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DURING THE “TOWN MEETING” STYLE presidential debate — which was held at Washington University in St. Louis, MO on October 9th, 2016 — global viewers and American voters got their second chance to see the two gargantuan rivals in the same room together battling it out for the biggest office in the world. Yes, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump: both strong-willed, pathological liars; an ex-first lady and a politician standing up against a businessman and a reality TV personality; a veteran representative and a new player to the game; both had something to prove; neither of them was ready to hold anything back.
Reflecting on that day, most people would remember Mr. Ken Bone as the proverbial climax of the unusual event because of his red sweater — which became an internet sensation but later on reports came out showing that he was sort of a weirdo — but something much more fascinating happened there.
Moments during this special debate highlighted important cultural sentiments from regular people and gave us a raw exposé on how politicians assembled the voters’ impressions of them and their policies. We should look back every now and then in order for us to see important clues that we were given into exactly what kind of future would be coming towards us.
To give a few examples to illustrate my idea — starting with the fifth question from the audience, which came from Mr. James Carter, who asked the candidates: “Do you believe you can be a devoted president to all the people in the United States?”
Trump answered with, “Absolutely,” and went on to say that he “will be a president for all of our people.” Relishing for a moment how quickly he spun his reply to, “I’ll be a president that will turn our inner cities around and will give strength to people and will give economics to people and will bring jobs back.”
What made the 2016 debates notably different contrasted to any other in history was the constant bickering of the candidates; the relentless gossiping among the opponents. Trump — of course — was spearheading most of the verbal attacks but all of the participants joined in for the name-shaming-game by the end of it. So, in the same quote, after squeezing in some of Clinton’s political shortcomings for a while, he returned back to state that,
I would be a president for all of the people, African- Americans, the inner cities. Devastating what’s happening to our inner cities. She’s been talking about it for years. As usual, she talks about it, nothing happens. She doesn’t get it done.
Same with the Latino Americans, the Hispanic Americans. The same exact thing. They talk, they don’t get it done. You go into the inner cities and — you see it’s 45 percent poverty. African- Americans now 45 percent poverty in the inner cities. The education is a disaster. Jobs are essentially nonexistent.
I find it particularly impressive how much he changed his concentration when he was talking directly to a minority. Not impressive in a good way but in a more pompous way. He brought up inner cities instantly after an African American asked him a simple question that would typically come up during any presidential debate. That concerned me when I saw it for the first time. I believe that he took Mr. Carter’s question rather personally and even on a racial level he tried to dissect himself as an involved, observant white billionaire, and it certainly failed.
The third question to come from the audience came from Ms. Gobrah Hamed, who asked, “Hi. There are 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, and I’m one of them. You’ve mentioned working with Muslim nations, but with Islamophobia on the rise, how will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being labeled as a threat to the country after the election is over?”
Trump’s response was — unsurprisingly — very unrealistic and passive-aggressively rude. According to Vox, “Trump responded by accusing Muslims of being terrorist sympathizers.”
Then he went further. Just minutes later, Trump implied that many of the Syrian refugees coming to the United States were actually terrorists, saying they are ‘going to be the great Trojan horse of all time.’
This was very much unlike what we heard him say a few days before, “I moved on her like a bitch… [W]hen you’re a star… You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” Those recorded remarks made us feel disgusted when we found out how he actually feels about women behind closed doors; behind the television facade that he’s made for himself; when he’s with the boys. Trump released his apology video on October 8th — just one day before the debate.
So what I’m showing you here is that in a single day we saw how he reacted to women, Black Americans, Muslims, and minorities in general by automatically connecting them to sexual abuse, inner cities, terrorism, and poverty. The situations were spread apart and certainly, they are up to each person’s own interpretation, but what I saw was a rich old man with a long record riding into fame and a presidency by disdain after 8 years of political correctness.
In November 2017, the no-longer-candidate, now President Donald Trump reiterated in South Korea that Chicago is still a total disaster. And that’s because it is.
According to heyjackass.com, the windy city has a shooting every 2 hours and 21 minutes and someone is murdered every 12 hours and 29 minutes. Since the beginning of 2017, the city has had 611 homicides. A staggering rate — 92.7 percent — of those homicides were caused by a gun compared to the runner-ups, which are: stabbings (3.7%), trauma (1.8%), auto collisions (0.8%) and child abuse (0.5%).
FOR A LITTLE BIT OF PERSPECTIVE on what we had compared to what we have now, this is how President Obama responded to a question at Elkhart, Indiana, on June 1, 2016, about restricting gun laws on “good” gun owners in order to limit “bad” gun owners who cause crimes.
Without comparing their political views or anything else but their attitude and spirit, President Obama was able to display an image of calm, mental stability, empathy, and intelligence. President Trump, however, continually finds new ways to give excuses as answers and be completely oblivious to social norms while technically remaining in control of himself, his family, his businesses, and the entire country.
Obama was able to stand in a room with strangers from all different backgrounds and talk to them like they were his people; he was a part of the affluent; in the middle class but not so wealthy that he was disconnected psychologically from the hundreds of millions of working people. Trump isn’t able to do that, for many different reasons.
I assume that what the Trump presidency has brought is a more transparent glimpse into what kind of people are running our highest offices, for example, our national institutions and our multinational corporations. Take a look at his Twitter account. Over 36k tweets since March 2009; surely enough evidence of what kind of person he is. What sort of sentiments he holds; painting a much clearer image of who is leading us for the next 3 years instead of just what we hear in speeches.
Perhaps this is how leadership is going to be from now on because we all know what politicians are doing is just a charade anyway. We attract ourselves more often to those that are being real and are more relatable to us. Those who are being honest, however untruthful and insane the ideas may be, they at least show their true quality to the world instead of a disguising themselves with a character made in order to please us.
Trump is the kind of man that will do something important at work and then have to tell someone about it right afterward. Obama was able to keep to the official script, let his secretary handle his social media accounts, and continue to have a functional family unit while he was in office. I suppose both have their ups and their downs but it is apparent that freedom of speech had to be exercised in a responsible way when it was coming from an elected official but now that has radically changed.
Between the lines, whatever path we’re on appears to be more regressive, foolish and archaic than we are led to believe in the headlines. The town meeting debate gave a real-world example of how things would be dealt and I don’t think that is much of a surprise. A president like Trump removed some red tape and let us peek into what’s happening a bit more but it also allowed prejudice to flood back in and the tensions have been rising.
I wonder how deep are we going to let the unnecessary puddle grow before we decide it’s time to clean up the mess?