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)?