I've always considered myself a proud American.
We have so much to be thankful for. We enjoy freedoms that many people around the world could never dream of.
And we have a political process which allows all Americans to take part and choose our leaders.
Debate is a big part of that process, in my estimation. It's good to be able to hear the differing views of the candidates. The theory is, obviously, that an informed electorate will make a wise decision when it casts its vote.
It's a system we should all be proud of. It's a system we all should be involved in.
But Tuesday night, I was just ... embarrassed.
I was embarrassed that our political process had spun into that kind of monumental train wreck.
A debate between the President of the United States and his challenger should never break down into pure folly. And that's what happened when President Donald Trump and Joe Biden took the stage.
I've watched presidential debates for years. Sure, we've seen heated exchanges from passionate folks who wanted very much to lead our nation. But at the end of the day, there was respect and dignity.
Well, respect and dignity have left the building.
Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News was ill-equipped to handle the WWE brand of "debating" we were forced to endure on Tuesday.
I wouldn't have been shocked had Trump hit Biden with a steel chair. It was that absurd.
I have to think the President enjoyed the chaos — because chaos has always been his ally. He chirped constantly while Biden was trying to talk, drawing pleas from Wallace to adhere to debate decorum. Biden responded to Trump's constant interruptions and bullying with anger and name-calling.
It was two old guys bickering and barking — there certainly weren't many revelations to come out of this dumpster fire.
In short, we all wasted 90 minutes that none of us will ever get back.
Throughout the entire process, one thought kept crossing my mind: With all the brilliant people in this great nation, these two guys are the best options to lead us?
That's the saddest revelation of all.
JEFF NEAL is the Editor of the Commonwealth Journal. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @jnealCJ.