Presidential Debate #2 erases the last vestiges of restraint

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After being woken at 2am by the hospital to report that my wife’s condition had deteriorated and was now on a ventilator, I had no option but to watch the American Presidential Debate on CNN as I was unable to sleep. 

How could Trump absolve himself from the controversy swirling around him regarding an offensive, lewd, lascivious comment which objectifies and demeans women? How did Trump handle such a crass comment? Did this debate merely confirm my previous opinions of the candidates and would it shift America’s public opinion?

Main picture: Presidential candidates square up 

Firstly Trump dismissed the comment offhandedly as mere “locker room talk.” After a one line apology without contrition, Trump then deflected attention onto Hillary by recounting all of Bill’s indiscretions with females. No humbling or perhaps even grovelling about his comments. Nothing but a bland unemotional statement.

After 30 plus years of males’ only hiking weekends, none of the males in our hiking club has ever sunk so low as to refer to grabbing females’ genitalia. Never. Ever. Perhaps it might be excusable for a testosterone fuelled 19 year old youngster, but never a 59 year old. This unimpressive apology set the whole tone and content of the talk which was crass, beyond the pail and inexcusable.

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Unfortunately, in refusing to sink to Trump’s level in the gutter, Hillary Clinton squandered an opportunity to shame Donald Trump. I make this claim only because it is when Trump is riled that his utterances become more bizarre and his facts less credible and outlandish.

The comments made by Trump on the Howard Stern’s shock-jock show were not mentioned. There are rumours that there are more recordings of Trump’s language about his carnal desires and outrageous behaviour still buried in the archives of various television shows. These tapes could well be the final disaster to befall the Trump campaign. Based upon the unanimous refrain from the core Trump supporters after the show of accepting Trump’s apology and moving on, will they meekly accept yet more body blows to their unwavering support? Possibly but will the Republican Party establishment not countenance a counter strike.

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Then Trump made another comment which strikes at the heart of his personality. When discussing the deleted emails, Trump’s throwaway line was that, if he were President, he would have her locked up for the defeating the ends of justice. That sounds just like what any winner of a banana republic’s presidential election would do.

Being a debate in the townhall style, questions were raised by members of the audience. In addressing the concerns of a Muslim women, Trump compounded the problem in the second sentence of his reply by stating that Muslims have an extra duty in America: to be snitches on their fellow Muslims.

Hillary might have won the debate by being more controlled, more accurate with the facts and by interjecting less often but, in my opinion, Hillary is an equally unlikable person. What puzzles me is that of the 335 million possible candidates, that both political parties should have endorsed such tawdry – in the case of Trump – and unlovable – in the case of Hillary – candidates. Even though neither could engender a connection with the audience, Trump was even worse in this regard.

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Both candidates need to review the speeches of Ronald Reagan or even Bill Clinton. Both possess authenticity, personability, and connection which neither of these candidates possesses. Hillary’s smile is fake, sterile and lacking warmth. It is as if she has learned, after many hours of practicing in front of the mirror, to switch it on and off as required.

On balance, Hillary might have won the debate yet she does not engender any feeling of excitement and possibility in me. What she will be, is a steady pair of hands, rather than the loose-cannon, bull-in-the-china-shop Trump.

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The words of Pastor Martin Niemoller uttered in despair during Nazi rule in Germany are of particular relevance in this case as the Republican Party never intervened in spite of numerous missteps & miscues by Trump during his campaign:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Pastor Martin Niemoller

Pastor Martin Niemoller

 

Finally, the New York Times lists the number of lies perpetuated by Trump:

  • He lied about the growth rate of the American economy.
  • He lied about ISIS.
  • He lied about Hillary Clinton’s tax plan.
  • He lied about the rape of a 12-year-old girl.

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God bless America!


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