By Stephanie R. Jones
At a presidential debate watch event Sept. 26, in Jackson, it was clear the crowd was pro Hillary Clinton. About 100 people gathered for a viewing of the historic debate at the Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity, Inc. as Secretary of State Clinton squared off against businessman Donald Trump.
The candidates were questioned by moderator Lester Holt on issues ranging from national security to race relations in the country to their plans to grow the U.S. economy. There were lots of sighs and grunts as Trump stated his case without actually replying to questions asked and continually interrupted Clinton and the moderator during the debate.
Reactions from attendees were generally that Clinton was the stronger, more prepared candidate in the debate. Sharon Bridges, of Rho Lambda Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., which co-sponsored the watch party along with Women for Progress, Jackson Professional Group and S.T.A.N.D., said what stood out for her was Trump’s failure to “provide one iota of evidence of what he will do to assist with racial reconciliation.”
“I think it was an interesting debate. I really enjoyed our crowd tonight I think everyone was engaged in the conversation,” said Willie Jones, president of Women for Progress of Mississippi, Inc., which sponsored the watch party. “I don’t know if we found out a lot new tonight,” she said, but the conversations have started. “I thought Secretary Clinton had valid points on economic stabilization, racial reconciliation, problems with bringing the country back together again, looking at police violence, criminal justice reform,” Bridges said.
“I was listening intently to her responses on those issues.” Kathryn Perry, president of WPBQ 94.3 radio said she was impressed with how Clinton handled herself against Trump. “Especially on questions of race relations as well as pointing out Trump’s business dealing,” Perry said. State Rep. Kathy Sykes said Secretary Clinton was very prepared for the debate.
“And tonight truly showed that Donald Trump is not fit to serve as president of the United States. The issues that were raised around law enforcement, race and economic development, Clinton’s answers were on point and Trump just wasn’t prepared.” The national media reported heavily about Clinton’s preparation for the debate, some even saying she was “too prepared.”
To that she answered, “I think Donald just criticized me for preparing for this debate. And yes I did. And you know what else I prepared for? I prepared to be president. And I think that’s a good thing.” Jackson City Councilman De’Keither Stamps said more involvement from veterans is needed in the political process.
“We got a big question to ask ourselves about where we want our country to go,” Stamps said. “What I’m calling for is for veterans to get involved because civilians are tearing our country apart. About 40 percent of all civilians in office need to be replaced by veterans. Just like we built this country after the American Revolution, after World War II, after Vietnam, veterans came back and invaded the system and that’s what needs to happen with this generation of veterans.”
Jim Griffith, CEO of Griffith Financial Services, LLC, said the most important part of the debate was the character of the candidates. “It was the quality of the answers as it relates to the American people and what’s important in regard to national security, creation of jobs, employment education and racial equality for all Americans,” Griffith said.
Stephanie R. Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 454-0372.