America is in crisis. The presidential debate did nothing to help | Moira Donegan

Donald Trump spent the evening whining in a circus of vanity, lies, and hostility

With more than 200,000 Americans dead from Covid-19, the economy in tatters, the West on fire, schools shuttered, police brutality against Black people still rampant, and millions of Americans grieving, scared, and unable to recognize their lives, the first of three presidential debates on Tuesday night came at a time of pain, desperation, and anxiety for the American people. The debate itself reflected absolutely none of this anxiety. It was a display of vulgarity and egotism that insulted the Americans it was purportedly meant to persuade.

For more than 90 minutes, instead of substantive discussion of the multiple ongoing national emergencies that have warped their lives, viewers were shown three old white men—Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and Fox News’ Chris Wallace, nominally the moderator—interrupting, shouting at, and insulting one another. The coarseness, dishonestly, and grandstanding on display was a mockery of the dignity of the electoral process and a slap in the face to the Americans whose lives will be shaped by the actions of the next president.

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