FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Presidential Debate Recommendations

Like many others, I was deeply disturbed by much of what I heard (and saw) during the presidential debate on September 26. From Donald Trump’s difficulty breathing to his repeated interruptions, lies, and dodges of even the softest questions, the Republican nominee was way less than impressive. And, while I thought Hillary Clinton exhibited far more poise (perhaps due to her actual preparation for a debate) and a much greater grasp of the issues of which she spoke, there remained many things I wanted to hear a lot more about. As someone interested in creating a more peaceful and just country, I am listing three topics I would like to be addressed in more detail during the next debate.

First, I heard very little about war and militarism. Trump asserted that ISIS formed because the U.S. does not have enough of a military presence and vowed to help the country regain its’ “winning temperament.” Clinton’s comment that the U.S. needs to work with its allies to acquire better intelligence was a good start, as was her acknowledgement of the successful diplomacy with Iran by Secretary of State John Kerry, but neither candidate elaborated on their inclination to use troops and/or drone attacks in places like Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

Neither discussed the importance of increasing resources for veterans but otherwise cutting military budgets, despite the U.S. having a military force greater than the next 15 countries combined. According to Vision of Humanity’s Global Peace Index, the U.S. is 103rd out of 163 nations due to its excessive militarism (among other factors). Given that both candidates supported the war in Iraq (even though Trump lied about that during the debate and was even called on it by moderator Lester Holt), it is hard to imagine either as anything but hawkish in this regard. I believe we should push them to take a stand on decreasing military expenditures and engagements, as well as to explain how our continued activity in many countries does not violate international human rights law, as surely seems the case.

Second, gender inequality was shockingly missing from the debate. Sure, Clinton noted her advocacy for equal pay and denounced Trump for his poor treatment of women, but neither offered specifics regarding how to increase women’s presence in politics, the corporate world, or other institutions in which we are sorely underrepresented. Likewise, neither mentioned the many forms of violence endured by women in the U.S on a daily basis. Catcalls, sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and commercial sex trafficking are intractable problems in the U.S. yet none of these issues were mentioned. The 2015 Global Gender Gap Report ranked the U.S. 28th of 145 in regards to gender equality. Data is clear that gender inequality is bad for women, men, and for the society as a whole, as it results in reduced productivity, emotional and physical health outcomes, and more. Given that Clinton has said she isn’t hesitant to “play the gender card,” even asking to be “dealt in” for doing so, I think it is fair to probe her on these issues. And Trump can only stand to repair his image among women, so he would be well-served to think deeply about reducing gender inequality before the next debate. Providing he elects to prepare for that one.

Third, neither candidate focused on education during the debate, barring Clinton’s brief mention of the cost of college. Given that our public schools are as segregated as they were when Martin Luther King Jr. was alive, funding is ridiculously disproportionate, testing and test preparation takes up as much as twenty percent of instructional time in some schools, many offer nothing in terms of comprehensive sexual education, and school grounds increasingly resemble militarized fortresses or prisons, there is much that needs our attention.

In sum, perhaps instead of spending time rehashing that President Obama is indeed a U.S citizen born on U.S. soil, maybe the next debate can include having the candidates describe how they intend to make the country more peaceful and just.

More articles by:

Laura Finley, Ph.D., teaches in the Barry University Department of Sociology & Criminology and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.

January 23, 2019
Paul Street
Time for the U.S. Yellow Vests
Charles McKelvey
Popular Democracy in Cuba
Kenn Orphan
The Smile of Class Privilege
Leonard Peltier
The History Behind Nate Phillips’ Song
Kenneth Surin
Stalled Brexit Goings On
Jeff Cohen
The System’s Falling Apart: Were the Dogmatic Marxists Right After All?
Cira Pascual Marquina
Chavez and the Continent of Politics: a Conversation with Chris Gilbert
George Ochenski
Turning Federal Lands Over to the States and Other Rightwing Fantasies
George Wuerthner
Forest Service Ignores Science to Justify Logging
Raouf Halaby
In the Fray: Responses to Covington Catholic High
Kim C. Domenico
No Saviors But Ourselves; No Disobedience Without Deeper Loyalty
Ted Rall
Jury Trial? You Have No Right!
Michael Doliner
The Pros and Cons of Near Term Human Extinction
Lee Ballinger
Musical Unity
Elliot Sperber
The Ark Builders
January 22, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
On the Brink of Brexit: the Only Thing Most People Outside Westminster Know About Brexit is That It’s a Mess
Raouf Halaby
The Little Brett Kavanaughs from Covington Catholic High
Dean Baker
The Trump Tax Cut is Even Worse Than They Say
Stanley L. Cohen
The Brazen Detention of Marzieh Hashemi, America’s Newest Political Prisoner
Karl Grossman
Darth Trump: From Space Force to Star Wars
Glenn Sacks
Teachers Strike Dispatch #8: New Independent Study Confirms LAUSD Has the Money to Meet UTLA’s Demands
Haydar Khan
The Double Bind of Human Senescence
Alvaro Huerta
Mr. President, We Don’t Need Your Stinking Wall
Howard Lisnoff
Another Slugger from Louisville: Muhammad Ali
Nicole Patrice Hill – Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Scarlet “I”: Climate Change, “Invasive” Plants and Our Culture of Domination
Jonah Raskin
Disposable Man Gets His Balls Back
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail