On Tuesday night, the first Presidential debate was set to take place. Instead, it was an hour-and-a-half long disgrace to democracy, our government, and America as a whole.
Inside the Samson Pavilion on the campus of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, President Donald Trump’s demeanor was instantly hostile and angry, angrier than usual. Fox News anchor and moderator Chris Wallace prefaced the debate by disclosing that both Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaigns agreed that each candidate would have two-minute answers with no interruptions from their opponent. However, straight away, Trump broke that rule and resorted to snide remarks during Biden’s responses.
Questions asked during the debate covered topics such as the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, health care, and the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s successor on the Supreme Court. These are important issues, and American voters have the right to hear both candidates’ stances in order to make informed and educated decisions on who will lead our country for the next four years.
President Trump’s blatant disrespect extended far beyond his opponent, Joe Biden. Moderator, Chris Wallace, was also a target of Trump’s wrath. Between a multitude of “excuse me’s,” Trump argued with Wallace about why he deserved to ignore the rules about interruptions and time-limits and speak whenever he pleases.
Trump’s behavior on Tuesday was a perfect representation of how he’s handled the presidency for the past three and one-half years. He does what he wants, when he wants. He refers to revered politician and former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” due to her Native American heritage. He spews thousands of lies, and when the media attempts to hold him accountable, he calls it “fake news.”
He describes Ku Klux Klan members and unapologetic anti-Semites as “fine people.” He ignores the thousands of protesters yelling, chanting, begging for change. Instead, he talks about how well the economy is doing.
While the state of our economy depends on the person you ask, one thing is clear: Americans are dying. Some due to unnecessary acts of violence against black people, and others because of the coronavirus. Neither the pandemic of racism in America nor the coronavirus pandemic is being handled efficiently by our current commander-in-chief.
Justice has not been served for Breonna Taylor, an innocent black woman who was wrongfully murdered in her home by police officers. Her name was barely even mentioned during court proceedings that determined what would happen to the men who took her life. More than 200,000 Americans are dead, and over 1 million have been sick because of COVID-19.
This puts the United States in a stark lead regarding global cases and deaths. I know that I said lead, but you guys: This is not a good thing. Tuesday’s debate was not a good thing.
It provided entertainment to most, and I don’t blame those who laughed or smiled while watching a wrinkly, sweaty orange guy argue with a forgetful, yet passionate 77-year old. I would laugh, too, if I wasn’t so overcome with hopelessness and fear for the future.
I hate to admit it, but I’m scared. As an African-American, I’m scared to live in a country where our leader refuses to publicly denounce white supremacists and neo-fascists. Instead, he tells them to “stand back” and “stand by.” Stand by? For what? What does that mean? I’m afraid to find out.
To other teens out there like myself, I have no choice but to echo what Joe Biden said near the end of Tuesday night’s train wreck: “Vote. Vote. Vote.” I know you’re tired of hearing it, but, please, just do it. Do it for me, a passionate and informed student who is, unfortunately, only 17 years and eight months old.
My voice matters, and so does yours. What took place on Tuesday night was embarrassing and horrifying to watch. Please, do your part to ensure something like that will never happen again.
VOX ATL contributor Lexi Rogers, 17, attends Woodward Academy, where she serves as head Features Editor for The Butterknife.
Above screen shot is from a highlights video of Tuesday night’s debate posted on the New York Times website.