The final presidential debate of 2016 aired live over the nation last week, allowing the two candidates to make their final concluding statements in hopes of influencing undecided voters.
To be completely honest, I didn’t watch the entire debate. I couldn’t stand to watch more than the CNN post-debate highlights online. This is because the American election and debates no longer have any civility to them. Every time I tune in to the news about the presidential election, I’m disappointed by the lack of respect that both Clinton and Trump display. In each case, both parties are either bashing each other, our current president or the electoral system in general.
The presidential election has evolved into a propaganda war between the candidates. It’s no longer about who is most qualified or who can better progress our nation. Now the election is entirely focused on who is the most absurd or who can trash the other the most, all in an effort to secure the win for themselves.
When did our democracy lose so much dignity? A major reality of the current election is that it’s all become a show. This year’s election is not about picking the best candidate — it’s about choosing the one who will be less of a liability to the U.S.
In past elections, there have been instances where political candidates and their parties used propaganda to sway voters from their opponents. But never before have we seen an election in which both candidates dedicate their political agendas to insulting the other.
The two candidates are at definite odds. It has been this way since the beginning of the campaign season. As with any political election, especially one this contested, some level of mudslinging is to be expected. However, the political slander from both candidates has escalated to an outrageous extent.
On many occasions, Trump has publicly admitted his disdain for not only the Obama administration, but also Clinton’s part in the leadership. Similarly, Clinton undermines Trump by reminding the public of his lack of political experience and past indiscretions.
Of course, both Clinton and Trump have their own successes and achievements which speak for themselves, but this election has become less about their qualifications and more about their faults.
Instead of focusing solely on ways to progress the nation, the candidates spend their time fighting superficial allegations. And what do their behaviors say about the attitudes of the American people?
By feeding into the fun and entertainment of the election, we are allowing ourselves to be represented by candidates who thrive on the failures of the other. In that way, we are promoting a culture that shows the key to success is through public humiliation at an opponent’s expense. We are representing a mentality that shows the world that qualifications and credibility are not as important as political contradictions and refutations.
The attitudes of both candidates have been less than tasteful over the past year and hopefully the expectations of the presidency will encourage either winner to turn over a new leaf.
With the election less than two weeks away, American citizens should be on the watch not just for who wins the presidency, but also for the character and behavioral shifts that may ensue following Election Day.