The 2nd Presidential Debate vs “The Great Debaters” …I Choose the Latter

The 2nd Presidential Debate vs “The Great Debaters” …I Choose the Latter

Photo above via Creative Commons

First off, this is not a review of the 2nd Presidential Debate (2016). Every publication and news channel in the country is covering the actual debate (if one can call it that), so don’t look for yet another review here.

Now, to address the real reason behind this post.

I honestly forgot the presidential debate was Sunday night. I had it on my calendar, and I saw the first debate. But life, wants/needs, and flat-out importance outweighed any consideration I had to focus on a “debate” that in all actuality, lacked focus.

I had an itch – for about a week now – to watch the film, The Great Debaters.  And for some reason I chose to watch it Sunday night amidst a world enthralled with Trump lies and Clinton formalities. I only realized the presidential debate was happening when my phone continued to notify me via everywhere (publications, social media, and friends).

Everyone was interested, frustrated and in some ways, involved in this debate. But I was not. This is not me declaring that I was above those who chose to watch the 2nd 2016 debate, but rather me sharing that I watched something better. Furthermore, I the irony is that I ended up watching a film debating topics actually concerning the American people, at the precise moment America was watching a debate concerning only the debaters.

What is the point of these debates if not to hash out the issues and questions the country is facing today? If I wanted to watch famous people insult each other, “reality” TV reunions would do the damn trick. Not ABC news!

I first viewed The Great Debaters the year it came out (2007). And the only thing that stuck with me (even more than Denzel W. the first), was Denzel Whitaker’s line, “you should pray I choose the latter.”

For those who didn’t see the film, this line was following an argument the character posed on his choice to respond to injustices with either “violence or civil disobedience.” And man, that full quote was FIRE!” Watch the film yourself to see the entire impact. But WOW!

This quote resonates even still, today. The #BlackLivesMatter (BLM) movement is a perfect example. In the film, Whitaker’s character was basing his argument on a horrific event he witnessed, whereas a black man was lynched and burned. The civil rights movement responded to these events and more with civil disobedience. Now police officers are killing black men in the streets, and the BLM movement is responding with civil disobedience. Questioning the justice system, and demanding change, all while refraining from “bustin’ a cap in said justice system’s ass.”

The film also went on to tackle topics such as integration, welfare, and even hinted at a debate on capitalism. One could literally take the topic “integration,” interchange it with “inclusion,” and all the topics from a 1935 debate team still holds relevance today. It’s sad, really.

And sadder even, that something as widely publicized as the presidential debate, lacks the luster of debates held during an oppressive time. Or lacks even the effort put into an average Facebook fight (cue The Sherr-Raid).

This country has issues that needs to be discussed. And though I understand disparaging your opponent to further prove your point, is an important factor  in debating tactics – allowing “insults” to be the main topic of your argument is juvenile and ill-prepared.

The country had its heart set on Trump/Clinton this past Sunday. But my mind had other plans.

And when given the choice between watching posers portray presidents, or actors portray heroes, I will always choose the latter.

That Is All.

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