On Monday night, I settled in on my friend's couch — pizza, laptop, and sad Jeb Bush GIFs at the ready — anticipating that I'd be disappointed, if not horrified by the debate. After an underwhelming primary season that brought Republican nominee Donald Trump out of the The Upside Down and into reality all while leaving behind the slimey nasty aftertastes of casual and overt sexism, it only made sense that I'd be a grump about the first major meeting of Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Of course, I should've known that a #DebateNight without boxed wine or hard liquor is a fruitless endeavor from the get-go, but that didn't stop me from intrepidly enduring it sober (I was trying to be responsible so I could get work done and feel sort of like a person at work tomorrow.) But that didn't stop me from really, really wanting a drink — the way one frequently does when they're terrified of an increasingly possible apocalyptic future where a noted liar, racist, sexist, Islamophobic bigot reigns supreme and national politics start to feel like a joke that got old months ago.
Those reasons alone are sort of enough to curl up under the nearest duvet and hibernate until debate season is over, however, this debate — despite a few glimmers of light — had some particular moments that encouraged me to strongly reconsider that whole "responsibility" thing.
First, there was the interrupting.
I don't know if it's because I'm grossly non-confrontational or what, but I can't deal with the sounds of people talking over each other loudly or angrily. It only makes matters worse when those loud, talking-over situations involve a a burlap sack full of spray cheese bellowing at a woman, long weary of suffering fools, every time she tried to open her mouth. (Or, I suppose, more specifically, when he interrupted her 25 times in the first 26 minutes.)
Lester Holt's everything.
When the debate's moderator, NBC's Lester Holt, first took the time out to ask people to not make any audible noises during the debate — and, again, later admonished the crowd for showing a split second of humanity — I knew that I'd be quick to anger. Though he was certainly more effective than the likes of Matt Lauer, Holt's control over the room was still sorely lacking.
As a wise former colleague pointed out, maybe we should get this guy (the principal rom Adam Sandler's "Billy Madison") as the moderator for future debates.
All that word salad.
If you were to try and Reed-Kellogg diagram (a sentence diagramming method in linguistics) a Trump sentence, it would look like a horrifying, multi pronged beast with no discernible point to it. They typically involve so many qualifiers, asides, and parenthetical interruptions to brag about himself that you can never really find the rawest, simplest subject-predicate constructions. It also will probably take up two full sheets of paper and a shit ton of your time.
I happen to think that if you subject yourself to too many of these endless rambling lines, you run the risk of going insane or dying in seven days.
And, of course, realizing there's still more to come.
As this is only our first debate and it's a long just over a month until we can finally cast our votes, I had the smallest, saddest moment where I realized that, for all the embarrassment and rage of this night, three things are certain about tomorrow: The sun will rise, the sun will set and Trump will pull out a new set of tricks for the next one.