I watched the debate.
The whole thing.
Everyone who watched, and there were apparently millions, will come away from that exchange with something different, colored by their perceptions and preconceived notions…there’s no way around that.
The election in November will tell whether or not undecided voters are swayed one way or the other, though it is a field day for the talking heads, yours truly included.
And I came away with two things.
One was painfully clear; Trump is a bully.
I think he was playing to his base on that one. It has been his method of ‘debate’ since the beginning; it is he method of business and seems to be his preferred stance in interpersonal relationships, although that last is implied from primary and secondary sources, not from observation.
Trump interrupted Clinton 22 times in the first 26 minutes, 51 times overall. Clinton interrupted him 17 times, and most of those were to interrupt his interruption of her.
Debates have rules of order and rules of courtesy; Trump famously doesn’t like to play by the rules, and again, those who follow him find this endearing. They think that would make him a good leader.
And there is something to be said for not following the rules. Most of us bend or break various rules, social or more legal, on a daily basis. Speed limits, stop signs, common courtesies, business rules, housing codes, city ordinances…but Trump’s disregard for common courtesy is at a whole different level.
I don’t like bullies. Never have.
Which is one of the reasons the ‘debate’ was so painful to watch.
I wanted to reach in and grab him by the throat.
I tend to be a rather peace-loving person, given to offering second and third chances and giving the benefit of the doubt. This is NOT a person I can see leading our country in any direction I would want it to go. Bullies don’t make good leaders; they make enemies.
This is not a time to make enemies, but a time to forge alliances, build bridges, both metaphorically and domestically.
The second thing that was clear to me is that though Trump says he really really cares about America, he doesn’t really really support America at all. He’s a businessman; businessmen talk in terms of money. Money is what matters and you put your money there.
The only tax returns I know of for Trump were from when he was applying for licensing of his casinos, and had to provide them in 1978, 1979, 1984, 1991, 1993. In those years he paid no taxes. No taxes.
He won’t release his tax returns now, although he said his income was some 600 plus million dollars. Likely he again paid no taxes, or nothing near the percentage of income you and I paid.
No taxes for the military, infrastructure, fire departments, schools, Post Office, police, air traffic controllers, and on and on. Nothing. WE pay for that. You and I pay for that. He just benefits from our taxes. He fairly gloats over that. I don't necessarily like paying taxes, but I do consider it part of the contract I have in living in the US and the enormous benefit that affords me.
Trump does everything he can NOT to pay for that. He doesn’t really care. He said in the debate that “makes him smart.” In other words, the rest of us, those of us who support our country, our military, our homeland, we’re stupid.
And he doubled down on that when Clinton brought up his business bankruptcies. She said he “stiffed” hardworking people, architects, plumbers, contractors and drapery fabric businessmen like her father. He said that was just, “good business.”
I almost flew off my chair. Good business??
It gets back to point one; he’s a bully and he doesn’t really care about you and me or anyone else for that matter.
He cares about Trump.
It is also informative to check the candidates association with facts, as opposed to sound bytes and opinions. Facts do matter; it’s not easy, but it really is important to sift through spin and talking points. Here’s a few links:
…and finally, and probably most importantly: The Onion