Reflections on a Theme song of first debate

I. PRELUDE
As I entered the NOW/THIS Live feed virtual room with over 1500 other attendees, this song came to mind. I had a feeling it was a prescient warning for what was about to begin, 12 minutes late.

Everybody's talking at me
I don't hear a word they're saying
Only the echoes of my mind

People stopping, staring
I can't see their faces
Only the shadows of their eyes

I'm going where the sun keeps shining
Through the pouring rain
Going where the weather suits my clothes

Banking off of the northeast winds
Sailing on a summer breeze
And skipping over the ocean like a stone

I'm going where the sun keeps shining
Through the pouring rain
Going where the weather suits my clothes

Banking off of the northeast winds
Sailing on a summer breeze
And skipping over the ocean like a stone

Everybody's talking at me
Can't hear a word they're saying
Only the echoes of my mind

I won't let you leave my love behind
No, I won't let you leave
I won't let you leave my love behind

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Fred Neil

Everybody's Talkin' lyrics © BMG Rights Management

II. ENGAGING THE DEBATE KEEPS ME IN THE ROOM
Joe Biden to POTUS45: "...it is what it is because you are who you are."

Hundreds of thousands dead, most preventable across socioeconomics, across ages, across seven and sexual orientations, none of the myriads of spiritual folks were spared. I don’t understand how he can get any words out of his mouth about COVID-19 without even coughing or dry heaving. And we still have no national policy. Trump has largely rendered the COVID-19 task force powerless. Dr. Fauci appears on entertainment shows and wherever he can just to get some facts based on science out to the public.

POTUS45 to Joe Biden:
There's nothing smart about you Joe.

The iron skillet just tried to call the kettle black ⚫.

My response to an attendee noticing the departure from the North is live feed of most of the POTUS45 supporters less than 30 minutes into the debate:

SB, I wish they had stayed. Leaving for any reason means they are choosing not to know... sad, tragic, criminally negligent considering what is at stake. Unfortunately, they are adults and have the luxury of free will that they choose to use to maintain their imaginary world where they have special knowledge. I blame every minister in every spiritual group who has been silent for the last four years, except for those gathering to anoint POTUS45 as a latter day/ last days saint/ "Jesus"/ Yahweh/ Buddha/ prelude to nirvana / bliss, etc. Guarantee those folk were most of the ones not even watching or listening tonight. I am sad and grieving the loss and conscious choice of choosing to 🙈🙉🙊.

6:42 pm: People want their lives. Yes, in general, people want life. That is not what POTUS45s policies have given to the families, friends and co-workers of over 200,000 Americans. The rest of the planet is so disgusted with America's Idiocy in the face of a pandemic because many can no longer travel see family outside of America. Until we have and behave according to a national COVID-19 policy, generations will have no choice but to grieve the loss of the living they may never see again. How much grief and loss can our mental health professionals and classroom teachers manage? How resilient are our nation's children?

When ther aren't enough essential workers to maintain the appearance of normal, will the 10%? 20% 30% who are still financially secure then pull together and survive then thrive/ strive together as one race of homo sapiens? Are the 30% just biding their time until 70% are dead? Today, as the sun sets into the Pacific horizon, it would appear that this is their expectation.
6:53 pm PDT, WESTMONT NEIGHBORHOOD, Los Angeles, CA

After I go back in: 7:09 pm to 7:26 pm

In 2020, it is too easy for 2 white guys on stage alone and all the questions being conceived by a third white male from legendary television news reporter. I think Chris Wallace and Senator Biden have comported themselves professionally, articulately, and with maturity. Their tone is forthright and conciliatory.

Biden and Wallace are speaking to my personal desire for a break from 4 years of POTUS45 AND HIS CABINET AND SENATOR MITCHELL MC CONNELL.

At 7:10 Chris Wallace says, we're done, sir, to POTUS45. YES, my desire, as a sample size of 1 of " We, the people, united to form a more perfect union" are truly done with POTUS45. Tonight is another POTUS45 spectacle that makes me ask, America, why have we not yet at a minimum demanded the resignation of POTUS45 and his Cabinet and Senator Mitchell Mc Connell?

I know many of those whose resignations would squeal like stuck pigs, but so what? They will, like the countless super-lunged babies who have gone before POTUS45 and all of his swamp people/ pod people, stop squealing from exhaustion at some point.

Meanwhile, the adults in the room will soldier on to produce a peaceful transition from Nov 3 to January 21(?) and a "Re-Unifying" USA Presidential Inaugural where we
1.) have the wisdom to beg the world's pardon and pledge to reunify with our neighbors south and north,
2.) stop demonizing every Eastern and Western nation, take down the pedestal we erected for Israel and some others in the Middle East ( leveling the playing field for everyone in that region), and
3.) pledge at a General Session of the United Nations to do better and be better.

