By Jose Orozco
The Vice Presidential debate came with many jabs towards the opposing Presidential candidates. So, how important is the Vice Presidential debate when it seems to be another campaign ad? If the position of the candidates does not really matter, then why pay attention?
Well, for one, this might be the only civil debate we will get to see. Even though the debate seems inconsequential, major achievements occurred during the debate, while the issue of respect was in full display.
Senator Kamala Harris became the first “Black and South Asian woman, as well as the first graduate of a historically Black college or university, to be chosen as a major party candidate’s running mate.”
The importance of this cannot be understated during this time of social unrest and injustice.
“[She] went into [the debate] aware of the various dynamics and to thread the needle on balancing being assertive and letting it go at points,” Brandon Tensley of CNN reports. “Women are judged differently. It’s a needle we have to thread all the time, and of course she has been the only woman and the only Black woman in many spaces.”
And indeed, Senator Kamala Harris was assertive with Vice President Mike Pence.
She continually reminded him, saying, “Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.” Harris did not take interruptions lightly and in general, she did not allow Pence to take his way.
Before the debate, for instance, Senator Harris demanded a plexiglass barrier for the debate. Vice President Pence disagreed with this sentiment, but in the end, Harris won.
Even though both Harris and Pence tested negative for COVID-19 before the debate, one can never be too cautious. And Pence’s bloodshot eye definitely raised some eyebrows on whether he himself was sick with the virus.
Unfortunately, the Republican candidates have not shown themselves as taking the pandemic seriously.
President Trump has once more surprised us, or unsurprised us, by taking off his mask while being infected with COVID-19. During his debate, he also had a large following without masks.
The Vice-Presidential debate began with an argument on whether or not to take COVID-19 precautions seriously, while the Republican side was clearly against. Not just that, but at the end of the debate, the candidates’ partners clearly displayed the two different positions.
As The New Yorker reports: “Harris’s husband, Douglas Emhoff, a lawyer, wore a mask, as he had throughout the debate. Karen Pence had worn one [only] while sitting in the audience, as the rules required.”
She had no choice since wearing a mask was made mandatory, since Trump’s family and others broke the rules in the first Presidential debate. Additionally, the organizers enforced guidelines this time by declaring that anyone who did not wear a mask would be kicked out.
“But, as Karen Pence approached the stage, she took hers off.”
Was this an act done to undermine the guidelines by imitating Trump?
When the topic of COVID-19 came up, Harris began saying, “The American people have witnessed the greatest failure of any presidential administration in our country.”
These acts of defiance by the Republican candidates prove this statement and did not go well in their favor. Instead, it serves to amplify the Democratic position.
The CNN instant poll gave recent information that 59 percent of registered voters who watched the debate said Harris won, while 38 percent thought that Pence was the victor.
Regardless of who won, the debate brought up the important issue of respect.
BBC has delved into this topic by considering whether gender played a role during the debate, alluding to a 2014 study that found speakers to interrupt more readily when speaking with a woman.
More recently, a 2017 study shared that these interruptions do occur in higher positions, “with male Supreme Court justices interrupting female justices three times more than they interrupted each other.”
They tallied the number of interruptions with Pence having ten and Harris having five.
Of course, this is nothing compared to the 71 interruptions of President Trump and the 21 of Mr. Biden.
Personally, I found the debate to not really have a gender issue.
Nonetheless, this is something to keep in mind since it deals with respect. And respect, to me, seems to be the main issue in this election where defiance and ethical dilemmas go hand in hand.
Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link: