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


Red's HeadRed 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 HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

You left out "embarrassed."


Red's HeadRed 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 HeadBlack 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 HeadRed 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 HeadBlack 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 HeadRed 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 HeadBlack 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 HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io

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


Black's HeadBlack 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 HeadRed 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 HeadBlack 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 HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io

Sounds like a trick question.


Black's HeadBlack 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 HeadRed 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 HeadBlack 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 HeadRed 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 HeadBlack 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 HeadRed 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 HeadBlack 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 HeadRed 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 HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

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


Red's HeadRed 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 HeadBlack 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 HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io

Want to bet on that?


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

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

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

Image by osbkin on iStock


Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I love history and understand that “Lincoln freed the slaves,” but the Civil War was about more than slavery. It was about preserving the Union, and about states’ rights (some things never change) and westward expansion. However, once President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the war between the states would be forever remembered as a war to end slavery. Although I’ll admit that I’d never of Juneteenth until I moved to Texas. And I was surprised to learn it took two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation for slaves in Texas to be set free, but that explains why Juneteenth’s celebrated as the end of slavery in the United States. And why it was declared a federal holiday in 2021.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Change is never as simple as issuing proclamations. Especially since slavery represented systemic racism, inequality, and inhumanity. Real change requires words and actions, and a change in mindset. Celebrating the end of slavery is noble, but it should also serve as a reminder of where we are and how far we still have to go. Ending racism is not as simple as saying it is wrong but recognizing that it still exists is an important start.
Image by Kenishirotie on iStock


Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Every Father’s Day , when I think of Daddy, I think about alligators and turtles. I know that might sound crazy, especially as there are so many wonderful memories, but those stand out. As does the fact that every day, he taught me about unconditional love and was always there for me. And even though he passed away over 20 years ago, the memories are as strong, both emotionally and “visually”, as if it was just yesterday. And for that, I’m so grateful.


Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I know you are probably expecting me to talk about how Father’s Day is, in many ways, a form of “equal rights" since Mother’s Day was already in existence , or maybe the business aspects of it being a “ retail holiday ”. Instead, at the risk of sounding warm and fuzzy, I will just say that dads always have a very special place in the hearts of their “little girls” … no matter how old those “girls” become.

Wishing all dads a very Happy Father’s Day!

Photo by nycshooter on iStock
It seems most appropriate that Flag Day falls during Effective Communication Month, or at least it does to Black, who years ago had suggested Red use race flags as a fun (and “safe”) way to communicate with her teenage daughter. From that point on, Red never looked at the “Stars & Stripes” the same way again … because she learned flags might be one of the most straightforward and effective ways to communicate – whether feelings of pride and support, messages to racecar drivers, or even to indicate your moods.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


This past weekend, I noticed a bunch of flags on my street and wondered why since July 4 th is still almost a month away. But this morning, I learned that today's Flag Day.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


Well, for someone who likes to decorate for the holidays, I would have thought you would have known all about it.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


I've heard of it, but I never really thought much about it, let alone when it is. I knew it had to do with the American flag, but it surprised me that it has nothing to do with Betsy Ross, which legend has made the first flag, although it seems there's no evidence to support that.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


If you want an interesting "story", read about why the American flag is called Old Glory . Regardless, the American flag, like all flags, communicates a message.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io


I know you like to connect odd dots, but only you would see a connection between flags and communications.
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