Not Even in Jest by Diana Shaw Clark plus Details about the 1st Presidential Debate, Monday, Sept. 26

We've been hearing a lot about the challenge facing Hillary Clinton's debate prep team as they struggle with thinking like Donald Trump.

This makes perfect sense to me. Not because it's hard for any linear thinker to know where Trump's squirrely mind is going to go, but for reasons grounded in common civility and our collective sense of humanity.

The challenge Team Clinton confronts is less strategical than metaphysical. I'd imagine that taking on the role of Trump, even for the noble purpose of defeating him, would feel like pouring lye on your soul. The corrosive effect would be immediate, as the stand-inhears himself defy all standards of honesty, decency and grace; saying what should be unutterable and proposing what ought to be unthinkable.

I once interviewed an aspiring young actress who made her screen debut playing a corpse. She was more than an extra because the corpse was pivotal to the plot and the camera lingered on her for some time. She said that she thought playing a dead person would be kind of funny, sort of a lark to kick off her career. What she discovered instead was far grimmer. "I suddenly felt as if I might really be dead."

At first I wondered why this long-ago interview came to mind at this time, why it should seem to me that inhabiting the body of a dead girl is in any way analogous to inhabiting the mind of the most vile man in American pubic life.

And this is it: Yielding our mortal selves is not so different from yielding our moral selves. Americans value life and the spiritual qualities that sustain it. While Donald Trump's campaign lumbers along, drained of vitality by his vicious, soul-sapping swipes at America's fundamental values and those who cherish them,

Hillary Clinton's campaign is animated by compassion and sincere regard for one another. Our Cri de Coeur, "Stronger Together" invites all hands on deck to revitalize the public lifethat is mortally threatened by Donald Trump's dispiriting assault on the common good.

So while it may complicate preparations for the Presidential debates, the reluctance of Clinton surrogates to assume the role of Donald Trump signals our campaign's healthy regard for humanity and our determination to defy the death of all we hold dear.


September 22, 2016

Q and A on the first general election Presidential Debate.

When is the first general election presidential debate?

The first general election presidential debate of 2016 will be held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York on September 26.

What time is the debate and how long is it?

The debate will start at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time and run for 90 minutes without commercial breaks.

How can I watch the debate?

It will be broadcast on all of the major television networks, as well as the websites for major cable news channels and C-SPAN.

Who will participate in the debate?

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and celebrity real estate mogul Donald Trump. No other candidates qualified.

Who will moderate the debate?

Lester Holt, who anchors "NBC Nightly News," will be the moderator. It's his second time serving in that role in the 2016 presidential cycle. Holt was also a moderator for the Democratic primary debate on January 17. On February 15, 2015 Holt became the substitute anchor of NBC Nightly News after Brian Williams was suspended. Four months later he became the permanent anchor.

What is the format of the debate?

The debate will be divided into six segments of 15 minutes each. Each segment will start with a question from Holt, after which each candidates will have two minutes for an initial response and then will be allowed to respond to each other. On Monday, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the tentative topics for the debate: "America's direction," "achieving prosperity," and "securing America." The topics are subject to change based on news developments, according to the commission.

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