Every direction I turned today I saw the faces of the US of A’s presidential candidates. Every screen in every lobby, shopping centre and train showed footage of last night’s first debate. Living in Hong Kong, I was slightly surprised by just how much coverage it was receiving here but as Will Truman delightfully informed us today, (on the special PSA that reunited the Will and Grace cast and filled me with nostalgia joy for early naughties television) ‘it is the most important election of our lifetime.’ I am led to believe he is right, and not because the cast of one of the best TV shows of our lifetime told me.
Seeing as I am not an American citizen I have no say in the matter, but it is the most interested I have been in another countries presidential election, so I hurried home to watch the full debate. I’m a big Barrack supporter and really wanted him to win the first time around. However, I don’t remember being this engaged in the media attention surrounding the election, probably because I was 18, in my first year of college and had a hangover to tend to or a party to go to. I remember the announcement of his second win a little more vividly, it was a sunny morning, I was eating cereal with my housemate and we both had a bit of a cry because it felt like a good day for the world, we felt like justice had been rewarded and the right man had won, and you know, hormones.
Initially when the heat began to rise for this coming election last year, I was with Hilary all the way. This was until it was shamefully pointed out to me, on a couple of occasions, I was only a Hillary supporter as she was female, and I in fact had no clue of her policies or intentions as a presidential candidate so I did some research and discovered I was a Bernie supporter. Bernie Sanders is the man, the man with the plan, man with the plan that could have ran, old as my nan, lifting the weed ban. I digress. Bernie is awesome but since he could not run, Hillary gets my hypothetical vote.
Hillary has been shat on a lot throughout this campaign, of course she has the email scandal and some other questionable issues that have led people to believe she is ‘untrustworthy’. Personally, I’m not educated enough on all of her dealings throughout the span of her career to give an informed report on these incidents, but the fact ‘untrustworthy’ has been the naysayer’s defining label for her, in comparison to a man that has made his fortunes fucking people over is weird. Many reports say the public’s main criticism is her likability, or lack of. She has been criticised for not smiling enough and being defensive when asked questions. This is unsurprising considering her long career in politics and relationship with the media. She has been subjected to dumbass, sexist questions her entire career, relating to her work and personal life so it is no surprise she isn’t beaming constantly, the bigger issue being, would a man ever get accused of being inadequate of a position of power because they were not smiling enough or seemed to stern? I doubt it.
I realised when the debate began I had never watched a full Trump speech before, I had only caught glimpses of sound bytes online or what was shown on news snippets. I was alarmed at how strong his rhetoric appeared, I expected him to just furiously rant and shout stupid shit from the get go. Seeing some conviction behind his words for the first time, I saw why people (besides your generic racists, general dumbasses etc) might possibly vote for him. All I could think of was another character, sharing some similiar qualities to Trump, rhymes with Zitler, and how his speeches turned sheep into brainwashed lunatics and became their shepherd. This fear quickly became faint when the debate escalated into a petty tit-for-tat. Above all else, it was established Trump is really fucking rude, constantly interrupting her with useless torments or irrelevant elucidations, he is a good manipulator and he really doesn’t like China.
I did find Hilary a little bit uncomfortable at the beginning because her constant smiling seemed counterfeit and instructed, which is understandable considering this fine line she has had to tread. At times, particularly in the first half, her comebacks to Trumps petty digs seemed frivolous and juvenile but I imagine, it is hard not to fall into these categories when debating with such an opponent. For the most part the whole campaign has exuded these qualities. It all feels very familiar, I feel like we’ve seen this story before be it in our classrooms, work environments or a nineties movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Keanu Reeves; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6u3GAQgZpww
Towards the end of the debate Clinton gained her stride and perpetuated her strength and main points in a clear and convincing fashion whereas Trump was left looking like a babbling bafoon with guns’a’blazing.
I’m unsure if it’s the influence of social media , the addition of a female candidate, my age or the entertainment factor that has me all up in this US election’s grill like no other, but it sure makes for damn good television.
It’s scary to think of this man being the president of the US, I don’t know what he will do. I don’t think he knows either and I hope we never get to find out. In 12 years when we’re all celebrating President Beyonce’s second inauguration into office we can all look back and laugh about the time ‘that moron ran for president’, while former first lady Kim K takes selfies with the Iphone56 at the same time as solar power robots touch up her contour. The future is now us my American friends,’ please don’t fuck it up for the rest of us.
Author: Shaunna Lee Lynch
About: Shaunna is an Irish writer, performer, dreamer, hip hop enthusiast, general enthusiast living in Hong Kong.