Phew – I have just been listening to the recording of the much anticipated second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, that took place in the early hours of my morning (see here), read some of the pre and post debate commentary and looked at various related, recent (in the last few days) material (even though there is much more to be studied) and I need some air.
I have already considered the first of the three debates (see here) and reflected on issues around the two contenders and their campaigns (check out my blog and work backwards for relevant posts), and I don’t wish to go over old ground other than reiterate, reinforced by latest events, that this is a choice (as far as I am concerned) between the lesser of two evils (more than is normally the case), and I am still undecided who I would pitch for, given both candidates continue to display the good, the bad and the ugly, with much to be desired when it comes to leading a great nation.
Before returning to the debate, there are two recent revelations that each reflect on the personal qualities of the two candidates to consider. The first is the airing of an eleven year old video of Trump uttering what can only be described as disgusting comments about women, which he described as “locker room talk”, and having lived this long among all sorts, I know such things do go on and concur with Nigel Farage’s “alpha male boastings” observations, even though it doesn’t make it any less wrong, especially in the light of Trump’s more recent misogynist comments. While he did express some regret, there wasn’t, not surprisingly, the sort of deep contrition one might hope for, and one might well sympathise with some of his fellow Republicans and some well known Christian backers, like Wayne Grudem, who have recently withdrawn their support for Trump in the light of this latest revelation.
Not to be outdone, just prior to the debate, Trump held a surprise press conference, with four of the women, allegedly sex predatory, victims of Hillary’s husband, Bill, who did vent their grievances. While Hillary could not be held responsible for Bill’s indiscretions, her past defense of him and verbal attack on these women is worrying if Bill had done wrong. Even though one of my friends, who knows far more about sexual assault than I do, stated this was not the right platform for making these points, if these complaints are true (and there is compelling evidence to be considered), it is every bit as bad and probably worse than Trump’s earlier bravado. As my late dad might have said: two wrongs do not make a right, and personally I would rather both candidates stood down over these matters and we have a contest between Mike Pence and Bernie Sanders for the presidency, but given the defiant tones of both candidates in the debate, it is unlikely to happen, bar an act of God.
Back to the debate, it was no surprise there was a lot of vitriolic attacks from both sides, each frequently calling the other liars. I was impressed by the efforts of the two moderators keeping the debate as on track as they did. I was pleasantly surprised, despite the polispeak coming from the lips of both candidates, that there was also a lot of content, and the questions that were raised by the audience and followed up by the moderators were sound and appropriate. On that score, I call it a draw, although looking at the body language, Trump appeared to be less at ease. Ironically, the first question to do with the need for appropriate and positive behavior resulted in Trump saying things about where the country was going wrong and what needed to happen next, more convincingly than did Clinton. The question at the end about Supreme Court judge appointees, received (again imho) a more favourable response from Trump, who would appoint those in the mould of recently deceased Justice Scalia, than that of Clinton, who would if anything strengthen abortion and same sex marriage rulings. On some issues, like Iran and Obamacare, I would more likely side with Trump, while regarding energy and Syria I would more likely side with Clinton, but I would need to do a lot more analyzing and weighing, including their respective suitabilities for the highest office, mindful politicians, like Trump and Clinton, do not always deliver on what they say. Perhaps the nicest thing coming out of the debate was at the end when each candidate was asked to say something positive about their opponent. For Clinton, it was Trump’s family; for Trump, it was Clinton’s fighting spirit.
As I have often said, I am not endorsing either candidate and do not envisage doing so because of deep seated, unanswered reservations concerning both their personal qualities and their visions for America. Even if I was do an in-depth analysis that was to weigh the main pros and cons of each (which from where I sit would show up as many pros as there are cons, for both Trump and Clinton) and see which weighs heaviest, I would still find it difficult to decide, because of their flawed characters. I will continue to engage and watch and pray. I concur with Franklin Graham, who wrote on his Facebook page: “Contrary to what one of the candidates said in last night’s debate, our country isn’t great because we are good. America is great because God has blessed it. We need His favor to survive as a nation”. One thing I am sure: it is time to seek the Lord.