The Run-up to the Presidential Debates

The Donald purports to be reaching for black voters saying that he will ensure their not getting shot down in their own streets.”What do you have to lose” he bawls.To Hispanics he promises to reconsider his deportation position.His official platform has not shifted but the shape shifters are at work selling a more palatable image(Conway,Ailles,Archer,Bannon)The media are consumed by presenting contrasting images of Clinton vs Trump,helping us to be myopic about the crippling issue of increasing inequity in the face of national refusal to act on tax and immigration reform, drug cost abuse,undermining of “affordable care”through the issuance of relatively inexpensive catastrophic policies depleting the eligible pool of payers,corporation inversion etc.Free enterprise cannot be unrestricted because greed cannot be limited.Hillary’s tight and unappealing legalisms attract media attention but her program plans on view at her website do not.
When will the serious conversation begin?



  1. My usual question: where to begin?

    “The Run-up to the Presidential Debates” is the very incisive title that daedal2207 provided to this discussion. My question back to our dear professor is: whose debates? The scripted ones between the candidates? Will such debates shed any surprising light on who they are? Or, are the necessary/compelling debates … the ones we should have/demand a forum for … collectively as a nation on the crossroads of a new and evolving era?

    My non-conformist nature is compelling me to step back and reject the forces at hand, as daedal2207 so clearly described, that are “helping us to be myopic.” If we are striving for some clarity in judgment, how and/or where do we go to find unfiltered, not canned, pre-packaged messages? Are we being given, once more, the opportunity to become better informed citizens that stem the continuous victimization … certainly in different degrees … of our society? All the issues that daedal2207 has rightfully enumerated as urgent require something that the candidates are not willing to point out, let alone ask, of their constituencies: sacrifice. Oh, we continue to demand sacrifice/understanding of those we have conquered ( or those whose psyche is emblazoned by the American caste system, to include the scourge of slavery ( (

    Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Sacrifice:

    “the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone.
    1. The war required everyone to make sacrifices.
    2. No sacrifice is too great when it comes to her children.
    3. He made many personal sacrifices to provide help to the city’s homeless people.”

    Is the postponement of instant gratification for the sake of the future an obsolete idea?

    The arts provide venues to our minds, in degrees that try to prevent the message from being too tedious, too Ambien-like in its attention challenge. Almost three decades ago, Joseph Campbell guided us through the hero myths. Who would have thunk that “Star Wars” was actually providing a profound discussion on the forces of good and evil … with the model of the hero! Is there, now, a parallel to be drawn with the con Professor Harold Hill and River City? What redeeming events did Marian, the librarian, recall to her fellow citizens as altering potential to their town?

    Our present con artist/candidate has been appealing to man’s survival instincts by using the fear factor … “We’ve got trouble, with a capital ‘T’.” However, this particular parallel does end when we are told that we all reside in a black-hole hell. That black hole describes Mr. Trump’s mind, which is where he lives, but not the majority of our minds … even if we lack the gilded surroundings of his cocoon.

    In pulling away, and perhaps as a defensive action from the toxicity with which we have been deluged, perhaps we should thank the dark and Faustian force, Mr. Trump, for making us look at ourselves in the mirror as to who we are as a nation. He accomplished the task of removing the cloth of respectability from the Party members who are repulsed by him and will not endorse him, but are hypocritical cowards who will vote for him! Is this the lesson for our children? What allowed in the collective we to accept the basest of every characterization and representation to be uttered? Are we that willing to be so lazy as to relegate slogans as a replacement for knowledge of history containing some depth? What’s the saying about ignorance of history? Are “they” coming for me next? As Marian, the librarian, would reflect with her town, how did we spend the Summer of 2016? Is this the REAL debate we should be having in the run-up to the actual election?

    As always, Professor, thank you for the opportunity to engage … the light at the end of the tunnel.

    P. S. Crosby, Stills, Nash. and Young … Teach Your Children:

    1. SB brings to our attention “the real debate” and “sacrifice”. These are worth some analysis:
      Hopefully we have been, and continue to be, debating real issues. Hopefully we are grounding our positions with empirically true premises. I think that we can agree that Hillary has been intentionally dishonest regarding the content of many of the public’s “bleached” e-mails. We can agree that in less than two decades she and her husband (as public servants) increased their personal wealth by well over a hundred million dollars and have additional access to unknown dollars and benefits via the Clinton Foundation (In which hundreds of millions were acquired via foreign “donations”). We know that Trump tends to be of a bullying nature and is easy with personal insults and hyperbole. Which of these traits portend the greater risk to U.S. when carried into the presidency? (We do not “know” that Trump is racist, xenophobic or bigoted. These are leaps of judgment conveniently (slanderously?) launched from positions and statements that have other, possibly benign or positive, explanations.)
      Of more lasting importance – in what directions would each of the two parties take us? They have different goals. The Democrats want more equality of wealth distribution than do Republicans. We hear from Democrats a great outrage about income gaps. These gaps are identified statistically by dividing us into groups and then comparing them. Through the expansion of a powerful government they will forcibly redistribute resources to achieve greater degrees of “equal results”. The Republicans are more interested in an equality of individual opportunity (while maintaining competition). They would allow rewards to flow to those who successfully provide great amounts of the products that all the people want and need. An “income gap” is then understood as evidence of personal-and-general achievement and prosperity.
      Sacrifice sounds noble. But how is it really any different from standard judgments of cost versus gain? We pay (give) something of value in order to purchase (secure) something perceived to be of greater value. The REAL issue is obscured when cloaked with an emotional flavor of nobility. The issue is essentially that of how wise was the transaction? Wisdom, supported by empirical evidence, defines for us the REAL costs and the REAL values of that which was gained. For instance, how much loss of personal liberty (and its productivity) is worth the securing of what degree of group-defined material equality?

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