After seeing Thursday night’s debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, we commend the Commission on Presidential Debates on its new rule muting the microphone of the candidiate waiting for his turn to speak. The mere possibility of having their microphones muted seemed to keep the candidates respectful of the clock.

However, when the timer was not threatening a shutdown, the talking over one another continued.

Politicians have demonstrated rudeness to one another during debates for decades. Somewhere along the way, the theory that bullying equals domination must have been adopted by both parties. We all know there is no situation in which bullying is appropriate, and interrupting one another on the debate stage serves only to make it impossible for viewers to hear what is being said and keeps the moderator from covering all the subject matter.

There is likely no way to control the bickering short of duct-taping the mouth of one while the other speaks. It’s unfortunately the way politics has devolved over the years. Perhaps society has accepted it because they are politicians with tough skins and they can take it. Maybe we accept it because, sadly, many have little respect for our leaders and we expect the worst. Maybe candidates are so full of passion about the topic they can’t control themselves.

Or maybe individuals feel as though there is little we can do to express our discontent with what happens on a national and international stage.

It’s true, there is little we can do. But we can vote our conscience.

The series of debates was an attempt to inform the public about our choices for president. However, we again learned more about style than substance during debates.

In addition to watching debates, we should put party affiliation aside, read newspaper stories and take in a variety of sources of information if we truly want to learn what candidates’ intentions are. Sure, it requires time and focus, but good, honest government and strong leadership are worth our time.

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