The second debate is over, and it was like staring at the sun. That debate was ugly. There’s too much to say. I’m not sure where to begin. Overall, it was entertaining. The opening speeches were OK, not great, almost eerily tame. They both knew this was going to turn into a geriatric boxing match. It turned ugly very quickly once Trump’s recent controversial comments came up.

They didn’t shake hands. It’s been noted by many and felt by most that a level of civility has left our culture. That became evident as the debate raged on. This week we as a people have infected ourselves with Trump’s statements. Trump’s ‘grab the P’ tape has interested everyone, not because of political reasons, but because we’re easily distracted. In fact, it seems like distractions are wanted.

The emails came up once again – and that’s fine – but it’s sad there hasn’t been a press conference by the Clinton campaign to answer the question from the media fully. It adds to the drama and theatre of the debate. In the positive news, there was a decent discussion on Obamacare and some more detailed discussions on taxes. But, bear in mind the bar is low on policy detail this election cycle.

“Because you’d be in jail,” Trump said to Clinton. I knew he had to come out swinging and he did. In this debate, Trump kept on his message. He played his cards as he intended to. He kept hold long enough to make sure each card touched the table in a row promptly. That might be an overstatement, but I feel like he was boxing in there, not just flailing and sniffing. That is to say, he didn’t lose his mind, and it seems, had an idea what he wanted to do. Trump quotes things, brought stuff up, and tried to use facts and observations. The last debate I just felt like he went down weird tangents and it seldom made sense to me.

I was surprised that Trump made sense on Syria. Hillary gave stock answers that some may like but doesn’t add up. He got it more right than Hillary for sure. I believe the Hillary stance is that the military and intelligence will figure it out – and she can write checks they’ll cash. They prop up the idea that the army and intelligence are so smart and so capable they can make the impossible happen.

Trump questioned the utility of military intervention in Syria. Trump questioned whether or not, by way of questioning the identity and validity of the rebels, there was in ousting Assad right now. He fundamentally challenged our Syrian policy – which is the right thing to do. That opens a conversation to solving problems, not furthering them with the confidence you know better than others. Earlier in the debate, Trump mentioned that ISIS is a product of a vacuum left open by lame Iraqi policy decision making. He’s not wrong. Although this iteration of ISIS is an evolution, that’s been set in motion for some time.

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A ‘no-fly zone’ would mean war with Russia and Syria if it expanded to include the totality of air space in Syria. Aleppo is not the only location of atrocities and civilian deaths. The entire country is under siege by one faction or another. Why would we stop with Aleppo? The best solution, similar to chemical weapons, might include using Russian ADA assets to establish a ‘no-fly zone.’ Russia must be a part of the solution. We can’t allow post cold war peace to completely turn ablaze.

‘No Fly Zone’ requires War

Amid rising U.S. talks of military strikes against the Assad regime, this Russian video was disseminated.

Russia video / Information Operations message to Western attack possibility

To sum up Syria, we have two roles, there. We want to wear down the Assad regime to facilitate a political solution that would not require a U.S. direct military confrontation. Our other goal is to military defeat ISIL, where, of course, the military doesn’t have the legal ability to enter and do as such. This is because Syria remains a country, with a government, that we openly endorse for it’s up-ending. Our effort to run down the regime is not made overtly but in secret. Indeed, these are not boots on the ground, however – to destroy ISIL would require boots on the ground.

If Syria chooses to do something about it – they’re justified and will have roped Russia, China, and Iran into the effort as these nations have authority to conduct ground operations to quell an insurgency. The heart of the Syrian dilemma rests in air defense and superiority. It’s the linchpin of international security. This nuanced look wasn’t even hinted at during the debate.

Instead, Hillary said she wouldn’t use ground troops to take out ISIL – which is not possible. She went on to suggest Special Forces aren’t technically boots. Indeed, we wear boots – not crocs or air jordans. If ISIL is her top national security priority why would she not commit ground troops to remove this dangerous cancer from the global society? The war has gone nowhere and to say Special Forces and the way we’re employing them is working is blatantly inaccurate. Assad is in a better position this year than he was last year. Foreign internal defense at the hands of Special Forces, namely.

Assad is better position this year than he was last year. Foreign internal defense at the hands of Special Forces, namely 5th Special Forces Group, has proved invaluable in Iraq. Because they’re there – present and share the load instead of sending off untested war virgins into a bloody war zone to fight something they can’t win like in Syria. Special Forces are boots on the ground, and no one knows how to defeat ISIL without SF boots present for the job. Except to say it would on tack at least ten years to the fight. This is lunacy and sets up bizarre campaign promises that can’t come to fruition. The public wants action taken against ISIL and not a deliberate destruction (even if that might be best for us). Because Syria represents a problem that exists in real life and time, the debate and this election become “reality” television.

Which brings me to my final takeaway of the discussion and where we are culturally. As a society so much is a scandal, sensationalized, ridiculous, over the top, fantastical, and not based on reality.  From the people I’ve met that are my age, millennials, looking for love to what they read, and the sheer amount of attention seeking Instagram and Facebook posts. It’s unnerving that this cultural phenomenon has engulfed everyone.

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It seems like the hysteria and intrigue that began with Howard Stern, and Jerry Springer has taken over politics. We’ve discussed intensely personal character attacks and observations about these two candidates. Which may be okay to a point – but we’re way beyond that. We spend nearly 2/5 of the debate discussing, yep – you guessed it – pussy grabbing. As rare and singular an opportunity it is to use those words in that combination when discussing a presidential debate – it’s saddening and maddening. This is bad.

The video generated interest, more than anything else this election, not because people are paying attention to politics – but due to the very opposite. They’re now interested in what’s going to happen, next. All while, our problems persist. Our education system requires a serious discussion. Social Security solvency remains untouched in a serious debate. These issues affect everyone in this country.

Instead, they fear dramatic ISIL videos and actions. Lewd commentary has generated the most attention.

Idiocracy is beginning to look like our future. I half expect the next episode of Jerry Springer’s Presidential Debate to reveal Trump is Chelsea Clinton’s father.

Featured image courtesy of www.nydailynews.com.