posts 1 - 15 of 46
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 154

No matter what your political views are, I think it's fair to say that that debate was .... unprecedented. Televised presidential debates began in the United States with the presidential race of 1960, between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was clearly prepared for the medium of television; Nixon, it is widely thought, was not. If you have ever been to Boston's John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, there's an entire section about the debates, how they were perceived by the American public, and how they affected the election outcome.


Fast forward 60 years. Wow.


People around the world have been looking at the United States and seem to wonder: what is happening in this country? This article, by Hannah Bosch, titled "‘I Feel Sorry for Americans’: A Baffled World Watches the US," was published by the New York Times several days before the debate happened.


Boston Latin School students: We are being joined, for the first of several occasions this year, by history and politics students of my colleague Mr. Markus Schirmer, from the Reuchlin-Gymnasium in Ingolstadt, Germany. Welcome Ingolstadt students! We look forward to hearing your perspectives on the looming election in our country and the debate that took place last evening.


Boston students: please welcome the Ingolstadt students and engage with their perspectives!


Here is your opportunity to weigh in with your impressions of the debate. Here are some questions to think about as you write:

  • What moments stood out to you?
  • What did you learn from either President Trump or former Vice President Biden about their plans for the nation?
  • What did you learn about the character of each person? Is character relevant to leadership?
  • How do you think this first debate will affect the election and what will follow November 3 (election day)?

If for some reason, you want to watch the debate again, click here for a link to the streamed version. And for highlights of the debate, take a look either at this from the BBC or this from Politico.

MSchirmer
Ingolstadt, Bavaria, DE
Posts: 4

First hello from Germany

First of all, I want to thank Ms. Freeman for reaching out to us and for giving us this very special opportunity to be part of this global project on civic obligations. Currently, there are 18 students of about your age from my English course at Reuchlin-Gymnasium participating in the project. Other colleagues are teaching them in History or Social Studies/Government courses in preparation of their graduation exams next spring. Their English oral exams will also cover the topics “The individual and society” as well as the American political system. At some later point they will be happy to talk about the current political situation in Germany.

We are excited to get to know you and your (political) views during the current US election campaign and are ready to share our thoughts from the distance.

pineapplehater03
boston, massachusetts, US
Posts: 3

Are We Doomed?

I don't tend to follow politics too often, but I knew yesterday's debate was one I couldn't miss (mainly because I knew it'd be entertaining). As soon as the debate started, my group chats went crazy with memes, jokes, and quotes from the debate... Clearly not the way Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy hoped the debates would continue years after their first.

I must admit, I did miss the first couple parts of the debate, but I was not disappointed with what I watched. For me, one of the most notable moments was when Trump, faced with a question regarding COVID-19, claimed that he "brought back FOOTBALL." This was definitely very interesting to me, as the question was more so on the topic of the economy, schools, and so on... not football. So seeing that the person who's our current President and possibly also President for the next 4 years thinks that his greatest achievement during this pandemic has been "bringing back football," rather than implementing policies to help the sick and economically struggling people of the USA is.... concerning to say the least. I also can't get over how these two men, who are supposed to represent the best of the USA, spent the whole debate throwing insults at each other. My favorite insults of the night included "clown" and "shut up" from Joe Biden. However, Trump definitely stooped SUPER low when he essentially called Biden's son, Beau, a jobless drug-addict (NOT COOL!). Despite the bickering being mostly back and forth, it was really telling how our current President (Trump) was unable to follow the debate's rules as he constantly spoke over the moderator and Biden, and went over his speech time countless times. Definitely not the type of person one would be proud to have as a leader of their country, as a leader is supposed to listen to others and also set the best example possible (and neither happened).

Aside from the insults, there did seem to be some actually political debating, as Biden revealed his plan for a greener United States. With his plan, he hopes to place the USA back in the Paris Climate Agreement, and create a number of jobs with new environmentally friendly companies. Using this plan, not only does Biden claim to be able to help improve the effects climate change, but also to help the USA's seeming sinking economy with new jobs. I will note that I was a bit lost on Trump's points, as he seemed more focused on insulting Biden than actually answering the debate questions.

