‘The whole debate scared and upset me’

President Donald Trump confronts moderate Chris Wallace at the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio.

Clarksburg, Maryland, U.S.A. – Tuesday’s presidential debate was nothing short of absolutely exhausting.

From the first few minutes, I was crooning my head closer to my living room television to make out what the candidates were saying. President Donald Trump constantly interrupted challenger Joe Biden and moderator Chris Wallace throughout the 90-minute debate, making it extremely difficult to understand the questions asked, let alone the answers.

Within 15 minutes, it felt like I was watching a teacher attempt to moderate a discussion between a tired student and a petulant child. I spent most of my time figuring out who said what rather than analyzing any statements made by either Trump or Biden.

However, as the debate progressed, it became increasingly clear that Trump wasn’t making any real points to pay attention to anyway.

When asked about his reasoning behind replacing the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court with Amy Coney Barrett, Trump responded, “because I’m allowed to.”

I struggled to take anything he said seriously.

While I don’t always agree with Biden, a former vice president, at least he was able to formulate logical answers to the questions asked.

When the all-too-relevant COVID-19 discussion began, all I could hear was Trump attacking Biden with untrue and unsupported claims.

Trump didn’t use any of his time responding to the questions, instead picking on Biden’s intelligence and mocking experts by using air quotes when referring to them. He justified holding large, mostly mask-less rallies by saying that Biden would do the same, if only people wanted to show up to his events.

As humorous as some of the arguing was, the whole debate scared and upset me.  Is this what America has come to?

Our president blamed the forest fires rampaging through California on the lack of forest management, blaming the fires on too many leaves and dead trees on the forest floor.

He rejected the idea that white supremacists played a part in the minority of Black Lives Matter protests that were violent, saying that the riots are caused entirely by “radical leftists.”

He remained adamant that mail-in votes were fraudulent, despite lacking any proof and the reality that almost a quarter of 2016 election ballots were mailed in.

If anything, this debate made it crystal clear that this election is the only thing standing between this country and a truly horrifying, Trump-led future.

As we teeter on the fence, I remain terrified to see what will happen if Trump is re-elected.

Sreehitha Gandluri is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

Read what the debate looked like to a YJI writer in Australia:

U.S. presidential debate ‘painful to watch’ from Australia

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