Tuesday, September 27, 2016

First U.S. Presidential Debate 2016: Clinton vs. Trump

I've posted many times about politics over the years. However, during this election season, I don't feel as connected to political news as I have in the past.

It's partially because I cancelled my cable TV subscription and don't subject myself to the relentless onslaught of meaningless chatter from the talking heads. If there's something happening that I'm interested in, I go online and find objective information about it. Then I look to see what people are saying about it. Another factor in my disillusionment is the unfortunate reality that both candidates are not choices that I feel excited about.

I'm registered as an Independent, so I don't pledge blind allegiance to any party or affiliation. I was solidly in favor of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary, who I've seen fighting for the citizens of this country for years. Bernie represented the highest aspirations of progressive-minded Americans, with a vision for remedying the core problems facing this nation: campaign finance, the private health care mess, and unscrupulous banking practices. At the same time as the Democrats were debating the important issues facing the country, I recognized the entire Republican field of candidates as the pathetic clown car that it was- totally void of any substance or insight into the real causes of people's everyday problems.

When Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination, I shared the lack of enthusiasm that so many others experienced. I don't think America should be in the habit of electing political family dynasties, regardless of whether they are Clintons, Bushes, Kennedy's, or any other recognizable name. Hillary also seemed like she had a lot of baggage, especially with her ties to Wall St., and was disliked by many people. At least she has extensive experience in government and has worked to make positive change on various fronts.

As much as I personally despise Donald Trump and everything he represents, I was actually rooting for him during the GOP primaries. All the other candidates were absolutely friggin' horrible, and at least Trump was exposing the absurdity in the whole political process. I felt a guilty sense of entertainment at watching Trumpzilla stomp across the landscape of the conservative establishment and tearing the party to shreds.

I was thinking, as bad as Hillary may seem, nobody would really vote for such a vile and dangerous ignoramus like The Donald... right? The guy is a con-man, a self-promoting charlatan. He cheats small businesses, has the mentality of a toddler, rips off the public in numerous ways, possesses a poor understanding of even the basic political issues, has a fascist and hateful disposition, and is just a complete asshole. There's NO WAY he can be President... RIGHT?!?!?!

by Paul Micarelli

Well, I began to be disturbed by the many people who were saying they supported Trump and planned to vote for him. I can understand not wanting to vote for Hillary, but everything that's wrong with her is exponentially worse with Trump. All the things Trump fans accuse Hillary of embodying- lying, incompetence, greed, lust for personal power, indifference to the country's problems, etc.,- all these things are fully manifested and completely unfettered in Donald Trump. However, people are under the delusion that Obama has destroyed this country, we can build a wall around Mexico to keep out scary illegals, and that the U.S. Government should really be run like a for-profit business. Trump feeds this fear and ignorance by talking about the United States like it's a dangerous & poverty-stricken shithole from coast to coast.

Trump is a shitty human being, and a shittier businessman. However, people somehow still like the guy and think his shady business experience qualifies him to be President. Despite having a pretty strong revulsion toward him, I tried to keep an open mind going into this first Presidential debate.

Despite making a legitimate argument against NAFTA and other trade deals early on in the debate, Trump quickly devolved into the cartoonish cretin that everyone with a minimum of common sense knew him to be.

I watched in disbelief as the things spewing out of his mouth defied facts, logic, and elementary school grammar. I had prepared for the debate by dulling my nerves with a large whisky on the rocks, and indulged in a couple additional beers to make it to the end without losing my mind. How Hillary generally maintained her composure in the presence of such lunacy is extraordinary.

I'm not going to get into the minutia of the debate, there have already been countless posts & articles analyzing every aspect. It was hard to appreciate in real time, but Sec. Clinton repeatedly goaded him into subtle confrontational traps. Trump, in his sheer ignorance & arrogance, stepped into them every time, while flailing around with no idea he was ripping his own limbs off.

I couldn't believe the horrible, stupid fucking things he was saying:
Yeah, he ripped off small business contractors & didn't pay them... He's smart because he doesn't pay taxes like a normal citizen... Everyone agrees Rosie O'Donell deserved getting called a fat pig... We can blow an Iranian ship out of the water & it won't start a war... Stop & frisk policies are constitutionally sound... He never said the Chinese invented global warming (he did)... and on and on and on...

There were many, so many, ridiculous quotes that made me go "WTF?!?!" but my favorite had to be:

"I don't know if we know it was Russia who broke into the DNC, [Clinton is] saying Russia, Russia, Russia. Maybe it was. It could also be China, it could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."

This remark had everyone in the room absolutely dying from laughter. It was unbelievably silly and over-the-top, even for Donald.

The more I watched Trump speak, the more I felt like it had to be some kind of disturbing hallucination. This couldn't be real. Every time he closed his eyes, he looked like a strange, pouting creature with three mouths on his face. Luckily, I'm not the only one who thought this, and of course the Internet had produced images illustrating this weird perception:

In the past, I've been flabbergasted when the mainstream media pundits declared George W. Bush or Mitt Romney successful in their debates, no matter how bad they performed. Therefore, when I saw that pretty much everyone who didn't have their head up their own ass (including conservatives!) said that Hillary trounced The Donald, I knew that it wasn't just me who saw Trump as a loser of epic proportions. As Donald himself would say... "Sad!"

Despite the stark contrast in the two candidates, I don't think the debate changed the minds of any firm supporters of either side. Democrats backing Clinton would never vote for someone who is clearly more dangerous, unqualified, and unhinged. If you are already a diehard Trump supporter, you are likely impervious to all the facts and reason that show what a disaster he would be. The funny thing is, he doesn't give a crap about his supporters or anyone else. All Trump cares about is the Trump™ brand and his own wealth and power. He is the very ugliest aspects of the ego, personified.

If you were an "undecided" voter beforehand, though, I can't see how Trump's pathetic showing would inspire any confidence whatsoever. Especially next to Hillary Clinton's relatively calm demeanor & competent grasp of the issues, the only way he could have looked less Presidential would be if he flung his own poo at the moderator.

It ain't over until it's over, though. There are two debates left, and I guess some unthinkable turn of events could take place. The world will keep watching and hoping that the joke of a Trump Administration doesn't become a seriously disturbing reality.

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