Oh, the debate. 

The wonderful upside down world of this political cycle. 

Part of the joy that I find throughout this election cycle and over the course of the Trump administration is the cascade of uncertainty that has permeated virtually all levels of the economic ladder. 

The first presidential debate of 2020 turned into a reality TV segment, with the moderator embodying the helpless American public as he was being held hostage by privileged white men. 

I kept wondering when Chris Wallace would stand up and take control of the stage. 

Alas, the mild-mannered white boy did no such thing. 

This fall fans the flames of polarization. 

Often when forming political views, the various ways we follow Christ have been shaped by the encounters we have had with opposition throughout our lives. It can be tempting to demonize our enemies, even when it seems justified to retaliate and push back with the same ugliness, but we have to take the moral high ground. 

Somehow, some way we must find a way to love our enemies. 

When we build negative stereotypes for our political enemies, the inherent human value that every person has deep within them is erased. 

I want to emphasize seeing the political realm through the eyes of Jesus whom, I would imagine, is cringing alongside us. 

Nevertheless, if we as Christians seek to love and care for all creation then why does the buck stop at a political opponent?

It is so easy to make fun of the clowns on stage. 

Seeing the faults in our adversaries is delightful. Seeing misfortune before those who thought themselves above the struggles of the poor (looking at COVID-19 in the White House) can seem like poetic justice. 

But where does that get us other than a fleeting and glib sense of satisfaction? 

The presidential debate is a parody for the systemic hold that white male privilege has on the way we elect politicians.

It was nothing short of a circus act, a sick play, a product of stagnation and discontent. It was a refusal to stamp out white supremacy and an agreement to stoop to pointless bickering. 

The only solace I find is in the memes these living jokes are producing. 

I can only hope that the thin veil of moral imperative, the call of seeking to live in a more Christ-like way can light the way forward. 

I also understand that not all of us hold any religious doctrine as truth. I totally understand that. 

Thinking about how Jesus would react to modern politics might be cringe-worthy. But for me, I have to hold onto hope that there is a better, more righteous way to engage our political opponents.

I want to love when it seems impossible to love, to give grace when none was given towards me and to remember the times where I have been loved when I didn’t deserve it or when grace was poured out without debt. 

The first presidential debate is a milestone in our lives that will likely shape my political and spiritual views for the rest of my life. 

I feel badly for future female candidates who get undermined for engaging in bickering. 

It seems like white male privilege allows for presidential candidates to play fools and still be taken seriously. 

And all I can do is ask my peers is to love as Jesus loved and give grace to the undeserving. 


Jorge Suriano is a junior peace, justice and conflict studies major with a minor in psychology. He is a member of the sustainability club and enjoys gardening.