and guidance may have lost respect for América—numbed by a dishonest man who sells himself as an American patriot.
Joe Biden has a lot of work to do to recapture the American soul. The fear that remains cannot be anesthetized by words only—it will require direct action to regain the trust that has almost dissipated to nothing.
América’s soul was collectively damaged as children and families sat in front of televisions to watch a historical event that was transformed into a living nightmare. I believe Joe Biden’s soul was damaged as well after the president attacked his son, a veteran with medals who passed away and whose patriotism will live forever. For Mr. Biden and other families who have lost sons and daughters in war, the memories of their family members will never be erased, they will remain imprinted in the minds and hearts of American history. Voting while enduring the pain of a wounded soul is painful. The pain will not go away, but a voting ceremony can serve as a reminder that together we will overcome.
Trump’s saga will end in an American tragedy. What is left are American patriots holding onto a Constitution whose pages are ready to crumble.
What happened on Tuesday was a debacle.
Ramón Del Castillo is an Independent Journalist. © October 1, 2020 Ramón Del Castillo.
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