Thought for the Day:
“The most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency.”
Question for the Day:
Have we stopped requiring basic decency in American politics?
Like many voters and concerned American citizens, I decided to tune in to what was supposed to be the 2020 campaign season’s first presidential debate. Though I suspected some level of tomfoolery, out of respect for our democracy, I decided to grit my teeth and hope for the best. After all, we are in the midst of a global pandemic that has claimed over 200,000 American lives. Race relations in this country have deteriorated to the point of a brewing race war and Breonna Taylor’s murderers have escaped adequate punishment. Migrant children of are still being held in detention centers. Millions of Americans are out of work, small businesses are suffering, and instances of depression, increased anxiety, and suicidal ideation are at record highs and steadily climbing. So, though I’m never here for Trump’s shenanigans, I figured it was important to understand what the person who hopes to lead us through Armageddon has planned. Yet instead of learning something new and watching two adult men exchange ideas and debate policy, what I witnessed last Tuesday between former Vice President Joe Biden and the sitting President of the United States, Donald Trump, was a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto mess!
If anyone who watched that debacle actually believes Trump had something valuable to say, then like him, he or she is pathologically delusional. The self-proclaimed “very stable genius” showed his entire behind on debate night and in my opinion, proved himself to be a total embarrassment to our nation. Now, I’m not the biggest Joe Biden fan in the world either and definitely wished he was a little quicker on the draw. However, minus the need for an extra dose of his cognitive meds and a second cup of coffee, I can acknowledge and respect the fact that Biden showed himself to be controlled under pressure, sincere, and an overall decent person. But as far as 45 goes, there are no props to be handed out unless we’re crowning him the reigning champion of political buffoonery.
45’s interrupting, name calling, bullying, and complete lack of honesty and self-control was even worse than what we’ve become accustomed to. Even as a mental health clinician, I was shocked by the level of dysfunction on display for the entire world. Knowing that the Commander in Chief is unable to conduct himself any better than a hyperactive kindergartner, must have the global community snickering. Other countries must be looking at us right now like we’ve got crappy toilet paper stuck to the bottom of our shoe. Bottom line, it was an undeniable s***show and after stepping in that pile of dung, it doesn’t matter who you think won because ultimately, the entire country lost. Yet, if we’re going to attempt to dissect who stood out in certain aspects and why, here are the categories where Donald Trump was the clear frontrunner.
Top BS Artist- Donald Trump is a master at running his mouth incessantly while saying absolutely nothing. I guess he’s perfected the “art of the deal” by basically talking in circles and sending people into a tailspin of confusion until they eventually relent. If I had to listen to Donald Trump talk for an hour, I’d be ready to sign anything just to shut him up! He’s learned to overutilize words like “very good,” “terrific,” “amazing” and “tremendous” to instill confidence in his followers and project an image of competence even in the absence of evidence and common sense. The problem is, most intelligent and critical thinking people require a few more nouns and details in order to make accurate judgements while the easily persuaded might be content with repetitious adjectives and familiar buzz words. Trump’s entire presidency so far has been the equivalent of reading only the prelude to a novel and then somehow cranking out a ten page paper on the moral of the story. His tactic throughout the debate was to distract and deflect. Even the simplest, most direct questions were met with blanket statements, rhetorical questions, and vague claims made with no intent to clarify or support. When asked about paying only $750 in taxes, Trump says he’s paid “millions of dollars, and you’ll get to see it.” How Sway when you refuse to release your tax returns? BS artists will never follow through with any effort to substantiate their claims because they know the truth is a lot less sexy than whatever game they’re running. When it comes to Trump, we already know he’s full of crap, so he might as well just get off the pot.
Bully of the Century – I guess some people just never outgrow the school yard because the way Donald Trump belittled, berated, insulted, and demeaned Joe Biden was far worse than the average middle schooler. The mocking and attacks on Biden’s intelligence were completely uncalled for especially coming from a man who claimed global warning was a scam invented by the Chinese, used “bigly” in a speech, told people to ingest bleach to kill coronavirus, and didn’t know Kansas City was in Missouri. Trump’s bullying is nothing new, of course. We’ve seen him insult women like Maxine Waters and Rosie O’Donnell and assign his enemies degrading nicknames like “Sleepy Joe,” (Joe Biden) “Sloppy Steve,” (Steve Bannon), “Pocahontas” (Elizabeth Warren) and “Sour Lemon” (Don Lemon). We’ve also witnessed as his internet trolling and vengeful Twitter fingers have unleashed countless cyberbullying attacks on anyone who dares tell the truth about the extent of his dishonesty and incompetence. What does a parent tell their child about how to treat other people if the president himself is more focused on playing the dozens than running the country?
