Stuff my dad says (that applies to debates)

Published 2:14 am Saturday, October 1, 2016

Monday’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was the most watched ever, with an estimated 84 million people tuning in, according to Nielsen. Count me among them.

It was interesting to watch, and even more interesting to study reactions. I listened to conservative, moderate and liberal commentators analyze the performances.

When my sister-in-law called to say she’d argued with her best friend over politics, and her friend made her get out of her car, it seemed as though there was surely more to the story.

But national polls show Carol is not alone.

According to a Monmouth poll, 7 percent of people said they lost a friend directly because of the presidential race. Slightly more supporters of Hillary Clinton reported losing friends than did Donald Trump supporters.

Seven percent reported also ending friendships due to past elections. A full 70 percent of those surveyed say this election has brought out the worst in people, compared to just 4 percent who said it has brought out the best.

In the aftermath of all of that, I couldn’t help thinking about things my dad says.

  1. There are two sides to every story – my side, your side, and the right side.

The conservative commentators scored Trump higher after the debates; the more liberal said Hillary won. Not surprisingly, the friends I follow on social media had similar opinions. If they plan to vote for Trump, they generally thought he won. Ditto Hillary. Our perceptions of stories are colored by our “sides.”

  1. It costs you nothing to be nice to people.

Oh, my goodness, I must have been told this a million times. Some people haven’t. I respect your right to support who you support and believe what you believe. I don’t have to agree with you, but I don’t have to argue with you, either.

Related: Presidential debate schedule


  1. Today is the best day of my life.

Daddy is 78, runs two weekly newspapers, and outworks lots of young people I know. Ask him how he’s doing and his immediate response will be, “Today’s the best day of my life.”

I have read and heard comments from so many people who have expressed their discontent over the two major party candidates.

“What has our country come to,” they say. “I can’t stand either one of them.”

Even as polarized as our country currently is, we still have a pretty sweet deal. The truth of the matter is, that if you woke up in America this morning, you had a pretty dad-gum good day.


Michele Gerlach is publisher of The Star-News.