Presidential Candidate or Clowns... or Both?

As many have probably witnessed, Tuesday night’s first presidential debate has sparked much discourse over social media. As we approach the 2020 Presidential election, the country remains in utter chaos amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the continuous fight for racial equality. For many, the year of 2020 has brought nothing but apocalyptic vibes, and witnessing what we call “public discourse” in the first debate has only added to the mayhem. Like many others I crave a sense of security and guidance during this unstable time period, and based on what I watched during the debate I have moments where I lose hope in the future of not only this country but also this world. As Trump and Biden spewed reasons why they should be the next president, all my mind could recognize was that these two white, wealthy, straight, men view the world through a lens of so many privileges.  Joe Biden speaking Photo by Phil Roeder from Flickr

Language and communication are critical pieces to understanding how an individual navigates the world around them. Throughout the debate we witness Mr. Trump continuously interrupted both the moderator as well as Joe Biden with immature rhetoric aimed at testing Biden’s patience. Responding to Trump’s irrelevant comments, Biden brushed it off with a “Will you shut up, man?” I can’t help but recognize how race and gender play into their abilities to publically speak like this with little consequences, but rather public approval of their entertaining nature. The fact that they are both white men in America diminishes their need to remain professional in this setting. Imagining what this debate would look like had one of the candidates been a woman or a person of color, I can assume there would have been more polite and professional interactions. My assumptions of this hypothetical situation are supported by the systemic racism and sexism in this country that creates a double standard for women and people of color in professional settings. Very few people could imagine a woman saying “Will you shut up, man?” or a person of color saying “there is nothing smart about you” to an opponent. As the debates continue leading up to the election, I will focus on how their identities as privileged white men influence the way they interact with each other and the public. 

Another aspect of the debate that has truly stuck with me is the portion on race in the United States. Not only was it painful to watch two white men discuss how they are “helping” the black community, but it’s so wrong hearing two white men talk about what the black community needs. Living in a country where the president can’t get himself to condemn white supremacy disgusts me and is what fuels my need to take action. This can’t go on any longer. 

Having Donald Trump and Joe Biden as the presidential candidates is obviously the worst case scenario. Many have decided that not voting or voting for a third party is the best option at this point. But as I am sure many have seen, voting for no one or someone other than Joe Biden is a vote for Donald Trump. Someone who has outwardly referred to white supremacists as “decent people” and couldn’t bring himself to condemn them- there’s only one thing to say about that and it’s that Donald Trump is simply a white supremiscist himself. I know we’ve known this, but that is no one that should be standing in the White House as president. So this is a reminder to get out there and vote despite the fact that we have to vote for one of two clowns… I mean candidates.