King of the Low Blow – When Trump verbally attacked Biden’s sons, that’s when I knew he was truly heartless. There are just some things that a decent human being should never say and every parent should have a basic respect for the love that another parent has for their child. However, Trump once again proved that boundaries are definitely not a part of his limited vocabulary. Anyone who’s ever loved someone with a substance abuse problem knows what kind of pain that involves and not just for the addict, but for the people who love them as well. This was one of the moments when Biden shined to me because instead of apologizing for his son’s battle with addiction, he turned to the camera and praised him for overcoming it and reaffirmed his love and support for him. Sure, he could have called Trump’s sons out on all their questionable business dealings overseas and the very real possibility that they colluded with foreign lawyers to dig up dirt on their dad’s opponents, but kudos to Joe for taking the high road. I’m sure it was the right thing to do, but part of me wonders where Samuel L. Jackson, Madea, or the cast of Saturday Night Live are when you need ’em.
Least Self-Controlled – Though I’m sure Biden is catching some heat from the right for calling Trump a “clown” and telling him to “shut up,” I mean seriously, can you blame him? 45 was literally unable to shut his trap long enough to let Biden or moderator Chris Wallace get a word in edgewise. If he was forced to stopped talking, his beet red face suggested he was about to come down with a serious case of explosive verbal diarrhea. He clearly has no tolerance for listening which means he’s undoubtedly short on knowledge, insight and understanding. This is why children with short attention spans and hyperactive behaviors are often put on medication to increase their capacity for learning. Instead of a shot of disinfectant, Trump could probably benefit from a prescription for Ritalin if it’ll quiet him down long enough to carry on an intelligent conversation and conduct himself like an adult.
Best in Indecency – So, you would think that by the time a person reaches their 70s they’d have a clear understanding of right versus wrong. Yes, I know that has never been a given with Trump who boasts of grabbing women in the private parts and mocks the disabled. But to actually hesitate when asked point blank to openly condemn white supremacy and instead tell the “proud boys” to “stand back and stand by” was several steps beyond common decency, even for Trump. It’s not like it was a hard question or a complicated request, but he still managed to say everything EXCEPT the right thing. I mean, when someone suggests that racial sensitivity training within the police department is “racist,” you can pretty much assume that they don’t believe police brutality exists. To me, that’s proof that 45 is completely biased, insensitive and unconcerned with who he hurts as long as his interests are served first.
Biggest Liar – Since he first stepped onto the political stage, Trump has relied on his ability to stir up emotions to the point where people’s negative feelings eventually override their need for facts. His strategy has always been to just throw something out there, anything, and hope it pisses people off enough to win their support. And like him, the people who believe the things he says are not really interested in the truth, but are just looking for permission to bully, hate, BS, and hit below the belt themselves. Ironically, though Trump inspired the term “alternative facts,” he himself is an OG liar and the founder and CEO of all things “fake news.” During the debate he repeatedly threw out baseless claims of widespread voter fraud with ballots being “thrown in rivers and creeks” with literally no evidence. He lied about the Green New Deal “taking out cows” and accused President Obama of “spying on his campaign.” He claimed Biden advocates for “socialist medicine” and said that he was personally responsible for bringing back “700,000 manufacturing jobs.” Yet, the facts reveal that 483,000 jobs were added during his presidency, but 237,000 have since been lost once again. Trump says there is no such thing as a peaceful protest when “they run through the middle of town and burn down your stores and kill people all over the place.” Yet facts suggest that the vast majority of protests have been peaceful and it’s the “very fine people” like Kyle Rittenhouse who are actually “killing people all over the place.” If lying were a sport, Trump would win gold as his current record of “45 lies per hour,” has yet to be challenged since 2016. No cap!
One of the truest statements Biden made during the debate was when he commented on how “unpresidential” Trump was behaving and there were no truer words spoken that night. That sentiment pretty much sums up why that 90 minute fiasco last Tuesday was such a bad look for our country. We should be able to esteem our president as the best representation of who we are in the world. He or she should carry themselves with dignity, honor and self-control and is the person we should look to for guidance, direction, support and reassurance in difficult times which is why enduring another four years of Donald Trump is near impossible for many people to fathom. In these challenging times, we don’t need a leader who inspires us to hate each other more. We don’t need a president who incites fear, violence, and intolerance or who stokes flames of division and mistrust. Our country is in grave danger and we are right now, TODAY, in desperate need of much more than an impetuous, immature, undisciplined, and untruthful child in the drivers seat. Are We Great Again Yet? Though Trump loves to speak of making America great again, how about we finally acknowledge that it never really was “great” for all of us and remove corrupt politicians who refuse to see beyond their own privilege. If we hope to see America get right, then we must elect a president with some “act right” and Donald Trump certainly ain’t it. It is my hope that we all stand for decency, honor, respect and truth on November 3rd and commit to doing what is best for every American. For more information on how to register to vote and check voter registration deadlines in your state, visit http://www.vote.org today.
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”