A number of parents sat with their children to watch the first presidential debate of 2020. They hoped to teach their children about the importance of being able to articulate one’s policies, how to carefully frame one’s arguments and what issues affect this great country. That is not exactly the lesson that emerged.
The debate (which admittedly I turned off before it was over because I was so dismayed) seemed to be an enactment of a Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle story that was beloved by my children. For those of you who are not familiar with Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, this fictional character is the source of wisdom for neighborhood mothers, adored by their children, and the solver of all sorts of parenting dilemmas.
In the story I am recollecting, a mother approaches Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle for advice because her son and daughter are always squabbling. Breakfast means an exchange of, “His piece of toast is bigger than mine,” and “She’s sitting too close to me.” That bickering continues through the whole day, exhausting both the parents. (Confession – I don’t have the story before me so these examples may not be accurate, but I am capturing the idea.)
After consulting Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, the very next morning the mother and father begin to implement the recommended cure. Instead of greeting their normal, pleasant parents, the children awaken to a mother and father who are whining about unfairness, carping at each other and complaining about the slightest thing the other one says or does. It doesn’t take long before the little boy and girl realize how unpleasant it is to live in a house where family members talk over each other, call each other names and moan and whine, treating each other and everyone forced to listen to them with gross disrespect,
If your children saw the first presidential debate of 2020, hopefully they learned that same lesson.
The debate has not change how I plan to vote. The two men represent two very different visions of America, one of which I see as a road to improvement and the other as the road to destructive socialism. That isn’t a choice that foolish statements or a show of poor character is going to affect. However, both President Trump and Vice-president Biden acted more like badly behaved ten-year-olds than adult statesmen. That is embarrassing and disappointing and an apology is due by both to the citizens of the United States.