Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Bully At the Podium

I know bullies.

I know verbal bullies.

The presidential debate last night was a prime time viewing of a verbose  substance-less, double-talker with a loud voice trying desperately to gain the control and power he craves.

In the face of bullies, trying to address their myriad of accusations, implications, and obstructions is almost impossible, it is like trying to talk to a hurricane.  Sometimes it is best to just be still and let the storm pass, knowing the debris left in the wake is that of the bully, knowing you may be hit with something flying in the air, but that you will live to stand another day.

This, I believe, is the strategy President Obama took when he was faced with the torrent of interruptions, loud talk, flip flop, mumbo jumbo, and nothing-ness that came of of the mouth of the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney.

Yes, like many, I was expecting to see the Barack Obama of 2004 and 2008, the one who expertly debated Hilary Clinton and John McCain, the one with the powerful voice.  But, as I marinated over what I saw, at times simply muting the volume to watch the faces, realized that what I saw was simply calm strategy.

President Obama took the position of a patient parent in the face of a child spiraling in an emotional rant, knowing that they will correct them in a moment, but refusing to be brought into the volatile situation.  It is the stance that someone on the receiving end of someone's unexpected and unprovoked verbal attack takes in the midst of it - no one can argue with the wind and a calm answer will triumph over a temper tantrum every time.

In the immediate aftermath, the pundits were equally mad at President Obama for not fighting back - for not feeding the wind - and praising Mitt Romney for fighting - praising the bully.  In the morning after, however, like the bully with a semi-conscious comes to apologize in an offhanded manner, the pundits will realize that President Obama was truly the victor in this one, he let the winded one keep lying and contradicting himself and spinning in circles.

A moderator who sides with the bully is completely ineffective at trying to be fair, that is my assessment of Jim Lehrer's performance.  He did not stop Mitt Romney for going on and on but reprimanded the President for when he tried to answer the question originally posted.  He lost credibility and definitely should not be moderating another debate.  They needed Gwen Ifill, but like the events of the past few years and this election, it was about old white rich men wanting control.

The presidential election and senatorial elections and congressional elections this year are about the people who have been at the receiving end of the abuse of power, abuse of control, abuse of trust, and abuse of personhood at the hands of those who have money.  Money does not make you better than the one who does not have it - the 47%, the ones who stay home to raise the children, the ones who teach the children or care for the sick, the ones who clean the houses or ring up a sale or stock a shelf - money does not make you better than them.  That is what this fight is all about, the rest of the country, not the 1% oligarchs who already have everything and still want to destroy the rest of us - just like bullies.

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