As I watched Mr. Trump's behavior last night, feelings grew within me that were not at all political. I felt worn out, fatigued, put down, oppressed, overwhelmed and bullied; then disappointed, then irate, then angry, then scared. These responses were made boldly understandable when I listened to a post-mortum commentary by MSNBC's Nicole Wallace: She described Mr. Trump's behavior as frankly "abusive."
Now I viscerally understood. In a small, all be it vicarious and totally sheltered way, I and the the whole nation had an insight into the personality defects that produce abusive behavior toward defenseless children. I found it painful to understand what would happen to me - as an adult, never mind as a child - trapped in a home dominated by a man like Mr. Trump. Painful to see. Sad for our country and confusing to understand how 30% of Americans support him no matter what.
Then comes another insight as I read the papers this morning. Surely the debate was controversial and Mr. Trump's behavior was notable. Nonetheless, a good many of the pundits, although critical, find a whole dictionary of words to describe Mr Trump's outbursts which are much more neutral, diplomatic, and polite than able to recognize the dramatic abuse. In a complimentary fashion, almost unanimously they are not able to recognize the calm patience and resilience inherent in Mr. Biden's mostly successful efforts to at least survive if not rise above the storm.
Short videos of this debate would make excellent teaching material for explaining and experiencing abusive behavior.