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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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!


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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?


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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?


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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.


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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.


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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.


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


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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.


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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 mevans on iStock


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Did you know that April's Autism Awareness Month? I wasn't aware (pun intended) of it until I read our local homeowner's monthly newsletter and it caught my eye.


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Actually, last month the founding organization, the Autism Society, changed "Awareness" to "Acceptance" to foster inclusivity, as knowing about something is very different from accepting it. But I am guessing that is not the point of this call.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io


Although it isn't autism, it reminded me of years ago when we found out that Natasha has learning disabilities.


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I think you mean DIFF-abilities.


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Of course, that's another thing I remember. I was focused on the negative aspects of her diagnosis until you asked me, point-blank, "Why are they called disabilities?" And proceeded to explain that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Exactly! Imagine the world if everyone excelled at math, but flunked English. Or, a world of lawyers, but no musicians. Some people are better at social skills, while others excel at handling technical data. Why not just say that people who have different skillsets and abilities have DIFF-abilities versus making them feel like they have shortcomings?
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Well, the Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was over a month ago, but I still see plenty of articles about it. It's really "stirred up" things in the Royal Family.


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Well, I guess it put "a bee in the royal bonnet." Although, I would not believe everything you read. Right after the interview, I read several articles suggesting the monarchy should end with Queen Elizabeth. I cannot imagine that happening.


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Oh, that isn't anything new. It's been going on for a long time; there was even talk of it when I lived in England decades ago. All the interview did was further encourage those who are already advocating it.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


At the risk of sounding like a broken record, but as I said in our Banter Bite, Talk About Getting The Royal Treatment, the Royal Family does seem to have "issues" in terms of race relations and dealing with mental illness. I can understand why people are questioning whether the monarchy, with its "old-fashioned" traditions and beliefs, is still relevant.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io


But it's not like that's the only place those issues exist. Just pick up a newspaper, turn on the news – it's everywhere! Unfortunately, the Oprah interview put a very public face on it – The Royal Family, or The Firm, which is how the family and institution refers to itself.


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Who nicknames themselves The Firm? It sounds like a Netflix series, but with less class than " The Crown."
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