Overall, I think this first debate won't really affect the election. I think each side's supporters have already chosen who they're voting for and if that decision hadn't budged prior to the debate, I don't think it will now. With this in mind, I do think there'll be protests and/or some sort of conflict after November 3 (election day), based on Trump urging his supporters to poll-watch because he claims the Democrats are out to get him and commit election fraud. So, I don't think it'll be pretty regardless of who'll win, since I definitely expect supporters of both sides to be upset. But who knows, maybe things will get better and we won't be doomed?


freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 154

How the world is perceiving this debate

Thanks pineapplehater03 for starting us off!

And welcome, Mr. Schirmer and your students!

I just wanted to add one more incredible article that surveys how the world is perceiving this debate the morning after. I've linked it here

It is very sobering.

I am eager to read what you all have to say about this!

SwedishFish
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Interesting Debate I guess you could say??

The moments that stood out to me the most was when Donald Trump was not able to condemn white supremacy. This was very telling of his character and as our President. Trump knows that a majority of his voters are white supremacists so if he were to condemn them he would lose their vote. This is an invalid reason to not condemn them, because they have caused the pain and suffering of so many minority groups for hundreds of years. When Trump also called out Joe Biden;s family past. Including his late son who was a veteran saying he doesn't know who he is, only his son Hunter Biden who had a past drug addiction. I find that to be disgusting. To say that about someone’s family, not only did one of them pass away but the other has faced so much criticism over the disease of addiction that is a serious issue that should be discussed in a mature and respectful manner.

I did not hear much at all. Donald Trump gaslighted Biden the entire time. Not once do I recall hearing a plan from Trump. However, Joe Biden seemed to have plans for healthcare, COVID-19, police reform, and climate change. Some of these plans were encouraging and I think Biden did the best he could to get his point across, considering his opponent.

I think that both were immature, some more than others. However I think that Biden did a great job of simply looking down the camera tunnel to share his point. I think that considering that Trump did not give anyone the ability to fully form a sentence as he was interrupting them was very telling of his character. The personal attacks made by Trump were utterly disgusting. Biden did his best to stay calm and collected, however he smiled often making it seem less serious than it should have been in my opinion.

I honestly believe that Biden got more support from those who were undecided after this debate. What he said was pretty appealing to the independent party, which is a good strategy. In terms of Trump, who knows, because his supporters will support him no matter what it seems. I’m not sure if this debate was make or break for either candidate, but helped in the persuasion process.

SwedishFish
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 12

Originally posted by pineapplehater03 on September 30, 2020 11:40

For me, one of the most notable moments was when Trump, faced with a question regarding COVID-19, claimed that he "brought back FOOTBALL." This was definitely very interesting to me, as the question was more so on the topic of the economy, schools, and so on... not football.

I forgot to mention this part in my response but I found it to be such an irresponsible remark on his behalf. He made it seem as if Football saved COVID-19 and as if thousands of people aren't still dying of COVID-19 almost daily.

mellifluously
Allston, MA, US
Posts: 13

F O O T B A L L

Originally posted by SwedishFish on September 30, 2020 19:00

Originally posted by pineapplehater03 on September 30, 2020 11:40

For me, one of the most notable moments was when Trump, faced with a question regarding COVID-19, claimed that he "brought back FOOTBALL." This was definitely very interesting to me, as the question was more so on the topic of the economy, schools, and so on... not football.

I forgot to mention this part in my response but I found it to be such an irresponsible remark on his behalf. He made it seem as if Football saved COVID-19 and as if thousands of people aren't still dying of COVID-19 almost daily.

To make it even worse, not too long ago (I believe earlier this week), it was discovered that the there was a COVID outbreak within the NFL, particularly the Tennessee Titans. Kinda awkward for him to mention that as well, not realizing that even football wasn't safe. Eye roll.

mellifluously
Allston, MA, US
Posts: 13

A Fever Dream

Oh boy. Oh, oh, oh boy. Yeah, that is the title I chose for a good reason. Seriously, are we living a fever dream? We are indeed going through a pandemic in which one of the virus’ main symptoms is a fever. Pinch me. Maybe we’ll wake up.


Anyway, this debate was an ultimate trash fire. I did like how Anthony Zurcher from the BBC article described the debate: "In a debate that was the political equivalent of a food fight, the winner is the man who emerged least covered in slop.” I don’t see the lie in that statement.


Although we did get to witness a classic Twitter-esque Trump on the podium, Biden did, sadly enough, end up stooping down to Trump’s level, even if not completely so. The one person most of this nation considers a “savior” from Trump ended up doing what Trump did. He didn’t maintain composure and used insults such as “clown” (which then again, were absolutely hilarious, but we’re talking retrospectively).


