Letter From The Train 10 21 2016 Parsing the post debate world…

As the train moves north, the Hudson River is steel grey while bordered by trees with leaves of rust, gold, crimson and green.  The beautiful day on Tuesday is a but a memory; this Friday ride is on a day of grey and chill, with intermittent spits of rain.

My niece, Kristen, and I texted each other throughout the debate, commenting on both candidates.  While we both support Hillary, we are not immune to her faults.  It seemed such an effort for her to smile and when she did, it looked so forced as to be painful.  But being on the stage with Trump must have been painful for her.

The candidates did not shake hands before or after.  I don’t think I remember that happening before.

It was no effort for Trump to be dour and sour.  It is his natural state it seems.

During the first part of the debate, he held it together better than he had and looked like he was on track to do what he was supposed to do – not lose his cool.  But then he did; not as badly as before but enough that he was damaged and more Republicans are distancing themselves from him.

Somewhere after about twenty minutes, he began to lose the thread, veering off the script someone must have given him.  Calling Hillary “a nasty woman” may hurt more than he ever meant as it might well be a catalyst to some women who had been leaning toward him to back away.

The thing he said that had most up in arms was his failure to agree to accept the result of the election. He’ll keep us “in suspense” on that one.  Newspapers around the country led with his statement.

Trump clarified later.  He will accept the results of the election — if he wins.  It also seems he has backed away from that a bit more, saying he would, maybe.

Donald called Hillary “wrong” when she said he had supported the Iraq War before it began.  Hillary told people to google “Donald Trump Iraq.”  And many did.  There is the evidence, in a tape on Howard Stern’s Radio Program, of Trump supporting the idea of the war before it had begun.

Hillary claimed her plans wouldn’t raise the deficit.  That’s doubtful.  Trump refuted claims his plans would raise the deficit by twenty trillion dollars, double what it is.  He claimed that it wasn’t true because he would create so many jobs.  Also doubtful.

Every year of a presidential election, there is the Al B. Smith Dinner to raise funds for the charitable foundation named after the man who was the first Catholic to run for President.

Hillary was on one side of Cardinal Dolan and Donald was on the other.  The civility and joking that is the signature of this traditional dinner was soon lost to hostility.  Trump was booed when he went over the line by saying something like:  Hillary is here pretending she doesn’t hate Catholics, a reference to a WikiLeaks released email from her campaign expressing concern about conservative Catholics.

But they shook hands at the end, an event that was announced from the stage.

President Duterte of the Philippines is in China, where he has declared that his country will “separate” from the United States as we “have lost.”  However, he didn’t give China the carrot they really wanted.  He won’t walk away from the 1951 deal that gives the US bases in the Philippines.

Duterte is quite the character.  He has been accused of mounting squads of killers when he was a Mayor.  The Philippines Senate is looking into those charges and some senior officials have been saying: oh no!  He didn’t mean separation.

He has compared his crusade against drug dealers and users to Hitler’s Holocaust.

The battle to retake Mosul carries on while at the same time, IS has launched an attack on oil rich Kirkuk with suicide bombers and gunmen targeting police.  In Mosul, Iraqi fighters have made significant gains, probably better than expected.  But Kirkuk pointed out the shift in IS tactics to “pop up” attacks rather than holding territory.  And that even when vanquished from Mosul, they will not have been defeated.

In forty or so minutes, I will be back in Hudson.  In my mailbox, it is my hope, is my Cozmo, my robotic toy, which I hope will divert me from the trials and travails of the “real” world.

Though my world has not been harsh to me today.  Last night I watched my friend Todd Broder present to the NY Video Meet-up, had dinner with a friend and, today, breakfast with my friends Meryl and Ray before a pre-op physical [my eye] and now the grey ride home…

Later.

 

 

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