As I sat down to watch the presidential debate this past Monday night, I couldn’t help but feel excited.
With the level of unrest in our country and the stark contrast between the candidates, this election feels even more important than those previous. (Although, this is the first presidential election I’ve been able to vote in, so maybe that’s part of it.)
Either way, I was so eager that it felt like I was getting ready to watch a hyped-up sporting event.
Unfortunately, the debate fell short of the hype, and it left me with an uneasy feeling.
The main reason for my uneasy feeling is the ease with which Donald Trump talked over Hillary Clinton. According to The New York Times, Clinton was interrupted by Trump 39 times, while she only interrupted him eight times.
Trump had a clear disregard for Clinton’s designated time to speak, and continued to talk over both her and the moderator when he felt he deserved to speak. As a woman, that made me feel small.
There was a privilege in the way he could simply talk over her, with his voice being the one most people probably remember. He was rude and obnoxious (not qualities a presidential candidate should have) in the way he interrupted her by repeatedly saying “wrong” into the microphone.
I know that a debate is essentially organized arguing and the candidates aren’t supposed to be friends. But that’s the thing—it’s supposed to be organized—and if Trump’s going to interrupt Clinton, he should be saying something of substance, not just “wrong.” The candidates are at least expected to be civil.
Clinton calmly handled Trump’s childish tactics, which has a large part to do with the fact that as a woman in politics, she’s used to men trying to talk over her.
Not only does this reveal the sexism that plagues America, but it also proves that there’s an expectation that in the end, the loudest voice wins.
And if the loudest voice wins, what message does that send people, especially young adults and teenagers who are consistently faced with differing opinions? It tells them that you don’t need facts and logic to back up claim, you can bully your way into making someone be quiet and you just need to make sure no one can hear anything but you.
Is that really what freedom of speech means?
Trump has employed this tactic of talking over his opponents throughout the primaries and is carrying it on into the general election because it’s proved successful.
It makes me sad that people think Trump will make a good president. Opinions of Clinton aside, if that’s how he treats the former secretary of state, imagine how he’d treat the leaders of foreign countries when tensions are running high.
It’s one thing to dislike Clinton; it’s another thing to think that Trump is fit for the presidency. But I’m afraid that too many voters don’t know the difference.