Returning for the conclusion. Only to discover: 7: 26 to 7: 40.

The President is saying there are problems and there will be problems ever since the first news outlets predicted he might lose. And yet, by reducing postal service infrastructure, he has done more than any single American citizen to " kneecap"/ cripple the USPS a d ultimately the election. Why is no talking head saying that the POTUS45 is confessing to an intent to commit a crime? POTUS45 has now criticized his Federal staff for 10 minutes while being as rude and bullying as he was at the outset. I will go beyond Shakespeare's quote to say, I know he is protesting, yelling, complaining, bullying, interrupting, demanding and receiving too d##n much! He demanded and received the moderator's full attention for a full 90 minutes.

III. THE AFTERMATH
A professional assessment from an a aspiring educational leader/ coach POV

If only he were my client. I would consult face-to-face with Chris Wallace and compliment him on doing what he could. Next, I would ask him to tell me if he could identify the moments when he had control of the "session" he was supposed to manage to equitably engage both debaters. I would ask him to rewind the videotape so we could review those moments. Next, I would ask him to show me any moments when he thought or felt that either one of the participants had successfully taken control of the meeting. Again, we would rewind the tape so we could both review those moments when he judged himself to be in our out of control.

I would expect by the time we had completed that process that Chris would have asked me one or more of the following:
Vernon, do you think I had control of the process at any time? My answer: Chris based on
1.) the fact my "NOW/THIS" audience of 7100 people were yelling and or arguing and or exiting throughout the entire debate,
2.) you did not engage either participants or audience in any meaningful way
your informational engagement scores were zero.

Chris Wallace might also ask:
Is there anything I might have done to maintain/ regain control?
My answer?
Chris, with you as sole moderator creator of all the questions, lack of a midpoint break and former 4 year relationship of rewarding, defending and encouraging the clients behaviors, there was no way your could have managed a different outcome. To be honest Chris, for the same reasons, I and the audience expected the outcome would be as it was. Our attendance was only a function of hoping against hope for a miracle which never came. To their credit, the majority of Americans are unified in their ability to give folks multiple chances to be caught doing good.

In my final report to the Election Commission, I would recommend the following for all subsequent debates:
A.) A team of 4 moderators; all four must be female; 3 must be non- white. Each moderator will create 2 questions in each of four areas:
1.) Racism
2.) Poverty
3.) The War Ecomony/ Militarism
4.) Our National Morality
B.) Each will have to have successfully have moderated a Presidential Debate or interviewed either of the candidates
C.) Two must have international experience, preferably Asian , Western European, Eastern European, African or Indian, Middle Eastern, Indian(continent)

D.) Option1
Definition of " Debate" relevant to Option 1:
Debate is a process that involves formal
discussion on a particular topic. In a debate, opposing arguments are put forward to argue for opposing
viewpoints. In a formal debating
contest, there are rules for participants to discuss and decide on differences, within a framework defining how they will do it.

Recommended rules/ protocol would be as follows:

1.) Roberts rules of order will govern each debate.

2.) Each participant will be asked only one time to follow all instructions from the moderator. There will be one and only one warning. If they violate those instructions at any time after the first warning, the moderator will end the process and each side will be given 24 hours to respond on videotape to any remaining questions. Those tapes will be broadcast by all networks no later than 48 hours after the debate was ended.

3.) All subsequent debates will be videotaped 24 hours in advance of their scheduled air dates and presented asynchronously on the originally scheduled date. To reduce the potential for the audience to expect a rhetorical dramatic battle posing as an example of forensics/ debate,

E.) Option 2
Definition of "debate" relevant to Option 2:
A leaders' debate or presidential debate is a public debate held during a general election campaign, where the candidates expose their political opinions and public policy proposals, and criticism of them, to potential voters.

Alternatively, it may be best to re-brand and call it a summative assessment for each participant. A summative assessment with a pre-published rubric would be my recommendation instead of debate.
Each politician has had years of practice and training for this assessment. Audience expectations should remain high for quality content relevant to a clear, transparent and articulate exposition of each candidates vision for America's next Presidential policy and praxis.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
As an educator with different abilities (Blepharospasm, Asperger's, and some ADD) who has worked for 48 years with learners across the entire high/low, mild/severe spectrum of different abilities, one of the things I love about systems thinking is it helps me center and focus when I tackle subjects like this after the stress and anxiety and grief I felt watching the first Presidential Debate of 2020 descend into bullying, shaming, name-calling, and stereotypical raging testosterone-driven chaos. Creating this reflection reassures me that there is a way forward for the country of my birth, the United States of America.

Vernon Nickerson, MA

(C)VernonNickersonSchoolcoach 2020

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