I begin this column with the vice presidential debate. As I did with the first debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, I paid particular attention to the body language and facial expressions of the participants. Unlike the previous “debate,” I was able to actually listen to the candidates who didn’t shout or make personal attacks on one another.
However, Vice President Mike Pence strayed down the path of his boss and constantly ignored the rules as agreed to by both camps by speaking long past his allotted time and paying no mind to the moderator who was trying her best to reign him in. He also interrupted U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris on many occasions. There needs to be a mute button on the microphones available to the moderator. Pence also either failed to answer many of the questions posed or tap-danced around them. Much of this was probably caused by his penchant for referring back to a previous question and the answer by Harris. Not good time management shown there.
Harris, for the most part, stuck to providing some insight as to her ticket’s positions on the issues raised, although she did her own tap-dance on at least one notable occasion. She also seemed to be able to get her thoughts in during her allotted time and only had to be stopped once or twice.
On the presence shown by the candidates, Harris seemed comfortable and, like Biden, often looked directly at the camera as if speaking directly to the viewer. She also looked at Pence when she was directing her remarks to him and, by extension, the president. During many of Pence’s answers, she could be seen smiling, laughing and shaking her head at his portrayals of the Democrats’ positions.
Pence, with his usual calm and stoic visage and slow, measured speech pattern, simply showed no energy. I would have expected a hint of a fire in his belly but none was evident. What I got was the same talking points being repeated over and over, in the same words and phrases. He sounded like he had been programmed like a robot.
On another more important subject, the filling of the Supreme Court vacancy, I have a few thoughts and questions for the senators who will vote, up or down, on the nominee.
First is the possibility that a very conservative court will nullify the Affordable Care Act and remove millions from coverage, including those with pre-existing conditions. Trump has been promising something new and better for four years, and we have yet to see any portion of the plan. Without some viable replacement, still covering those like me who have what the insurance companies consider pre-existing conditions, how can the court, in good conscience, kill the ACA?
Next is the question of reversing or modifying the Roe v. Wade decision which has been upheld by previous conservative-leaning courts. My wish would be that abortion were never necessary or desired.
However, I also believe that any medical procedure contemplated is something that is between the doctor and the patient and, in the case of this procedure, the patient’s conscience. Government on any level should stay out of the doctor’s office.
Along those same lines, questions about basic civil rights for those outside of the heterosexual community are on the court’s agenda, or will be shortly. I believe that the government should stay out of people’s bedrooms as well. Every person, without regard of race, creed, color, sexual orientation or family status, deserves to be treated equally in all facets of life.
Lastly, the question of the legitimacy of the 2020 election may be questioned. Trump has done his best to cast doubts about the vote. There are a couple of issues pending on the Supreme Court docket now and, in the likely event that Trump loses in November, he has promised to contest the legitimacy of the process. How will his nominee, if confirmed, and the others whom he has had seated vote when the question arises? Will they truly follow the Constitution or will they vote to uphold Trump’s (probably) spurious case?
No matter what goes on between now and Nov. 3, get your ballot in and vote! Mine is already in.
Bill Kennedy writes every other week from Taneytown. You may contact him at email@example.com.