Joe V Donald 'debate':. It was not pretty and quite disturbing. What have we become? What are we supposed to do as we see all this play out?
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The US presidential debate happened this week. Joe Biden V Donald Trump. Commentators on all sides of politics are deeply disappointed and some are quite disturbed. What have we come to in this Western world?
It was two individuals at their base level throwing shaming names at each other mostly over the top of each other at the same time. It was a public words war that was centred not on any policy but on the person. They played the man instead of the ball in this game.
One Aussie journalist put it this way:
The rancour engulfing America swamped the first Trump-Biden debate. This was a spiteful, chaotic, abusive, often out-of-control brawling encounter with both candidates revealing their contempt for each other.(Paul Kelly, senior journalist, The Australian, 30/09/2020
I guess we all knew it would be like this. This quite violent and divisive kind of talk has been like this on our nightly news and online news feeds for ages. But like when you know an event is going to be pretty uninspiring, it is still a bit of shock when it so uninspiring that it actually is disturbing. I think a lot of us feeling that - disturbed.
So many question from those of us who do not live in the US and are not American citizens. The event (I won’t call it a debate because it was not and was never going to be), seemed to be a concentrated up close look at what seems to be a ever-deepening divide in the US.
Paul Kelly again;
On display was the reckless deterioration of American political life and the collapse of respect for civic life. Donald Trump and Joe Biden could barely tolerate each other exposing the raw hostility that plagues America today. There is one certainty from this debate – the Trump and Biden partisans will claim vindication and the divisions in America will only deepen.
I know some American folks and I love them. They are great people and I call them friends. I have Americans in my extended family, and I am happy about that too. I have been to the US three times over the last 30 years and loved it all three times. But I don’t like this deep division that seems to be deepening for them. I fear for the good old US of A. I bet you my friends and family do too.
Is this the road to the end for a superpower? I hear historians hinting at such. This is the end of the Pax Americana (the Peace of America), I sometime hear.
Ancient Rome was the world's most dominant and influential superpower for the longest time, but even it, the great Pax Romana (The Peace of Rome), came to its end. Some say Rome just got bored, so uninspired. Rome lost the will to forge a new way ahead, to build, to improve, to serve….. Rome just gave in to petty politics and hate-filled conversation and basically collapsed, not from a strong outside force destroying it, but it destroying itself from within - like cancer to the human body.
I have not lived long enough and am not wise enough to really know what will become of the US and those of us who are closely related to it; other developed Western countries like Australia. I guess we will see in time - for better or for worse.
What are we supposed to do as this all plays out? Turn off the screen and ignore it as we all roll our eyes in cynical disappointment at these two guys? Do we just throw a few stones ourselves by belittling these men and their country. Do we get so enraged by it that we buy take a side and pass out the ammo for some more hate filled words?
None of these response to our disturbance seems very helpful.
As a person of faith in a gracious God of all nations, I will commend them and us and everyone else to a greater vision for us and avoid the hate, put down the ammo, focus on serving others, loving my family and staying away from the extremes or either side. For me, that is the best I can do. What about you?
One Aussie journo had a kind of solution - at least for the next so called 'debate'. Allow the moderator to 'cut the mic's whenever Donald or Joe get out of control. Caroline Overington from The Australian put like this.
It was the moderator, Chris Wallace, who at one point was reduced to begging a hectoring Trump: “Please sir, stop.” In his defence, he had no ability to cut the mics. That has to happen before the next debate, so the audience at least gets the chance to hear what the candidates have to say. They, of course, should make it worth hearing. (The Australian, 30/09/2020)
I am not sure I really want to hear what they have got to say if it is more of this stuff. I might just 'cut the mic's and keep them cut, at least for a while anyway!