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Pres Debate #2 (1c)

October 11, 2016

Numb from enduring that 90 minutes, nevertheless I put together these immediate thoughts (and then the next, more reflective, pages on the next day, after watching the debate again). Things are moving fast, but I want to put these pages into the narration of this episode.

There are also the fires of hell (to update (1b)). Or a dumpster. Trump was entirely himself (and without shouting), only more calculatedly so. He weaponized his personality. Does the Trump character represent the character of millions of Americans who voted for him in the primaries and are likely to vote for him again? He played to his base, with these gestures that he clearly believes they find appealing, in their candidate and apparently in an American President: “she/you should be ashamed” (three times!, and I’m writing another page about how destructive I think shame and shaming are; they seem to be an important feature of punishment, for the Trump demographic).

In view of the T performance in this debate, is there reason to think that our political culture, or any part of our civic culture, can continue to be civil and reasoned? For instance, would teachers make this debate assigned viewing? And in that connection, I’ll point out that conservative Republicans historically see the kind of “mob” sensibility (or lack thereof) that T fosters, to be anathema, and exactly the reason they do not like democracy.

T flat out said that he has never done the things to women that he bragged about doing.

He went full banana republic and threatened to jail his opponent.

To my mind, his references to “her” and “she” (rather than the “Secretary Clinton” of the first debate) and his finger jabbing, were acts of political womanizing, which in a domestic situation would be terrorizing in its intention. [As Josh Marshall put it, at TPM: “But we’ve been living with this guy for a year and a half. We all have a little bit of the trauma of living in the home of an abuser now.”]

T sniffled from beginning to end this time. Whatever he’s on, it’s not cold medicine. I’d bet there are men in his base who recognize the symptom (unless it’s something above their means). About half way through, I wasn’t looking at the screen but heard him sniffle, and I felt the sensation in my nose, having heard it so often. It was like reading the wonderful passage early in Huck’s narration of his Adventures, when Mark Twain makes us feel our nose being tickled.

Now, I was sent reeling with all of the above, but I was stunned and deeply saddened, when he said (in connection with the “deplorables” comment: “She has tremendous hate in her heart. She’s got tremendous hatred.” A ref would have given him a warning on that one, as a low blow, and the crowd would be booing. In this moment they audibly gasped. And of course, these days, any thoughtful person can recognize projection. I’m pretty sure that earlier he referred her as “the devil.”

But H is Woman, she can withstand anything. She’s had “30 years” of practice, including the Benghazi hearing. I’m sure it helps, to know that in four months she will be President of the United States.

And a shout out to Martha Raddatz for being calmly fearless and fierce. I’d bet that at times she was thinking “How do I stop this guy from being such a jerk?”

And Anderson Cooper pushed T about assault until he said he had never done any of those things, and then his pants caught fire.

[Now, 10/11 1:30, I have to give my eyes a break.  It’s a beautiful October afternoon and I’m going out to join the author in some stone work for the hillside strawberry patch.  Hey!  You come too!]

[Pages (1a) & (2a) of this episode.}

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  1. Pres Debate #2 (1a) | tomkoontz

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