When did decency, courtesy, common sense, and respectability vanish from political debates and campaigns? On Tuesday night, America and the rest of the world witnessed an interaction between our two presidential candidates that defied all semblance of kindness and decency. As someone who observed the entire spectacle, I was horrified at the remarks that were exchanged.
In spite of the moderator’s valiant attempts to maintain order and adherence to the topics presented, both candidates found ways to wander all over the spectrum of subjects. As insults began to be exchanged, the decibel level finally reached a place that made everything incomprehensible.
This is not simply an issue of Republican versus Democrat, Trump versus Biden, conservative versus liberal. Both participants turned important national issues into personality conflicts or denials of all statements made by the other party. It amused me that handshakes were not allowed due to Covid-19. If that situation were not in place, I seriously doubt that either Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden would have wanted to get that close to his opponent.
On the local level, Senate and Congressional races are no less ugly. Is it possible that hurling insults and accusations has been going on for some time and I never noticed before? We have candidates suggesting that their opponents are liars, robbers, and almost everything else short of being convicted felons. It can’t be the presence of social media in 21st century politics that has made the difference. My personal view is that the frequency of crime riots, hostilities, and social discord have made the exchange of nastiness more common.
Like most Americans, I can hardly wait for this election season to be over. Filling the television station and other media with hate and unpleasantness is wholly distasteful. I have stopped wondering who is honest and who is not, who is sincerely determined to improve our world and who is self-serving. But I sincerely keep looking for a candidate in any of these political races who asks for votes based on his or her record, not because the opponent is slimy and unworthy. From the looks of current situations it’s not in the foreseeable future and we can all hope that election day arrives as soon as possible. Shalom.