The great debate… or not


photo via Getty Images

Absolute chaos.

Last night’s presidential debate started fiery and quickly spiraled out of control. With the candidates simply going at each other like children for the majority of the 90 minutes, this first of three debates marks an embarrassing time for American politics. 

Traditionally, the debates serve as a guide for conflicted voters, with candidates revealing potential policies and arguing prevalent national conflicts. Unfortunately, last night did not offer much insight to either candidate’s plan for the country. President Donald Trump spent a majority of the night focused on interrupting and attacking his opponent, rather than actually answering the questions posed. Vice President Joe Biden seemingly tried to answer questions, but was often stopped by Trump before he could finish a complete thought.

There was clearly an unchecked mutual contempt between the pair, with the debate as a whole consisting largely of an exchanging of insults. Trump bombarded his opponent with personal attacks, insulting his intelligence and family members in the process. When asked why the American people should trust him, the President chose to spend his allotted two minutes attacking Biden’s credibility instead.  

When interrupted, Biden lost his composure and snapped “Will you shut up, man?” He also fired off that President Trump is “the worst president America has ever had” and referred to him as a “clown.” While the retorts were comedic gold and arguably justified, this type of bickering is incredibly unprofessional for a political debate. 

Furthermore, the manner in which Trump argued over the moderator was plain embarrassing. Poor Chris Wallace had to directly address the President and plead with him to stop the constant interruptions. When asked to debate in a more civil manner, Trump snapped back at Wallace and whined that Biden should be reprimanded as well. 

One startling moment from last night was when President Trump was asked to condemn white supremacists. He stated that he is “willing to do anything” and “want[s] to see peace,” but then only announced “proud boys stand back and stand by.” Instructing these hate groups to “stand by” rather than actually disavowing them is concerning. President Trump’s refusal to straight up condemn white supremacy on national television was one of the most pathetic moments of the evening. 

Trying to determine a winner is virtually impossible. If judging by passion and volume, President Trump would be the clear winner. Yelling and pointing frequently, his voice roared dominantly throughout the night. 

If looking at general public speaking skills, Vice President Biden seems like the more reasonable choice. Although there were a few stutters, he generally remained level-headed in comparison to the president. Rather than simply yelling at his opponent, Biden spoke directly into the camera at times, appealing to the millions of Americans tuning in from home. Trump was speaking to Biden, but Biden was speaking to us. 

When attempting to evaluate the amount of information shared regarding proposed policies, it was a lose-lose situation as neither candidate really answered the questions. 

In response to last night’s debate, the American people should be embarrassed. The rest of the world is laughing at our current political train wreck. 

The Times in the UK wrote, “The clearest loser from the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was America,” and The Guardian detailed it as a “national failure.” French newspaper Libération called the debate “chaotic, childish [and] grueling.” 

With the American political situation in shambles on a global stage, the world has not held back on criticism in the slightest. Last night proved to be a disappointing display of our two candidates. Sadly, these are nonnegotiable options with the election looming. All that can be done now is to pray that the following debates resemble civility and the country survives the next four years with one of these men at the helm.