This week, I engaged with NBC’s Meet the Press episode, which aired on Sunday, September 15th. The topics Chuck Todd addressed included whether or not Joe Biden is physically up to being the President due to his age, the assault weapon ban and mandatory buybacks, and the United States’ response to the drone attack on Saudi Arabia. I also listened to the September 13th On the Media Podcast titled A Very Bitter Joke. Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone discussed President Trump firing John Bolton as the national security adviser, reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and the Statue of Liberty’s three meanings throughout history. From these two episodes, I sensed there is a general frustration about the topics of conversation, which receive more attention in the media and the political atmosphere than necessary.
The press escalates the serious nature of stories. For example, during the Thursday, September 12th Democratic debate, Julian Castro offhandedly called Joe Biden old. He accused Biden of forgetting what he said about someone needing to buy into Medicare when he went back on his statement a few moments later. Chuck Todd asked Democratic candidates, Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker, if they were concerned if Biden could “get the ball over the goal line,” and physically be the president. While Biden’s age is a concern, I do not think it is a legitimate debate worth blowing out of proportion. Similarly, the On the Media podcast mentioned an instance where some Fox News anchors stopped to consider why they were discussing or cared about whether the president fired Bolton or if he resigned. These are two examples being over analyzed and distract from more urgent issues, which should be at the forefront.
It seems as though it takes theatrics to capture the public’s attention about these larger issues. Pat McCrory commented he did not believe the Democrats made any progress in being the President on the stage as they resorted to “packaged comments.” President Trump changed the definition of what “presidential” means through his unpredictable rhetoric and behavior. Therefore, I feel the Democratic candidates, with their collected manner, met the low standards in place for acting presidential. Additionally, the author of No Visible Bruises, Rachel Louise Synder, highlighted how the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson brought the idea that domestic violence can happen to anyone to the forefront. It took the death of a “beautiful, wealthy, and famous person to spur conversation even though communities of color had been speaking out for years.” Candidates and the general public are frustrated that it takes shock factor to make progress.
I admire those who want to spread awareness and get the conversation going with inspirational policies. However, instead of making promises and instilling hope for a better future, one must both listen to the people and take action to reassure the public that democracy still works. Although President Trump canceling dialogue with Iran and leaders of the Taliban asserts our stance to not tolerate violent behavior and attacks, it inhibits forward momentum to find a solution. It is exasperating for those who are not as immersed in the policymaking process to understand the difficulty of actualizing law. They perceive Washington “gets nothing done,” as they cannot find an answer to our overarching issues as obstacles block the progress made by incremental steps. All people must respect the dignity of each person by fostering constructive, peaceful dialogue to resolve the nation’s most pressing issues.