Yes, Trump did indeed interrupt him 73 times and go for the poor moderator (who should’ve honestly set his place as the delegator of the debate), but again: if Biden had wanted to juxtapose his demeanor to Trump’s in an attempt to demonstrate who could be a better president, he did a poor job. The debate should have remained civil, but clearly, it didn’t, to both the dismay and entertainment of the hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of people watching last night.


I decided to talk about their character first, as it does indeed matter immensely. When we first met the “political” version of Trump—the rowdy, insensitive, rude, presidential candidate—in 2016 through debates and rallies and conventions, we got a good insight into his character and a good predictor of what he would be like during his presidency. Similarly, with Biden, his lack of patience due to constant frustration may reappear during other debates (and possibly his presidency, in the hopeful event that he gets elected). Ultimately, this can impact how he can lead a country, especially one that uses a system that so heavily relies on communicating with other parts of the government, something Trump hasn’t done that well, even with the East Wing.


I would really love to go into depth as to what moments stood out, but as I mentioned earlier, this whole debate was a trash fire. The little-over hour and thirty minutes essentially felt like Seinfeld, but made into a presidential debate, lacking the generic laughter sounds in the background (possibly emanating from your own home). There is no one particular moment stood out to me. I wasn’t surprised by the lack of information we were supposed to receive from the questions, or the personal attacks that surfaced from both sides. It was simply childish, like a food fight, as Zurcher mentioned.


And as for what we learned from either of them about their plans for the nation? Ha, funny. I only recall them attacking each other for their failures of past actions and failures of future actions. Yeah, of future actions. We don't really know what's going to happen. All we can do is hope at this point.


Honestly, I’m worried about future debates, especially those at town halls that have actual people asking questions. The whole country just laughed at this debate, so I don’t think it had much effect on the election besides further increasing the group polarization on both sides. And for November 3rd? That’s even more frightening. I’d rather continue my fever dream instead.

dewdropdoll
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

Where do I even begin

Hello! I want to welcome all of the students from Germany. I’m very excited to get to know all of you guys. I am very curious to see how people from other countries view America and what is going on here right now, especially with the presidential debate yesterday. I saw Mr. Schirmer’s post about the different topics that the students will be talking about in the future, including their own government and what is going on in Germany. I am looking forward to learning from you guys and hearing your opinions!


Now to unload everything that happened yesterday in the presidential debate. I have never seen a presidential debate before and didn’t know what to expect, but I was definitely shocked to see what unfolded yesterday. It felt more like a SNL skit rather than a true debate, and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was definitely entertaining to say the least. Throughout the whole debate, Trump continuously interrupted both Biden and the moderator, barely giving them time to even speak a word. I honestly felt really bad for Chris Wallace because at one point, Trump even started arguing with him, and throughout the whole thing, he had to constantly tell Trump to let Biden speak. One of the more memorable moments was when Biden said: “Will you shut up man”. Honestly, he said what we all had in mind.


Besides all of the interruptions, I thought Biden did a pretty good job. He decided to go with the approach of appealing to the people, speaking multiple times to us directly through the camera. I feel like while his comments may not have been the most professional or appealing to the older generation, he definitely appealed to the younger generation by calling Trump “a clown”. It is a little interesting to see that this might be the first time someone has said those kinds of comments about the president, and not receive a lot of criticism. This might be due to Trump being pretty aggressive and childish. His character last night definitely showed what kind of person he is, which is one that refuses to admit his own mistakes. I think @pineapplehater03 worded it the best on this: “a leader is supposed to listen to others and also set the best example possible (and neither happened)”. Meanwhile, I do think Biden has some bad traits too that he displayed. Although he did mainly keep his cool and the comments he made were funny, it’s not exactly professional. It’s okay for a president to crack jokes, but it might’ve not been the smartest move on his part if he wanted to appeal to more people like the older generation, especially by calling Trump a clown.


It seems like Biden has a better understanding of the problems going on in America right now than Trump does. I feel like he could propose plans that would actually help the nation unlike Trump, who constantly denies that there are any problems with his actions. For example, he refuses to acknowledge that he did not deal with the COVID-19 situation in the best way, and instead, continues to place the blame on China. It’s even funnier that Trump tried making fun of Biden for wearing a mask everywhere, and that Dr. Fauci said “masks are bad”. If he doesn’t know the problems happening right now, I doubt his “phenomenal” plans will help the nation any more than it has now. Meanwhile, I feel like Biden might also end up not holding his promises, but it’s better than what Trump can offer.


