But we need to get better at finding ways to disagree on matters of policy while agreeing on questions of decency and civility. How we talk to each other, treat each other, respect each other. - Hillary ClintonThere is a political tradition in America, where both presidential candidates share a stage together for the last time before the election. It is at the white-tie only Al Smith Dinner to raise fund for charity and hosted by the Archbishop of New York.
It is a lighted-hearted event, where both candidates would traditionally give humorous roast speeches to poke fun at themselves and their opponents. This year it featured Hillary and Trump.
With Trump being Trump, he did took it a bit far.
Some say, Hillary had her unsavory moments too and had acknowledged and apologised for it. Nevertheless, her final words are profound and worthy for us, Malaysians to ponder, reflect and emulate.
A little bit about Al Smith in his memory the dinner was held.
It started in 1945 after the death of Alfred Smith, a four time Governor of New York (1919-28, 1923-28) and Democratic presidential candidate cum first Catholic candidate in 1928.
The man described as progressive reformer lost to Herbert Hoover and the reason was said to be 3P - Prohibition, Prejudice and Prosperity.
A repeat must be avoided as there are similarities to our experience in Malaysia. [Read about it in Wikipedia here.]
Hillary paid tribute to the first Al:
In the end what makes this dinner important are not the jokes we tell but the legacy that we carry forward. It is often easy to forget how far this country has come.The message for us Malaysians; Muslim or Christians, irrespective of faith and party leaning, to ponder:
And there are a lot of people in this room tonight who themselves, or their parents or grandparents, came here as immigrants, made a life for yourselves, took advantage of the American dream and the greatest system that has ever been created in the history of the world to unleash the individual talents and energy and ambition of everyone willing to work hard.
And when I think about what Al Smith went through it’s important to just reflect how groundbreaking it was for him, a Catholic, to be my party’s nominee for president. Don’t forget – school boards sent home letters with children saying that if Al Smith is elected president you will not be allowed to have or read a Bible. Voters were told that he would annul Protestant marriages.
And I saw a story recently that said people even claimed the Holland Tunnel was a secret passageway to connect Rome and America, to help the Pope rule our country.
Those appeals, appeals to fear and division, can cause us to treat each other as the Other. Rhetoric like that makes it harder for us to see each other, to respect each other, to listen to each other. And certainly a lot harder to love our neighbor as ourselves.
I believe how we treat others is the highest expression of faith and of service. I’m not Catholic. I’m a Methodist, but one of the things that we share is the belief that in order to achieve salvation we need both faith and good works. And you certainly don’t need to be Catholic to be inspired by the humility and heart of the Holy Father, Pope Francis. Or to embrace his message.Her roast speech in full below:
His message about rejecting a mindset of hostility, his calls to reduce inequality, his warnings about climate change, his appeal that we build bridges, not walls.
Now as you may know, my running mate, Tim, is Catholic and went to Jesuit schools, and one of the things he and I have talked about is this idea from the Jesuits of the Magis, the more, the better. But we need to get better at finding ways to disagree on matters of policy while agreeing on questions of decency and civility. How we talk to each other, treat each other, respect each other.
So I’ve taken this concept of Magis to heart in this campaign, as best as one can in the daily heat, the back and forth of a presidential campaign, to ask how we can do more for each other, and better for each other. Because I believe that for each of us, our greatest monument on this earth won’t be what we build, but the lives we touch.
Trump looked in pain to put up the fake smile on his face. His campaign surrogate, Mayor Gulliani lost his sense of humour and was obviously not humoured. The odds are already 2-1 stacked against Trump.
He spoke but was embarassingly out of depth. He could not get out of his usual incoherent vitriol even if he tried to.
Hillary's speech was far more entertaining and witty than Trump's. As politician, Hillary was better with her words and knows how to use them for her own benefits as she jab jokes at Trump. She is more classy and subtle in saying the same, "Donald you are fired!"
Trump was far from it. CNN commentary analysed Trump's awkward behaviour:
Both are either politician or pursuing political office and some level of scepticism on them is only expected. However, there is a lesson to be learned by both sides of the political divide here.
In the light of bizarre allegation on 2017 budget, misinformation, and childish unparliamentarian behaviour on Friday, rivaling politicians should be reminded that decency and civility will always win the day.
National leadership will only be for those with the suitable intellect and temperament. Unfortunately, last Friday saw a leader with some level of temperament begin losing it. Yet, still not meet the temperament of a leader on the opposition side.
For all those politicians in Parliament, shower us, the politically fatigue with your fact, intellect and ideas as expressed with eloquence, civility and wit. Save your drama, propaganda and indecencies to the past.