Yesterday, I typically post to Two Writing Teachers website, particiapting in the Slice of Life, where we write about a slice of our lives, and comment on others. It’s a great place to write, a great group of teacher-writers, but I got distracted with school, then getting home, bringing in veggies from the garden because tomorrow night it might frost.
I know. Frost. October 1. Yuck. I was writing about being political in that blog, which I may post Friday or next Tuesday, but I also got distracted by the debate last night.
The debate was an embarrassment for all to see. It would be, in the words of my daughters, cringeworthy. Our president’s strategy was to get underneath Joe Biden’s skin, trying to get him to crack under pressure, then show the world how unfit he was to be president. Joe Biden threw out of good one liners, but was on the defensive much of the night and I was struck by how our president has normalize bullying in this country. If my students watched the debate (and honestly, I hope they did not), they saw the highest office in the land reduced to the big kid in the yard chasing smaller kids around. Biden put up a good fight, but wow. Neither man gave us any policy, any “good things” to take away, and I kept thinking about an early eposide of The Simpsons where the family is in some kind of lab, electrodes attached to each of them, and they could shock each other at will. I wish Chris Wallace had something like that to keep order.
My takeaway was when Wallace gave Trump as softball of a question:
“You have repeatedly criticized the vice president for not specifically calling out Antifa and other extremist groups. Are you willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and say they need to stand down and not to add to the violence in these cities as we saw in Kenosha and in Portland?”
He couldn’t do it.
“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what, somebody has to do something about antifa and the Left.”
He could not tell this white supremacist group to stand down, to back off, to stay home, or whatever words you’d use to tell someone you need them to back away.
He told them to “stand back”, or take a few steps back, and “stand by”, stay close.
These are not the words we needed to hear. We needed, in no uncertain terms, for our president to distance himself from ALL forms of white supremacy. Now, you may be thinking, “But he’s made these statements before,” and I won’t argue that point. However, on national television, in front of millions, he did not.
I will watch the future debates as I’m interested what the vice presidential candidates will show up with. We need leaders who can lead, period. I’m not sure what I saw last night, but I hope my students did not witness it.
But right now, I fear for my country because the path we are taking socially and financially is not sustainable, and if we lose faith in the principles of our nation, our downfall will be quick and painful as any we’ve ever seen.