In the end, I feel like this debate might be able to persuade more people to vote for Biden, but it’s hard to tell. I feel like neither side won, though Biden did win in the sense that Trump got more backlash. I think that after November 3rd, there will be a massive riot with the Proud Boys and other white supremacists because of what Trump said (“stand back and stand by”). I think this will happen regardless of who wins: if Trump wins, it’ll be considered a celebration, but if Biden wins, I’m scared of what will happen (I can only imagine a lot of violence). I hope that I’m wrong, but it’s terrifying to know that these people basically have the president backing them up, and probably now think that they can do whatever they want.




mcsd153
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Absolute freaking chaos (but vote for Biden)

If I’m being honest, I don't think I have ever watched a presidential debate in full before. However, I know that this was not how one was supposed to go. This debate was chaotic, messy, and full of personal attacks. It really saddens me that voters watching who were undecided still have nothing to base their decision off of, since half of the debate was practically inaudible. What stood out to me were Trump’s personal attacks on vice president Biden. Trying to “expose” Biden for having a child who dealt with drug addiction was extremely low, and disgusting. I think how Biden handled that moment was amazing, reminding everyone at home that drug addiction is not something to be ashamed of, it's okay to get help, and he is proud of his son no matter what. What also stood out to me was when Trump refused to condemn white supremacists, and told the Proud Boys to “stand down and stand by”. What does this even mean? Also, I did not learn much at all from Trump about his plans, as he spent most of the debate making circular points, and arguing. However, I learned that he “saved football”, and does not have plans to deal with corona virus, issues of racism, and healthcare. From Joe Biden, I learned that he does not support the Green New Deal, but rather his own “Biden Plan” (not sure of the name?), in which he has clear steps to address climate change and environmental sustainability. Although it was hard to parse out what he was saying since there was so much talking over one another, I heard that Biden does not support defunding the police, but does support police reform, and is in favor of protecting women's rights, and accessible healthcare. What I saw from Trump last night I was not surprised by, and honestly didn't expect anything more from him *I don't think I’ve ever heard him answer a question straightforwardly). From Biden, I learned that he is able to keep focused, set an example, and be the adult in the room. I think how Biden kept addressing America and the people at home directly shows that he was keeping a level head and using the debate to get more votes, which probably worked. Overall, I think this debate was a bust, but what was obvious from it was that Trump is immature, and has no real plans for this country, which I think will definitely affect the election.

withered wojak
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 5

I hate everything about this

This debate was an absolute disaster and I hate almost all of it. I appreciate that Biden was well spoken and that he had some new talking points but that wasn't nearly enough. Trump made a complete fool of himself and I'm embarrassed that he couldn't even DENOUNCE the Proud Boys. That was disgusting and shows the failings of boomer politics.

softballgirl18
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 5

I'm not usually super into politics, but like many others, I really only tuned in to see how much of a mess it would be and I was not disappointed. I felt like I was watching an episode of "Dance Moms" watching grown men interrupting each other back and forth for an hour. They both were acting like children and Im embarrassed for our country.

mcsd153
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Originally posted by dewdropdoll on September 30, 2020 19:33

Hello! I want to welcome all of the students from Germany. I’m very excited to get to know all of you guys. I am very curious to see how people from other countries view America and what is going on here right now, especially with the presidential debate yesterday. I saw Mr. Schirmer’s post about the different topics that the students will be talking about in the future, including their own government and what is going on in Germany. I am looking forward to learning from you guys and hearing your opinions!


Now to unload everything that happened yesterday in the presidential debate. I have never seen a presidential debate before and didn’t know what to expect, but I was definitely shocked to see what unfolded yesterday. It felt more like a SNL skit rather than a true debate, and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was definitely entertaining to say the least. Throughout the whole debate, Trump continuously interrupted both Biden and the moderator, barely giving them time to even speak a word. I honestly felt really bad for Chris Wallace because at one point, Trump even started arguing with him, and throughout the whole thing, he had to constantly tell Trump to let Biden speak. One of the more memorable moments was when Biden said: “Will you shut up man”. Honestly, he said what we all had in mind.


