By Maddy Baldwin
I was looking forward to the first presidential debate, because I thought it would help me get a step closer to deciding who to vote for come November. So Monday night I gathered around the TV with friends, all who have opposing opinions from each other, and with a pencil and paper in hand I began my search for an answer, or just some kind of sign. I soon realized that to get through this hour and half debate I would need to have something stronger than water, so I got cookie dough instead to calm my emotional turmoil.
Then the debate began, and I saw that the candidates were just as confused as I was, Trump wearing a blue tie and Hillary a red pant suit, if I wasn’t already confused enough by these two. The audience was asked to remain quiet throughout the whole debate as usual, and then Hillary started off the debate with her intro speech and then Trump with his. If you watched the primaries but missed the beginning of the debate, it’s the same speech they have both been giving the entire time.
The real debating began, and my hand was gripping the side of the couch like a mom in the passenger seat of a new driver, I was just waiting for Trump to start screaming and be exactly what everyone expected. Then I watched as he waited for Hillary to get through with her answer for the first question about achieving prosperity in America, even without eye rolls, and I was shocked. My hand started to relax and I leaned back ready for the next question, “maybe this won’t be chaos” I thought. I was wrong. The debate that first appeared as if it was going to be a civil discussion between grown adults soon turned into something that resembled a mom (Lester Holt), letting two toddlers duke it out until they got tired and decided to listen.
Trump ended up doing exactly what was expected of him. He interrupted, yelled, insulted women without realizing it, and said China so many times you would have died from the drinking game. The main focus against him was that he hasn’t revealed his tax returns yet. Which honestly I believe was not the smartest tactic used by Hillary’s campaign because it left an opportunity for Trump to make a good point about her still unresolved email scandal and how members of the United State government had to plead the fifth when asked about it. But honestly this also just made them keep throwing mud back and forth between each other, just proving that maybe these are not the people we want to be voting for. Yes, everyone has skeletons, lies, and smaller or bigger bank accounts than they let on, but still my agony was not relieved by them continuously pointing out how bad each other was. This debate was not about how they could make the country better, but which one wouldn’t mess it up more than the other.
Hillary on the other hand looked exactly as she was supposed to, experienced. She has debated and gotten this far in a presidential campaign before and you could tell. But still she herself interrupted, threw jabs that were just childish, didn’t fully answer questions, and though it makes a great GIF her shoulder shimmy added to the mockery this debate was.
Here is the takeaway I got from the debate: Our potential President of the United States of America would make a great SNL host but I still have no true desire to have either one as my President. Now let me add to this, making the debate a spectacle is not 100% Hillary or Trump’s fault. It is a product of what we as America and especially my generation have asked for. We have indirectly told them don’t bore us, entertain us, and because of that this Presidential Election has become the most highly rated and watched reality TV show next to The Kardashians. Both of candidates have actually appeared on SNL multiple times, making us laugh at how Hillary has gotten away with the email scandal and how Trump demeans women. As a psychology major this terrifies me to watch, because they are literally habituating us Americans who watch or repost SNL to their crimes and ignorance, though they are the ones making the joke, we are the actual punchline for not seeing through it. This is exactly what happened last Monday night as well, once again it was more important to cause a scene or make the audience laugh or cheer than to talk about policies and issues in actual depth. I do not want to vote based on a popularity contest, and feel like I am voting someone off the island instead of voting for someone who can actually protect and better my country.
So here I and maybe you sit, absentee ballot haunting me as it sits in my room, and still the Write In line looks better than the boxes that say Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Maddy Baldwin is a Junior Psychology major, from Gainesville, Georgia, and is minoring in Gender Studies. She is the Vice President of FEMISS, a chapter of the Feminist Majority here on the Ole Miss campus. She also writes poetry and opinion pieces.