Are You Not Entertained?

I have been trying to wrap my head around why so many people disliked the first presidential debate when I enjoyed it so thoroughly. What gives?

Maybe it’s that I wasn’t expecting much. I made a cocktail, got comfortable, and enjoyed the show. It was a brawl. A bloodbath. As the American Mind’s Matthew Peterson commented on social media, it was like a scene from “Gladiator.” That’s what I wanted. 

Maybe that’s it. Other people wanted something else—something like a sophisticated, polite, clear-eyed debate about policy. 

That seems silly to me at this point. It seems obvious we are in the midst of Revolution 2020. We are not arguing about policy. War is neither polite nor sophisticated. You get to the objective any way you can: over, under, or through. But that won’t help explain things to someone who doesn’t see this as war. 

So why should we embrace the entertainment of a fight and leave behind the hopes for polite political discourse? Because the debate of our dreams—the reasoned discourse, the lengthy responses, the political decorum—is not the alternative to the combat we saw. It’s either a fight in the open or an assassination. It was never going to be polite or about policy.

Sophisticated Assassination

Take this week’s debate in Ohio. The setup is entirely rigged for a murder. The moderator asks biased questions with ridiculous lies as predicates: “President Trump, the media reports you beat your wife. Have you stopped beating your wife?” Or the question goes to Biden: “here is a softball question. Now please spend two minutes lying about Trump.” 

Trump knows something we don’t want to admit: letting those lies go unchallenged or waiting to address them is a loser. So he doesn’t. He responds right then and there. He interrupts their lies. 

Trump’s critics see the interruption; they either don’t see or ignore the lies.

What is Trump supposed to do? Write down his objections and wait patiently to address them when it is his turn? If he were to wait, it would look like a slimy political deflection. “Thanks for that question, but I want to go back and talk about something from five minutes ago.”

We don’t care about those rebuttals minutes after the fact. We don’t have the attention span. They come off as petty. And anyway, the schoolmarm moderator will make sure to scold Trump back on track. This is a sophisticated debate, remember, and we have to cover lots of policy ground . . . 

That’s how the assassination works. It looks sophisticated and polite, but there is still plenty of blood. The problem for decent, fair-minded people who love their country is that the other side controls the apparatus and only one side will get killed. The media, the debate commission, the talking heads—all of it—are stacked against decent debate and polite politics. 

Wishing for something different than what happens is to wish for a chimera. It’s chasing gold at the end of the rainbow. To wish for it is to get what we got before Trump: losers. 

And losers beget more blood: the blood of thousands of American soldiers and foreigners killed in useless wars, the blood of millions of babies slaughtered in the womb, and now there is blood in the streets of people murdered by the violent wing of the Democratic Party. You don’t want a blood bath? You are drenched in it. We are all drowning in it.

A Cordial Exchange? Dream On

The enemy of polite discourse isn’t Trump, it’s the bloody establishment he is fighting. 

Yes, yes, we all yearn for some modern version of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. But that isn’t going to happen. There are powers today that can and will prevent it. Such debates are a dream. 

So the choice is watch an assassination or watch a fight. There will be blood. Romney and McCain chose to be murdered. They played the part of the polite loser. Trump doesn’t. He interrupts. He provokes. He sees their sneering and their scolding and their chuckling, and he sneers and laughs and scolds right back. He sees their lies and he fights.

Could Trump have fought better? Probably. Sometimes he should let Biden speak longer, since the more Biden talks, the more pathetic he looks. 

Trump missed some opportunities and minced some words. He could have been funnier (though I’m angry and l like that he is angry). He should train more for the next round, if Biden is willing to take another beating. Still, I’m not one to make the perfect the enemy of the good. 

The debate was awesome to watch—a master class in real statesmanship and prudence: the work of a man who sees his circumstances for what they actually are and who has the courage and the fire to take it on. Will it work? I don’t know. But who cares? If Trump loses, we will have no choice but to fight.

Remember, Trump’s approach is only imprudent if we aren’t “based” enough to recognize the need for it. But if we don’t recognize it, we need to be awakened. The only thing to wake us up from our stupor is the continued assault on the dreamworks—the bracing, biting “rudeness” of Trump mocking the whole circus. Consider it a “warrior aesthetic” if it makes you feel more educated. We are well past reasoned arguments. 

Embrace the Fight

Strategically, we all need to be reminded that we don’t need to win, we just need to fight. In Trump we see a man who knows the nobility of the fact that, win or lose, it is better to go down “guns blazing and flag flying” than to settle for the obnoxious rule of petty tyrants. 

The talking heads will say it was a tactical mistake and a turnoff to voters. Maybe, but it was red meat to Trump’s base, and one look at the leftist twits after the debate shows that they were clearly discouraged. Biden looked weak. He couldn’t handle Trump, even with Chris Wallace’s help. Now Trump’s voters are energized; Biden’s are suppressed. When everyone in the media wants you to believe the debate was just an overall disaster and orange man bad, it means the debate was a disaster for Biden and Trump’s strategy worked.

Forget the politics of yesteryear. It was all a dream anyway. While we slept our country marched to the brink. Plenty of conservative intellectuals will bow to the law of fashion and murmur a rebuke of the crudeness. They will unwittingly prop up the pretend world. The media surely will try to lull you back to bed with polls and focus groups of people who bemoan the boorishness of it all, as if there were a real alternative. They want to pull on that cowardly thread in your mind that yearns for the imaginary world where things are fair. 

