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President Donald Trump (left) speaks during the final presidential debate with former Vice President Joe Biden on Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tenn.

This election season has flown past; just the other day we were watching the senselessness of the first presidential debate and now the final one is behind us.

Organizers of the debates learned lessons from the chaos of the first debate and this time, retained the ability to mute the microphones of both candidates — something that I feel played a large part in maintaining civility in this one.

The debate began with a discussion of the status and impacts of the coronavirus. President Donald Trump once again, without citing any authority, claimed that a vaccine was almost ready.

Trump also concluded that he is now immune and that he received something equivalent to a cure or therapy. Once the vaccine has been mass produced, Trump said he will have the military lined up to execute a plan in order to give it to the American people. In theory, this sounds like a great idea but what horror movie doesn’t start with armed forces rolling out a government vaccine? (Not many, but you get the point.)

While there are many Americans who would welcome a rapid facilitation of vaccination, there are also many people I know who have said that they would prefer not to take the first round of vaccinations.

Trump held firm on his stance that the country needs to reopen and that our economy cannot afford another long-term shut-down. While summarizing the potential financial consequences to the American economy, Trump offered no meaningful answers to the Americans who are fearful of grave health and safety consequences of remaining open during the resurgence of this virus. It can be reasonably inferred from his comments and focus, that Trump is looking to the economy, rather than the public health as the measure of how our country is doing.

When the topic of national security was visited, former Vice President Joe Biden boldly stated that any country that interfered with the sovereignty of the United States of America would pay for what they did. Diplomacy, impropriety in government influence and other nations meddling in American affairs, requires a carefully informed, strategic and individualized approach.

This section of the debate was reminiscent of the debate in 2016 and the he-said she-said fight between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Trump over who talked to the shadiest world leaders and who had the shadiest emails. Equally troubling was that Biden felt it was important to expressly deny taking payments from foreign governments during this portion of the debate. Neither candidate should accept improper financial influence from another nation.

When Biden brought up the president’s taxes, Trump said that he plans to release them as soon as he can. Given the anticipation surrounding the release of Trump’s taxes, at this point, there certainly better be a good plot line. If this is not a vampire-werewolf love story, I don’t want to read it.

Biden also stated that Trump has played a big role in legitimizing thug leaders such as the leader of North Korea. He also said that the president has alienated us from our true allies and made us a laughing stock. While Americans can get frustrated with our government at times, we still have a sense of pride that comes with being an American. Regardless of the outcome of the election, it is my hope that unity and pride in America prevails.

Many other topics such as immigration and a possible new stimulus check were covered, but what stood out to me the most, was that it was more like a debate than the first debate (aka argument) between the two. What was troubling is that this was achieved involuntarily through use of the microphones’ mute feature, rather than the result of self-discipline and decorum on the part of the candidates. Grown men were treated like children in order to achieve a level of civility that the American people deserve.

This aside, there were also moments that left me a bit dumbfounded — like the multiple times President Abraham Lincoln was referenced. Trump stated that he was the best president for Black people since Abraham Lincoln. Let’s not even delve into that claim, because I think we can all agree that Lincoln has been through enough already.

The debate ended with Trump claiming that if Biden won, the country would fall into an unprecedented economic depression and Biden affirming that he was committed to representing those who voted for and against him.

After watching all of the debates, I’ve come to conclude that the same sentiments without definition are simply being repeated. Voters who were on the fence about who to vote for are not closer to one side or the other — they’re just more confused.

Overall this debate was probably the least interesting, but still informative. It’s still unclear after three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate who is going to win the election and what the candidates will say and do up until Election Day. I’m interested to see how the American people will vote, but of perhaps greater interest is how the results of the election will be handled by the candidates and America.

If you’ve made it to the end of this article and are of voting age, please remember to exercise your rights and vote in this election.

FlipSide is the Charleston Gazette-Mail’s teen publication. You can read more stories at

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