A shining city on a hill is in the gutter

Ronald Reagan spoke of America as a shining city on a hill.

Bill Clinton said he still believed in a place called Hope.

Donald Trump urged a white supremacist group to “stand by.”

Remember the date: Sept. 29, 2020. It is the date America was never so pitiful on the world stage.

For it was on this night that an American politician took the last vestige of the democratic process he hadn’t violated — the debate — and destroyed it.

The presidential debate, an imperfect but reasonable opportunity for American voters to evaluate the credibility of the person who wants to be the president of the United States, on this night became the playground of a spoiled child — who happens to be in his 70s. If he were a child, an adult would have sent him to his room without a bedtime snack, and then grounded him for a few days.

Instead, on this night, his third wife smiled at him lovingly after he showed zero respect for his opponent and for the debate moderator. For what it’s worth, the third wife refused to kiss him, and he never attempted to kiss her, when she joined him briefly on the debate stage.

There is no reason the next two presidential debates should be held. If Donald Trump is going to treat Joe Biden, the debate moderator, democracy and reasonable American people with such contempt, then he ought not have the stage. Leave him to hold his rallies wherever he’d like to hold them. Give him his phone so he can tweet to his heart’s content. Let him call the occasional press event in order to tout whatever it is he wishes.

But don’t dare force the American people to suffer through another 90 minutes of contempt.

On this night, Trump made his base feel quite good. He threw gas on every possible political fire he could find. He refused to admit mistakes. He said that a noted white supremacist group should “stand by” should the November election not go well.

He showed no grace. He showed no class. He showed no decorum. He showed no leadership.

On this night, I was never so embarrassed to be an American.

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