The elephant in the room

Last night Tuesday, September 29th, 2020 at 9:30 pm EST we watched the first televised presidential debate on CNN between Donald J. Trump (Republican incumbent) and Joe Biden (Democrat nominee). It proved to be an unqualified error to call last evening’s production a debate. It began innocently enough as a display of party lines; but it quickly descended into a school yard scrap with a background of unintelligible shouting between the candidates and the moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News. Normally the Trump exhibition of slights and rudeness – and his relentless conviction to maintaining dominion over everyone within his sphere – would be quite entertaining in a perverse sort of way.  But with the presidency of the United States of America at stake in full bloom before the entire nation it was necessarily disheartening to watch Trump twist and writhe in his pool of vindictive ammunition.

The good news is that Trump appeared not only un-presidential but also protective of those many are describing as among his core supporters; namely, the Proud Boys. That organization pretends to revive a lost white male culture; however there are reputedly members who are gun-carrying and prone to political violence. The so-called “left” media is portraying the group as white supremacists and domestic terrorists. Trump meanwhile feigns never to have heard of them.

In the space of a few sentences then, Trump repeated his urgings to his supporters to show up at polling places to intimidate potential voters and actively refused to call for calm in the days after the election in the event there isn’t a declared winner.

This is the President of the United States, people. And even if he weren’t in such a powerful position, what Trump is saying would be deeply irresponsible. As it is, what he is saying is incredibly dangerous.

We are incrementally discovering that our commitment to political news from the United States of America is perhaps more pronounced than most Canadians and even some Americans. We’ve even taken to flipping channels because we’ve heard it all before somewhere else. What is inescapable is the monstrous suggestion today on MSNBC or CNN that Trump is a member of the Proud Boys. I don’t for a minute imagine that Trump is a card-carrying member or that he attends evening meetings held conveniently after 7:30 pm during the week. Nor do I suspect the journalist meant to imply that level of association; but he certainly trumpeted a silent approval. This constitutes the first time I have heard of the actual alliance of Trump with white supremacists  – a suggestion more meaningful than merely protecting the general right to free speech.  At this juncture of the presidential election this accusation is dangerous to Trump and the Republicans. Trump’s debate mis-step may prove to be a lingering summary of his deceit and private alliances – an oddity which many Americans prefer not to tolerate.


The President’s diagnosis comes after many months when Trump has conducted his presidency and reelection campaign in a way that denied the realities of what we face in our daily lives. As recently as the first presidential debate, the President decided to spend some of his valuable time mocking his opponent Joe Biden for wearing face masks too much. “I don’t wear masks like him,” Trump said in mocking tone. “Every time you see him, he’s got a mask.”

October 2, 2020