But don’t be fooled. Wake up. Stay awake. Be sober-minded and take heart. Embrace the fight. Make a cocktail. Then sit back and enjoy the entertainment. 

About Adam Selene

Adam Selene is the pseudonym of a writer who has studied American political thought and politics.

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Support Free & Independent Journalism Your support helps protect our independence so that American Greatness can keep delivering top-quality, independent journalism that's free to everyone. Every contribution, however big or small, helps secure our future. If you can, please consider a recurring monthly donation.

Want news updates?

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.

22 responses to “Are You Not Entertained?”

  1. I agree. Your assessment is right in the money. I like to say, “You can’t pay for entertainment like that “

  2. Absolutely correct. We are all in a fight for the life of our republic.

  3. As usual, the debate was another lefty attack on Trump. Wallace, who is a Dem and sided with Biden, both attacked Trump. Wallace did a softball job on Biden. More and more Fox is turning left with only a few shows left that turn right. As Andrew Briebart clearly recognized early on, the left must be quickly and constantly confronted on the lies they tell. Trumps debate performance was exactly that, and it’s the only way to beat the left at their sick game.

  4. The left thought they could sneak in and take over while the minions would remain ‘brand loyal’. When necessary, the sleeping giant can be awakened. We are in such a moment. You can tell by the absolute hysteria of the ‘connected class’ and their irrational hatred of Trump. A guy criticized for the very things they overlook if the politician has a D after their title. And even that isn’t enough, so they go to the old standby, the ‘big lie’.

    Meanwhile the democrat gets endorsed by the top ‘white supremicist’ and nobody asks why.

  5. Good article. I like your psuedonym, by the way, originally used by Mike the AI in “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress”.

  6. This is the essential, clarifying, “Flight 93” piece of the 2020 campaign.

  7. That may have been the best AG article of the year! You certainly woke me up! I wasn’t sleeping, but I certainly was dozing. I was utterly put off by all the interruptions and epithets. I turned the debate off after about 10 minutes. I was dreaming the dream of polite discourse. The time for trying to argue one’s case with a lefty passed eons ago. Time to get down and dirty! I’m sorry Donald. I’ll never second guess you again.

  8. Am I right in assuming that the sentence that currently reads “Remember, Trump’s approach is only imprudent if we aren’t “based” enough to recognize the need for it”, should actually read ‘Remember, Trump’s approach is only imprudent if we aren’t “biased” enough to recognize the need for it’? The word ‘based’ doesn’t make sense in the context, whereas if the original word was ‘biased’ the sentence makes sense. Was the original word intended to be ‘biased’? Hopefully this is of some use.

    • Mr. Hansen,
      I was confused by the use of the word “based” as well. However, I discovered in hovering my mouse over the underlined word in the article, it links to an definition that I had never heard. Perhaps it will make more sense to you after reading this definition. I am still struggling a bit with the nuance, but my new understanding of that definition definitely put a different spin on it for me.

  9. Got to wonder if “Sophisticated Assassination” and “way you can” includes leaving a virus on a podium at a debate.
    We’ve seen worse.

  10. I do detest the ugliness of it all, but our side didn’t start that. They did. Antifa, BLM, #MeToo, all the Leftist nomenklatura – they started this ugliness and they keep it up no matter how friendly we try to be. It’s the old saw about bringing a knife to a gun fight. We were bringing history, law, morality to the table; they showed up with molotov cocktails, ball bats and pallets of bricks. Words and persuasion are useless against that.

    • Correct we must fight the fight they are bringing us! politeness gets us dead.

  11. How can there only be two comments on this piece??? It’s one of the best I’ve ever read about the existential threat before us. Bravo not Adam Selene! Very impressive, and I’m sharing this with everyone I know.

  12. Love the pseudonym! Real name wouldn’t by any chance be Mycroft, would it?

  13. Thanks for making me feel better about what I thought was an awful performance by both parties. Trump was ill-prepared to take real shots at Biden and thought he could win by just winging it. That’s not going to work. Even taking your premise into account (and it is true, of course), he needed to prepare his ammunition and he didn’t. I wish I could hope that it will be different next time.

  14. Man, this may be one of the best articles ever written for the time we’re in right now. It is SPOT ON. There is NO DOUBT if Trump loses (which can only happen because the election was stolen) then we’ll have no choice but to fight, no sane person will ever allow themselves to be ruled by Biden, Harris, and Pelosi, that is not even an option, because they are 100% Demonic.

  15. I also loved the debate. I wished Wallace had shut up and let them go at it, but he clearly was there to make sure Biden got bailed out when in trouble. People have forgotten how Biden treated Ryan eight years ago and was declared the winner after talking over Ryan and mocking him the entire time. He tried it again on Trump, and Trump turned the tables on him by beating him at his own game to the point Biden couldn’t even count to three without help. And for all the bedwetters wringing their hands about decorum, Trump overwhelmingly won the debate according to Telemundo and CSPAN viewers, and his poll numbers have risen since.

  16. Wow, this one went into my reading list and I’m sharing it with many. Spot on!!

  17. I loved the debate for all the reasons you presented. I could have written the article myself! (But not as cleverly, of course.)

  18. There are some attention-grabbing points in time on this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There’s some validity however I will take maintain opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish more! Added to FeedBurner as well