Enjoyable truth: The first debate of Election 2020 was simply final week. Sure, 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 optimistic for Covid-19, earlier than he went to Walter Reed Medical Middle for remedy solely to return to the White Home 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 way in which.) It was additionally earlier than stories emerged about scads of White Home staffers and others in Trump’s orbit testing optimistic for coronavirus. It was earlier than The Fly.
OK, none of these details had been actually “enjoyable.” (Properly, The Fly is, however we’ll come again to that in a minute.) The purpose is that, regardless of all of these details, Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris took half within 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 primary time a Black lady had ever taken the stage as a vice presidential candidate. In poor health-advised as a result of though the candidates had been 12 toes, 3 inches aside and separated by plexiglass like toppings at a Shoney’s salad bar, they had been nonetheless debating in the midst of a pandemic, in a closed room, the place one of many contributors has been in shut proximity to a person who has lately been identified with a virus that has killed greater than 210,000 Individuals.
Even earlier than the talk began, there was hypothesis as to how it could play out. Would Pence be capable to dodge questions concerning the administration’s dealing with of Covid-19? Would Harris’ race and intercourse be a factor in how voters responded to her remarks? Why the hell did the Trump marketing campaign invite long-deceased rapper Tupac Shakur to the talk?
Solely a few of these questions obtained answered. In a sparring match that on the very least had fewer interruptions than the primary presidential debate, the working mates tackled the whole lot from local weather change to abortion to China. Barbs had been thrown and facial expressions had been expressed, however general it appeared like we had been lastly seeing a traditional political debate.
After which got here The Fly. Simply 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 of the issues that might occur to derail the web discourse round a vice presidential debate, having a fly swoop in and steal the present has obtained to be probably 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 ladies” out of the blue awoke from an eight-year weed nap and started working. Timelines couldn’t transfer quick sufficient to maintain up. Individuals made jokes about Jeff Goldblum; other people dug up photos of Biden holding a flyswatter. Inside half-hour the fly had a number of Twitter accounts. It was type of good.
It’s additionally type of disheartening. Over the past presidential debate there have been so many interruptions and jabs, the time for substantive dialog was restricted to nearly none. Then, because 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 crucial dialog. The stress was—and is—so excessive, even the smallest factor can function a launch valve.
Sure, right here we’re, a second so stuffed with nervous laughter that the fly within the ointment is politics itself. Tomorrow will carry new information, so for now, let’s get pleasure from Mike’s little pest.
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