Trump-Biden fight and the 1974 boxing match In Kinshasa

Trump-Biden fight and the 1974 boxing match In Kinshasa
I watched the fight between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. It was nicknamed a debate, presumably because the fighters and their referee were wearing suits.  It was a mud fight into which the President of the United States dragged his opponent and their referee. 

As usual, my wife just walked away after about 10 minutes. I sat through it all, studying the three men, watching the evidence confirming what I knew.  The America that I once admired is long gone. Finished. 

In the last few days, I have purposely watched the TV debates of 1960, 1980 and 1984. I needed a point of reference before watching Trump on stage. It was nice to be reminded of  a time when gentlemen stood before America and debated with civility, eloquence, brilliant command of facts and offered America clear choices. 

They were respectful of each other. They were admirable examples to the world.  The first televised debate, between Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Vice President Richard Milhous Nixon, in 1960 remains arguably the best example of two old fashioned gentlemen discussing a country they both loved. One sees why Kennedy hit a home run, with his ideas, delivery and presence. One sees why Nixon had a future in the presidential sweepstakes. 

Watching the Ronald Reagan-Carter and Reagan-Walter Mondale debates was special. I had lived the experience. I had watched them live way back then.  I had a favourite, of course, but I respected both men. 

On September 29, 2020, I saw that that old America, as represented by the man in the Oval Office, was gone from us. Trump reminded me of the boys we feared to meet at the well or in the pastures where we grazed our parents’ cows and goats. You know the type who threw stones at you, just because. 

As I watched the show, I kept thinking of a fight I watched on TV in Northcote Hall, Makerere University, on October 30, 1974 (it was still October 29 in North America).  

Now, I dislike boxing and similar violence that passes for sports. But this was Muhammad Ali, the man who had defied the draft to Vietnam and had been stripped of his title as heavyweight champion. So my anti-war views and solidarity with his politics had kept me up to watch his return to the ring.  

Now, the fighters and promoters of boxing do not pretend to be anything but highly paid practitioners of violence. So we knew what to expect in the ring. 

Whereas the Kishasa fight ended with an 8th round TKO by Muhammad Ali, the Cleveland fight was unjudgeable. Noise by Trump made the attempted conversation futile. Biden tried hard to hang on to civilization, but passively sank into the cesspool with Trump.  

The man has truly brought his country’s presidency down into the gutter. I now see why his White House has been described as chaotic. Imagine a meeting where an expert tries to advise Trump on anything.  Anything! 

That he still has a chance of being re-elected is one of the modern wonders of the world. I cannot think of any ruler like him. Not in my lifetime. 

But then again, it is a new America. Whether or not we shall ever see the return of civilized intellectual conversation in American politics is anybody’s guess. Sad.

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