When I was in college and participated in debates; while not ON the debate team and not part OF a debate club, I always got an A grade when I wrote a debate, even when I had to argue a point I disagreed with, and I never, not once ever, said the words “believe me” during the minutes I was speaking. One, because I learned, perhaps in middle school, that when you are making a case for a position, or making a point, or stressing a topic’s worthiness or uselessness, the facts that you are using to argue your point, or that you believe will state your case and stress your position, must speak for themselves. And two, because the words ‘believe me,’ are generally understood to be included when a person is lying, trying to appear to know more than he or she actually knows, or is so self-absorbed and of the know-it-all mind-set, that they say the words ‘believe me’ to simply put the emphasis on the me…ego stroking oneself. I learned that the term “believe me” is more like a phrase one would hear from the snake oil salesman, rolling into town when so many are sick or down on their luck, in his brilliantly adorned wagon, with over the top decor and thick velvet draperies with tassels of the finest ribbon…oh…well, wait…
You see, I was taught in junior high, high school, AND college, that if one uses a term like “believe me” during an initial position statement or rebuttal, I most certainly would not receive a grade of A, and if I was ignorant enough to use that term more than once in my presentation and did not use facts, statistics, scholarly journals, court cases, registered documents, published research, or books, I would perhaps get an F. A big fat F. Kind of like a big fat bubble, ready to burst, kind of like a big fat loser sitting in bed wasting his days as a computer hacker trying to get into the emails of the DNC. That kind of big.
All I know for sure is that what I watched last night was so painfully juvenile in its delivery that any thinking person, any informed person, any person with even basic levels of knowledge of the world in which we live and how it works, whether in all its many failures or all its many successes, would be positively mad to think that this person last night on television performed well, or let me go out on a limb here and write, even acceptably, considering the “prize.” This is not an effort to get an A in debate class. This is an effort to demonstrate to the undecided voters of our country that this choice is what they want and the other choice is what they don’t. It was an opportunity to sway some of those who are confused and I don’t imagine that it was a success.
Believe me, it was embarrassing to think that about half of the people with whom I share the title of ‘registered voters who vote’ will be voting for this person in November. If I was from another planet and these believers, these purchasers of the snake oil, these people who think all will be great again if they drink the Kool-Aid, were from their own planet, I’d more easily believe that this was happening…but some of these people are people to whom I am related and love, they are people who live in my little neighborhood, they are people who shop at the same grocery store I do. Believe me, I am shocked that, after last night, they could still think, or believe, that this person is a good choice, or who represents their best interests…but here is the biggest shock of them all…some of them are so sure they don’t want the other person, and know without any doubt who they will vote for in November, that they likely did not even watch…and today they will watch their news programs and listen to the sound bites and nod their heads and just believe that somehow this person is going to shake things up in a way to put our country in some other, better, direction…that anything will be better than what they have had the last eight years…I believe that for those who did watch last night, the majority already knew who they would vote for in November anyway and they just wanted to see how it was going to flow.
Believe me, what I saw last night was horrifying to my understanding of both the English language and grammar in general, and debating in particular. Believe me, I went into last night’s event feeling a bit disheartened anyway, because the person for whom I did vote in the primary, and did believe was the right choice and the best choice for the country in which I live, was not the candidate speaking for my side, but I still thought it an important, meaningful, and valuable way to spend some time…I care about the country I live in, I care about the earth that feeds me, and I care about the universe that we all share. Believe me, if you did not watch last night, you should have. Believe me, if you still think this person is the right person for you to vote for in November, after watching last night or perhaps reading the transcripts today, I am shocked by your brain and how it processes information, but because I respect that we all have a right to think what we think and believe what we want to believe, I accept it. I respect your right to be wrong, just as you must respect mine. I don’t know if any undecided voters were guided last night to leaning in either direction. I don’t know if anybody who watched last night would have her mind changed by what she heard, or lean in a new and different direction by what he saw. I don’t know how one side’s people can claim the debate a success after what I saw and heard last night, because to me, it was clear that one person had facts, statistics, and clear details to support the statements made and ideas put forth, and the other person had only the powers of the purported ‘very good brain.’ If I was a college professor, and last night I had two students in front of me and I had to write in my grade book today, one would get an F and the other would not. Believe me, with all that time to prepare, I’d think that student who got the F, did not really care what I thought.