• ZenTravels-BRTNepal
  • sbgl
  • sahara
  • ace-advertise

LISTLESS US PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE

By N. S. Venkataraman
There was much cross talk, interruptions by both the candidates, which made one think that the debate was no better than what we sometimes see in acrimonious TV debates, where one debater would not respect the other one. Should those aspiring to become US President reflect such standards?
(President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, right, with moderator Chris Wallace, center, of Fox News during the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

First round of the US Presidential debate is now over, which must have been viewed on television by millions of people around the world. People across the nations would have viewed the debate , since the US is an important country and the quality and competence of the US President do matter for world affairs, whether towards peace or conflict. While the voters in the USA exercise their franchise in favour of one candidate or the other, the US President matters to the entire world.

As usual, many people ,apart from journalists , would be discussing who won the debate and who lost. Many surveys would be carried out to ascertain what people think on the debate and whom they would support. Some would say Trump , some would say Biden and the result of the online opinion survey would be interpreted by the journalists, depending upon their own perspectives and prejudices.

While the Presidential debates during the earlier elections for US President were not known to be of scholarly standards, the present first round of debate appears to mark a new low standard. The Presidential aspirant Biden brought down the standards of the debate by calling Trump a liar and saying that he was bluffing, Trump was little better, though he also unnecessarily and mischievously made reference to Biden’s son .

What most of the viewers of the debate would have felt is that whatever has been said now in the debate has been said several times before during the last few weeks and nothing interesting was brought into focus.

Ultimately, what would stand out in the debate is Biden calling Trump a liar and many people would be wondering whether this could be the language that is normally made by a street urchin and not a President aspirant.

The anchor who conducted the debate did not do any better, as he gave an impression that he was critically questioning Trump much more than Biden., so much for the objective and independent outlook of the journalists. One cannot but note the fact that the anchor did not caution Biden not to use such terms as a liar.

There was much cross talk, interruptions by both the candidates, which made one think that the debate was no better than what we sometimes see in acrimonious TV debates, where one debater would not respect the other one. Should those aspiring to become US President reflect such standards?

What is surprising is that the queries raised by the anchor were very ordinary and he too has not done his homework properly. For example, while raising a query about COVID 19, much more interesting questions could have been raised by the anchor , which both the candidates would have struggled to answer. For example, the origin of the virus and Trump’s criticism of WHO should have been questioned, which would not be comfortable for Trump to answer. In the same way, Biden should have been asked as to how he would have handled the COVID 19 crisis better,when the cause and effect of COVID 19 and vaccine for treating COVID 19 is still not clear.

It was surprising that Trump brought India’s name in the debate by stating that COVID 19 figures from India are not correct. On the other hand , it would have been appropriate if he would have mentioned the veracity of figures from China.

The ultimate impression that viewers of debate across the world would have gained is whether only so much talent is available in USA for the choice of the next President.

One only hopes that the second round of debate would be more productive with all the three entities namely Trump, Biden and anchor doing better homework and coming out with probing questions and intelligent answers.

The candidates should ensure that abuses should be avoided. Sarcasm with a tinge of humour are necessary in such debates, which is possible only if the contesting candidates and the anchor have the debating talent to emphasise their points with humour and impact.

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

Published Date: Wednesday, September 30th, 2020 | 08:46 PM

Your Responses