Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

I don't know whether to be furious, frustrated, or saddened by the presidential election. All I can say with certainly is that it's been the least presidential campaign that I've ever seen.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

You left out "embarrassed."


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

That's not a word you use very often. Especially since it's almost impossible to embarrass you as you never seem to care what people think about you.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

I am not embarrassed for me personally; I am embarrassed for all Americans. Between the number of COVID-19 deaths, the civil unrest, and the presidential campaign, our country's reputation has taken a major hit.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

Well, the first presidential debate definitely didn't help. You would've been rolling your eyes at me if you had been at my house. I was actually talking, and at some points, shouting, at the TV. I knew I could just walk away but felt compelled to stay because I was hoping that the debate would provide useful information. I wanted to better understand the candidates' platforms and especially their plans to get us through all these crises.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Instead, you just got a better understanding of their personalities, the showmanship of politics, and the challenges of moderating a debate when the rules are ignored.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

No kidding! I appreciate that people want their presidential debates to be entertaining, but they're also supposed to help undecided voters get clarity, and help all of us better evaluate the candidates. And by that, I mean their substance, not their style!


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Actually, it is a mix of the two. A successful debate delivers factual information using strong presentation skills, but also has an element of cleverness and maybe even a little theatrics.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

Says the debate queen. I've lost track of how many conversations with you feel more like a debate.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

That is because I think of debate as sport. However, regardless of whether it is a debate or a conversation, it should always be civil and respectful. You love history. When was the first televised presidential debate?


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

That's easy. 1960 between JFK and Nixon. And that's when things started to change. Instead of a campaign focused purely on policy and critical issues, it began to highlight the candidate's public image.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Exactly. So, if you were a media or PR consultant, who would you have preferred as your client – a young handsome senator from an established family or a highly-qualified hollow-eyed lawmaker who had been vice president for eight years?


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

Sounds like a trick question.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Not really. I was pointing out how different the candidates were from each other, and how their "selling points" were more than just their experience. You can see why the "packaging" of politicians became so critical. And, strategic.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

Yes, but even without watching the JFK and Nixon debate, I'm confident they had one thing in common – to treat the other with respect and civility.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Of course. Each was trying to convince voters they were the better candidate to be president so each had to project a presidential persona. But, being statesmanlike does not mean you cannot point out weakness or mistakes. It means you do it without being rude or demeaning.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

And if you want to be really clever, you can beat your opponent to the punch. I remember when President Reagan was seeking to become the oldest president to win reelection and in the debate with Walter Mondale said, "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." I know that the line was probably scripted in advance, but even Mondale laughed.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

It was a great line, delivered with style and charisma. Which is why it has been remembered all these years, even after people have forgotten whatever else may have been said. Now, what will people remember from this year's campaign?


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

Are you asking big picture or specific sound bites? I can't speak for others, and rather not point out specific comments, but I'll never forget how ugly the debate was. I was totally turned off by the whole thing. It provided no value whatsoever and if there was anything of substance, it was lost in the chaos.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

I almost turned it off. The only reason I kept watching was I wanted to hear everything in real time and in context, not edited soundbites. And, no editorial.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

I heard several commentators saying how children watching it had left in tears and how many parents were having to console them and do their best to explain things.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

I have no idea how to explain it. Full stop. Yet alone to children.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

I'm so grateful that my girls are old enough that I didn't have to explain it to them. But at the same time, I'm so angry that they're experiencing this. I wish they could experience what it used to be. What it's supposed to be. Arguments, yes. Differences, absolutely. But not a total disregard for other people's opinions. And a total lack of civility and respect.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

I fully appreciate the theater and spectacle of today's political arena, but at the risk of showing my age, some things – including statesmanship – never go out of style.

Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

Want to bet on that?


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

No. But, I am willing to debate it with you.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Photo by enviromantic for iStock


red head assets.rebelmouse.io

I know I shouldn’t say this, but I can’t stand N95 masks! They make me feel like a duck.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io

That quacks me up. Regardless, they are much more effective than cloth masks. And, FYI, they do come in different shapes.


assets.rebelmouse.io

I just wish they were more comfortable.
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Photo by bhofack2 for iStock

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


red head assets.rebelmouse.io

Well, it’s our first column of the year. A new beginning. Any “new” ideas for topics? Something other than New Year’s resolutions.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Is there a reason you do not want to talk about resolutions?


assets.rebelmouse.io

Obviously, yours was not to ask fewer questions.


Black (use0 assets.rebelmouse.io


That will never happen, but you are avoiding the question. Why?


Red assets.rebelmouse.io

Because every year, I have a long list of things I want to do, and I start strong, but within a few months, I fall back into old habits. Sometimes it only takes weeks. It’s frustrating and disappointing.


Black (use) assets.rebelmouse.io


Next question. What is the opposite of “old?"
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