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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.

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Rendering by porcorex on iStock


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

It started when Black sent Red a LinkedIn post about Louis Armstrong, asking her to "connect the dots" (one of Black's favorite things to do). Red knew that he was one of the most distinctive and talented jazz musicians in American history, but it was a complete surprise to learn that he had such a strong connection to a Jewish couple that immigrated from Lithuania and that he wore a Star of David for most of his life to honor them. That alone made it a "truth is stranger than fiction" story. The fact it's also a touching story about kindness and love makes this, at least for Red, even better than fiction.

Black, who prefers the pragmatic aspects of Armstrong's unusual journey – from being an impoverished black boy to an extraordinary career as a musician, singer, and composer – and sees it as a story of overcoming barriers, realizing your potential, and finding freedom (and she discloses an interesting connection between Armstrong and Independence Day).

Our July column, "RED & BLACK … The Sound Of Freedom," connects all those dots and is about so much more than surprising facts about Louis Armstrong. It's also about the power of music, inspiration, and hope, not to mention a very different way of looking at freedom.

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

Everyone laughs and wants to hear the story when I mention that I was recently "ghosted" by someone I had dated. What I find interesting is that ghosting has become so prevalent in today's society (and is not restricted to dating) that there is a term to describe the sudden "disappearance" of someone who wants to avoid all future contact with you.

Going back decades, I know there have been first dates that, at the time, I thought went well. But, after getting the "I'll call you" line … I never did. As a teenager, I can remember anxiously waiting for the phone (a landline tethered to the wall – and yes, I am that old) to ring, not wanting to go out and possibly miss the call. And, being very disappointed by the silence. Now, I cannot even remember who they were.

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