I imagine Chris Wallace was in his dressing room before the first Presidential Debate prepping himself in front of the mirror, similar to this bunny (below) embarks on his own professional obligations — obligations which I can’t presume to know.
Wallace undertook a constitutional expedition, heading into a room likely sprinkled with Covid-19 to moderate an acrimonious war of words and attempt it with the integrity of a tenured journalist. And you thought your QBRs were tough.
The media and social opinion afterwards were harsh at the very least. People were not happy with Wallace’s inability to corral the two (mostly Trump). You try calming two grandfathers who have the platform to yell a political equivalent of “Get off my lawn sonny!” without commercial interruption. We were supposed to be watching a scheduled debate in the name of constitutional discourse — not pugilism from opposing porches on the first days of a crisp Fall. But we should have known this would happen. In Maya Angelou’s words, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” However, based on social media’s response, most viewers followed Don Draper’s rule, “People tell you who they are, but we ignore it, because we want them to be who we want them to be.” From what I saw, Trump, Biden, and Wallace, anecdotally the combined age of 223 years old, were exactly the men we’ve gotten to know over the years.
Chris Wallace did his job like any other. It was honorable and worthy of applause. The way leftists discuss Trump evince some to believe he and his supporters are beneath you. His bravest supporters, do the opposite, lift him to divine, celestial standards. He is neither. Chris Wallace treated him as neither. Chris Wallace followed his gut to be as invisible as possible, the appropriate thing in an important debate. Wallace was given a hell of a job — the first presidential debate between Trump in Biden during a year as cunning as 2020. I’d be surprised if anyone else could corner Trump and expose his support for White Supremacy. I think Biden also did a great job — going overboard in name calling just enough to show Trump and America that he won’t back down to Trump’s erraticism.
Although I’m a Democrat, the amount of reading and research I do to try and understand Republicans and their deepest desires, I’m forced toward more moderate views that would likely surprise my peers. But I know that the world is too complex to bucket us as blue or red. We come from places that decide our values for us, and most of us hold onto those values because they ground us and provide fulfillment and purpose to our lives. So, I saw Chris Wallace, an effective journalist, as a non-partisan human in that debate, struggling to face an incumbent sycophant unlike he’s seen in his entire 72 years. In the circus of this debate, he was our juggling act; balancing order, freedom of speech, the importance of debate, but also Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on blast. As the debate is already long forgotten as news in 2020 moves a mile a minute, I hope Wallace knows there’s a collection of Americans that thank him for a job well done.