The headlines said it was a disgrace, a national embarrassment, and a shitshow, but the debate wasn’t any of those things.
Donald Trump was, and why don’t we say so? Putting his actions in the passive voice, as things that happened rather than things he did is to show how little has been learned since 2016 and how successful he’s been at normalizing the unthinkable. Putting all that on the debate, rather than the president, lets him off the hook for behavior so frightening that parents who let their kids stay up to watch rushed them off to bed early. Watching the president spew hot air and bile could have put them off civics class and voting for life.
The metaphors all missed the point. Trump isn’t a bad boyfriend, an overbearing boss, a drunk uncle, a crackhead, or a mansplainer. He’s a menace to life, liberty and democracy and America as we’ve known them. The problem wasn’t the debate; it was the last four years with this miserable human being polluting our minds, a living, breathing doom scroll equipped with the nuclear codes.