by VIVIANO GONZALEZ - October 15, 2020 - After a disastrous first presidential debate of 2020, students and teachers give their opinions on what could possibly be the highlight moment of September.
It is no secret that politics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea; there will always be disagreements on the way Democrats or Republicans handle the country. This issue is not necessarily confined to the land of Uncle Sam, but today’s story is.
After months of a pandemic and social unrest in the nation, President Donald Trump and Presidential candidate Joe Biden were ready to face each other in the first presidential debate before the election. It is no exaggeration to say that, positively or negatively, this debate was heavily anticipated by the American population, who hungered for answers and this would be an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The debate started politely to the surprise of everyone, no insults or names thrown out. When the moment came to answer the questions, Biden and Trump both respected each other’s time, making the moderator barely needed. In addition, they shockingly aided each other by providing constructive feedback to their arguments regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. It was glorious: the debate ended on a high note, with both parties leaving amicably and encouraging each other to do better on the next debate.
Of course, that is what we would all have liked to happen; instead, we got what could only be called a guide on how NOT to debate and (possibly) a waste of watcher’s time. Not everything that spawned from the debate was bad, however, as we got some pretty good memes from it.
Here in Westfield among those that watched the debate was Speech and Debate coach Holly Reineking, who gave her opinion on the conduct of the debaters: “My students and I both agree that it wasn’t as professional as it should be, we shouldn’t be having fallacies and interrupting each other.” Additionally, a theoretical score based on their performance was provided. “They wouldn’t be disqualified, but they would definitely lose points from the judge for respect and interrupting, it would definitely hurt their scores,” Mrs. Reineking said.
This should speak volumes for both parties. Not only are they affecting their reputation, but they are also demonstrating that they lack etiquette and are not above tearing each other’s throats.
While this isn’t the first time that two candidates for the presidency have had bumps in the road in a debate (2016’s Clinton vs. Trump certainly sparked controversy), this specific debate was arguably one of the worst the country has seen. U.S. history teacher Jared Snow explained some of the aspects that made this now infamous debate so much more talked about than its peers: “I think it's just about the animosity going on in our country right now, it's becoming just either I’m on this side or this side, and what we don’t realize is that there is a middle ground.”
Another effect of the debate is its impact on young voters. For some this has been the final nail in the coffin that cemented their vote; for others this was a wake-up call to change their vote, or even abstain from it. Weeks before the debate, social media was flooded with pro-vote messages or at least urging people to become informed on voting.
David Garcia-Prada (12), commented on how watching the debate has influenced his vote: “I will turn 18 before the election date and I will vote. I would say it has made me confident in my choice.”
While it can be frustrating or disappointing to watch what are supposed to be the leaders of this country behave in a childish manner, it is important to recall that everyone can make a difference. If you’re old enough to vote, you should, but if you’re not comfortable with it, you can always inform yourself on the current government or political parties with thorough research, but please, whatever you do, don’t let this kind of behavior go unpunished.