The vice presidential debate Wednesday night between US Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence was not the epic loss for the American people that the (only presidential debate?) first presidential debate was just last week.
And although it might have been a slight win for the vice president concerning style points and effective debate tactics, the overall experience was – again – not a win for the American people.
For all of the half-true and commercial-ready soundbites that both candidates provided, complete with the cliché “…I’m speaking…” and “…you are entitled to your own opinion…but not to your own facts…” jabs sprinkled in, no one outside of the poll-tested, partisan-sealed bubbles on both sides believed that there was any movement in the presidential race after the Wednesday night battle in Utah. Further, any American that found herself or himself asking for a guiding light towards a healed nation as young Brecklynn Brown did through the last question of the debate found nothing but shattered talking points rammed through crude crosstalk.
Perhaps the USA Today is being hyperbolic with its warning: “‘The country’s lost its mind’: Polls warning of civil war, violence shows deep partisan chasm over election”. Yet, the courageous yet sad question from Ms. Brown points out an obvious truth that is overlooked in the Info political wars that we find ourselves engaged in as a nation. It runs repetitively, yet is very much worth repeating:
Our homeland is vulnerable as long as our country remains so divided. It is truly that simple.
There is no way to close the pandemic-driven gaps in education and the economy as long as we continue the partisan divide in the advancement of solutions, from politicizing common sense aid to economically-challenged schoolchildren to demonizing the desire to safely re-open business by leveraging the savvy of American entrepreneurs. There is no way to close the racial divides that have haunted our nation for decades centuries without taking an honest look at how entities from police departments to hiring departments have engaged people of color (and notably African-Americans) since the abolition of slavery over 150 years ago. There is no way to hold off the technological threats from nations including North Korea, China, Russia, and Iran as long as the biggest threats to the instability of fact-based foundations come from within.
Over the coming weeks, there is a heightened need from all of our candidates – from the top of the ticket to the lowest municipal race – to remember that there is always a nation of communities on the ballot, even if their individual names on the ticket will appear but for a season. There is a need for all parties involved to recall that losing an election yet re-securing the essence of the American Dream in all facets – from election confidence (which is running very low) to economic resurgence (also running in a disappointing fashion) – is what matters more. Winning an election and losing a united states of America is not worth another seat on the Supreme Court, raising taxes on the wealth, free college for the first 2 years, or a cut to the corporate tax rate.
Perhaps a partisan would never share that sentiment, but each American who truly loves this nation as the beacon of democracy knows it. Our stability as the Great Experiment rests in inspiring through humble, servant leadership – a resource in short supply from most sides of politics in America today and a need that Ms. Brown cried out for through her question. Although her request was not adequately addressed – as with most of the debate questions Wednesday night – it must be a focus for all of us over the final quarter of this world-shaping 2020.