By Ricky Browne
Yesterday’s US Vice Presidential debate was a remarkably civil affair, compared to the previous week’s Presidential debate, with the most contentious moment happening when a black fly landed on Vice President Mike Pence’s white hair, just at the point when he uttered the words “the greatest insult”.
With increased protocols in place to make the auditorium as germ free as possible, including 12 feet of separation between Pence and Senator Kamala Biden, a plexi-glass divider between them and the enforcement of mask wearing, it might have been assumed that the area would have been designated a no-fly zone.
But sadly that was not the case.
“Black flies matter!” tweeted angus c, showing shot from The Exorcist, where a priest was covered in flies while performing an exorcism.
Pence was speaking at the time of the landing about the presumption that the United States was systemically racist being a “great insult.” At that moment a fly landed on Pence’s head, a moment that seemed to go unnoticed in the auditorium, but which sent social media into a frenzy.
“This presumption that you hear consistently from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris that America is systemically racist ,that as Joe Biden said that he believes that law enforcement has implicit bias against minorities, is a great insult,” Pence said. At that precise point the fly landed but the Vice President continued unabated, saying “to the men and women who serve in law enforcement.”
#flygate imediately started trending heavily on Twitter, with memes abounding of Mexican mothers or Kamala Harris herself attacking the fly with a swatter, and references to the horror movie “The Fly”, culminating in the quote, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
Another person tweeted, “There comes a time when a fly must stand on his own 6 legs, and speak the truth. Our time is now.” That person had the name The Fly on Mike Pence’s Hair, and included a photograph of a fly speaking to a microphone saying “I just couldn’t stand by and listen to his lies any longer.”
But it may not have been the first time that a fly (though perhaps not this particular fly) interfered with US politicians on camera, as people tweeted video of President Barack Obama previously continuously swatting at a pesky fly and successfully killing it during an interview in 2009.
Another tweeted a photo of a fly on Hillary Clinton’s eyebrow, with the note “Hillary did it best.” That happened to her during her second Presidential debate back in 2016.
Could it be a sign that like Clinton, Pence is about to find himself voted out of favour? If so, could elections soon be decided by flies or soothsayers who are able to read signs from the insect animal kingdom?
But despite the trending, the debate wasn’t only about the silent and audacious fly. The debate was also notable for the respect that both candidates appeared to handle both the event and each other. Both were adapt at not answering questions when it suited them, and both were able to eat into their allotted time.
They were quite evenly matched, and both looked like they were level-headed enough to take on the role of President if it was required.
At one point, Pence actually praised Harris for her candidacy and what it represented.
But Pence also highlighted Harris’s record of being a leftist, having been recognized as the most liberal of senators in 2019. More so even than Bernie Saunders, Pence noted.
Harris tried to avoid coming out in support or not of the New Green Deal, but did say that she and Biden would not put a stop to fracking.
Harris also avoided saying whether or not a Democrat government would increase the number of supreme court judges if they should win.
Both avoided talking about the possibility of becoming president.