Fun truth: The first debate of Election 2020 was simply final week. Yes, the face-off between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden was a mere eight days in the past. It was earlier than President Trump introduced he had examined constructive for Covid-19, earlier than he went to Walter Reed Medical Center for therapy solely to return to the White House days later, ascend the balcony, take off his masks, and stand in entrance of Washington, DC, like Eva Perón. (Evita star Patti LuPone gave that efficiency zero stars, by the means.) It was additionally earlier than studies emerged about scads of White House staffers and others in Trump’s orbit testing constructive for coronavirus. It was earlier than The Fly.
OK, none of these details have been actually “fun.” (Well, The Fly is, however we’ll come again to that in a minute.) The level is that, regardless of all of these details, Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris took half in the second debate of the 2020 election tonight. It was as historic because it was ill-advised: Historic as a result of it marked the first time a Black lady had ever taken the stage as a vice presidential candidate. Ill-advised as a result of though the candidates have been 12 ft, three inches aside and separated by plexiglass like toppings at a Shoney’s salad bar, they have been nonetheless debating in the center of a pandemic, in a closed room, the place considered one of the contributors has been in shut proximity to a person who has not too long ago been recognized with a virus that has killed greater than 210,000 Americans.
Even earlier than the debate began, there was hypothesis as to how it might play out. Would Pence be capable to dodge questions on the administration’s dealing with of Covid-19? Would Harris’ race and intercourse be an element in how voters responded to her remarks? Why the hell did the Trump marketing campaign invite long-deceased rapper Tupac Shakur to the debate?
Only a few of these questions bought answered. In a sparring match that at the very least had fewer interruptions than the first presidential debate, the working mates tackled every little thing from local weather change to abortion to China. Barbs have been thrown and facial expressions have been expressed, however total it appeared like we have been lastly seeing a traditional political debate.
And then got here The Fly. Just as Pence was discussing racial injustice and the police killing of Breonna Taylor, a housefly landed on his head. And stayed there. For a whereas. Of all the issues that might occur txo derail the web discourse round a vice presidential debate, having a fly swoop in and steal the present has bought to be the most apropos for 2020.
For these really on the web, although, it additionally felt like 2012, like all these Twitter jokesters who felt like they hadn’t been given a political alley-oop since “binders full of women” immediately awoke from an eight-year weed nap and started working. Timelines couldn’t transfer quick sufficient to maintain up. People made jokes about Jeff Goldblum; people dug up pictures of Biden holding a flyswatter. Within 30 minutes the fly had a number of Twitter accounts. It was sort of good.
It’s additionally sort of disheartening. During the final presidential debate there have been so many interruptions and jabs, the time for substantive dialog was restricted to virtually none. Then, as the frustration from final week’s occasions flowed into this week’s, all it took was a fly to derail an in any other case vital dialog. The stress was—and is—so excessive, even the smallest factor can function a launch valve.
Yes, right here we’re, a second so filled with nervous laughter that the fly in the ointment is politics itself. Tomorrow will convey new information, so for now let’s get pleasure from Mike’s little pest.
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