Watching what some called the most important vice presidential debate in
history, I was struck by the ease and eloquence of both candidates.
"You are entitled to your opinions but not to your facts," calmly unleashed,
scored a rhetoric bullseye as if from a master sniper. A political vet, facing
icy charges wrapped in catty questions, the Vice President carried himself
admirably. He stated his unflappable points, sometimes unrelated, and
fought back with the nonchalant precision of a machine. Over the entire
show, he hardly broke a sweat.
Sporting the smile of a winner, the California senator was undaunted and
ferocious in her attacks and defense. "I am not going to stand here being
lectured on my record" she roared when questioned on her past work as attorney
general. From her own immigration heritage to the story of Abe Lincoln, she
obviously was well prepared to invoke the emotions many share.
Charisma aside, the content of the debate, including the points argued and the
facts cited, were nothing unimaginable. Neither caught the other off guard. The
whole scene tonight felt like a choreographed and well rehearsed drama.
Nonetheless, these were world-class actors and the deliveries were impressive.
The late Patrick Winston (an MIT professor) used to teach his students that a
person's worldly success depends on three things including how well he speaks,
how well he writes, and the quality of his ideas, in that order. The debators
tonight seemed to have demonstrated how the mastery of the English language
(and themselves) has catapulted them onto the national or even world stage.
As a first-gen East Asian immigrant, I have struggled to express myself in
English at work. I lost temper often when I felt being blamed and the accusations
in fact had some teeth. It was frustrating that I couldn't offer an effective, let
alone eloquent, apology. "To honestly express oneself," as Bruce Lee said 50
years ago, is literally what I have been trying to achieve.
I noticed that often Harris and sometimes even Pence were taking notes and
understood that they were learning and honing their skills. That was part of
their job. In continual learning, they are role models.