The Ugliness Pageant Tonight

I look forward to tonight’s verbal bout with morbid curiosity, wondering just how low the blows will go.

I was eager to watch the first presidential “debate”, at least before it began.  In writing about it afterwards I began to substitute “debate” with “contest,” for there was no debating going on, just personal attacks and counter attacks.  These are not debates of serious issues, something so obvious that it is irritating when some pundit points out afterwards that the debate “lacked substance” or worse was a “farce”.

Of course it was.   You can’t have serious debates over several important issues in 90 minutes.  The limited format of these programs deny the possibility of debating serious issues which are complex and hence difficult to understand and made more confusing by a political rhetoric flooded with disinformation.

As much as we might complain, we don’t want that.  We want to be entertained.  Unfortunately, I doubt if I will be tonight because things could get especially yucky, boiling down to comparisons of Donald Trump’s piggish ways with women with those of Bill Clinton’s.  It doesn’t make me feel good to be an American.

Still, I am curious as to how Trump will play this.   He’s the guy who supposedly tells it like it is.  How does that square with “nobody respects women more than I do.”….and the Access Hollywood tape, where he boasts that women accept his kissing and groping any part of their bodies because he is a “star.”

And then his apology?  Or a string of them with undoubtedly another on tap for tonight. Really does anyone even in his campaign believe him?  That he has actually had a change of heart?  His regret is revealing just who he is when it comes to women.   He wasn’t a young boy trying to impress his mates, but 59.   You think he’s changed a lot in 11 years?   Have you?

So, how Donald tap dances around this issue tonight will interest me, as I don’t think his going after Bill as if he was Hillary’s fault is going to work with many undecideds, especially the millennials for whom it is ancient history.

But Trump has his own line of attack.  The Wiki Leaks emails regarding Hillary’s speeches to Wall Street reveal she was more chummy with these business people than her public comments would suggest, especially since those comments sounded tougher the more challenged she was by Bernie Sanders.

In other words, you can’t trust Hillary to be straight forward.  In response to that, I would say Hillary fudges and spins the truth as do all politicians.  She looks worse than most because everything she has done has been put under the microscope by Republicans.  Trump on the other hand, just makes things up that suit his purposes, including his having more respect for women than anyone else.   What bothers me most about Trump as president is that his fabrications will come to dominate our thinking, and truth will become more and more what he espouses it to be, as is now true with his die hard followers.

The bout begins in an hour or so.  At least I hope to see something worth writing about.

P. S. – As to the title of this post, I think of television debates beginning as a sort of beauty contest between Kennedy and Nixon in 1960, which Kennedy won by looking more handsome, cool and collected than Nixon, who looked unshaven and uncomfortable.   Over the years, these pseudo debates have become uglier as disinformation and personal attacks have increasingly colored their content.  In this year of Trump, we have reached a particular low, a national embarrassment.


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