From the Editor's Desk

From the Editor’s Desk: Takeaways from the First Presidential Debate

Photos courtesy of Gage SkidmorePresident Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden faced off in the first presidential debate Sept. 29.

When I flipped on the TV in my living room for the Sept. 29 presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, I was hopeful that maybe it would help me get some clarity on where candidates stand with the massive issues the United States faces right now.

The past few weeks, I’ve felt so anxious and, quite frankly, depressed when I think about the fact that more than 200,000 Americans have died as a result of COVID-19, countless Black people have been killed at the hands of police and wildfires have ravaged the West Coast due to climate change.

I will acknowledge I was ready for an intense debate and definitely ready to yell at the screen about stupid things said by both candidates, but that performance was an absolute dumpster fire. I was beyond the point of yelling at the screen and to the point of wincing in disbelief.

It’s shameful our president won’t even follow the basic rules of a debate — but I can’t say I’m surprised. He tried to bully his way through it, and as a result, I’m having trouble collecting my thoughts and comprehending the important issues that were discussed. It was a whole lot of noise.

The personal jabs thrown back and forth by both candidates were unproductive and distracting to the point where I still have so many questions about the very serious issues of coronavirus and racial injustice, among other things.

Biden’s performance was criticized, and I will say sometimes the Democratic nominee lacks substance and vision. But I’m giving him a bit of a pass because he could hardly talk through the debate as he was pestered by the overbearing Trump who couldn’t shut his mouth or stop making foolish faces.

Most despicable, perhaps, was when Trump wouldn’t directly condemn white supremacists. Instead, he dodged the direct question posed by moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News. 

The debate was a huge disservice to Americans, especially undecided voters. I don’t feel any better about where our country is headed, but I hope debates going forward are more productive.

The Commission on Presidential Debates — the sponsor and producer of presidential debates — said in a Sept. 30 statement “last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.” The commission is set to announce those measures shortly. 

The commission also commended Wallace, saying he brought “professionalism and skill.” I acknowledge that Wallace received mixed reviews from the debate, but I think he did the best he could reining in the unruly Trump — a task that’s proven to be nearly impossible.

Hopefully, the commission’s measures are put into place soon because I’m not sure I can sit through another debate like that. I know this sentiment is echoed all over the country. It felt like trashy reality TV.

If this madness continues, we might need to bring in Jerry Springer as the moderator for the next showdown. 

In news this week, read about how Chicago bars and restaurants will stay open later and increase capacity and find a story on a student’s experience taking Loyola classes from home in California while living through the wildfires.

In opinion, an essay on how a contributor quit social media and a piece on the spread of misinformation on Facebook and other social media platforms.

In A&E, you’ll see a Phoenix playlist for September 2020 and a guide for a safe and spooky Halloween here in the city.

In sports, a piece on how Loyola Athletics handles concussions and a story on a former Loyola women’s volleyball player who signed a contract with a pro Swiss team.

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