Besides all of the interruptions, I thought Biden did a pretty good job. He decided to go with the approach of appealing to the people, speaking multiple times to us directly through the camera. I feel like while his comments may not have been the most professional or appealing to the older generation, he definitely appealed to the younger generation by calling Trump “a clown”. It is a little interesting to see that this might be the first time someone has said those kinds of comments about the president, and not receive a lot of criticism. This might be due to Trump being pretty aggressive and childish. His character last night definitely showed what kind of person he is, which is one that refuses to admit his own mistakes. I think @pineapplehater03 worded it the best on this: “a leader is supposed to listen to others and also set the best example possible (and neither happened)”. Meanwhile, I do think Biden has some bad traits too that he displayed. Although he did mainly keep his cool and the comments he made were funny, it’s not exactly professional. It’s okay for a president to crack jokes, but it might’ve not been the smartest move on his part if he wanted to appeal to more people like the older generation, especially by calling Trump a clown.


It seems like Biden has a better understanding of the problems going on in America right now than Trump does. I feel like he could propose plans that would actually help the nation unlike Trump, who constantly denies that there are any problems with his actions. For example, he refuses to acknowledge that he did not deal with the COVID-19 situation in the best way, and instead, continues to place the blame on China. It’s even funnier that Trump tried making fun of Biden for wearing a mask everywhere, and that Dr. Fauci said “masks are bad”. If he doesn’t know the problems happening right now, I doubt his “phenomenal” plans will help the nation any more than it has now. Meanwhile, I feel like Biden might also end up not holding his promises, but it’s better than what Trump can offer.


In the end, I feel like this debate might be able to persuade more people to vote for Biden, but it’s hard to tell. I feel like neither side won, though Biden did win in the sense that Trump got more backlash. I think that after November 3rd, there will be a massive riot with the Proud Boys and other white supremacists because of what Trump said (“stand back and stand by”). I think this will happen regardless of who wins: if Trump wins, it’ll be considered a celebration, but if Biden wins, I’m scared of what will happen (I can only imagine a lot of violence). I hope that I’m wrong, but it’s terrifying to know that these people basically have the president backing them up, and probably now think that they can do whatever they want.




I really agree that neither side won with this debate. It was chaos, and neither candidate was able to fully show their plans for office or even get a sentence out. I think also the point you made about the jokes Biden was making is very true- it was funny but it wasn't the smartest move because a lot of people could take it the wrong way. It makes me wonder how Trump supporters viewed the president's performance lat night. Do you think they thought he did well?

SleezMoth
boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 5

Winner: no one Loser: the American people

I am watching the presidential debate for the first time while writing this, and i am not expecting much, we'll see how it goes. Here are my thoughts:

The moderator mentioned that the debate would consist of 2 minute speaking times and this was not followed at all even though the rules were clearly laid out for them. I don't know if they lost track of time because they were nervous or were just getting carried away. I feel like the presidency should be the most professional job there is out there because you are in charge of many aspects of the entire country, and the vibe I got from our future presidents is that neither one of them is very qualified. However an eye can be turned to this for Biden's case because he was not able to express many of his thoughts over Trump's lapses in self control. It really is a shame to think that our current president, possibly for the next four years can not handle himself under pressure. It's clear throughout the entire debate that Donald's goal was to flush out any strength of Biden's ideas (which themselves were not complete) and that Donald would jump on almost every other word Biden said to make a comment or start his own discussion.

This debate was a disaster just in a discussion point of view. If there were 5th graders talking like this they would be told to stop but these are men who have lived full lives. The ideas shared weren't anything new either, Trump didn't let Biden get out an intelligible sentence on many occasions, but when he did the statement seemed more "finally i get to start" and was not very well said. Trumps, uninterrupted statements were uninformed and were put in very simple language. Trump is fighting with emotions by attempting to get his following hyped up and keep Biden's following from hearing anything, as seen when Trump is forced into a logical "what are you going to do" question he imidiatly changes to saying how good he's been doing in some other aspect of the presidency.

mcsd153
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 11

Originally posted by SleezMoth on September 30, 2020 21:18

Trump is fighting with emotions by attempting to get his following hyped up and keep Biden's following from hearing anything, as seen when Trump is forced into a logical "what are you going to do" question he immediately changes to saying how good he's been doing in some other aspect of the presidency.

Exactly!! Trump just deflects questions because he knows he has no rel, logical answer. It is so frustrating that our own president cant even tell us his plan for office if he gets reelected.

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