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A combination picture shows U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaking during the first 2020 presidential campaign debate, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, on Sept. 29, 2020.BRIAN SNYDER/Reuters

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Make me wanna shout

Re Shouting Dominates Presidential Debate (Sept. 30): Joe Biden missed a glorious opportunity to publicly demand that there would be no subsequent debates unless moderators be given discretion to mute Donald Trump’s microphone.

Adam de Pencier Toronto

Donald Trump so debases the very idea of debate that I think the honourable choice for Joe Biden would be to not participate in any such future debacles. It’s as if he agreed to play golf with an opponent who ignores all rules and makes up his own scoring system – which Mr. Trump likely does when he plays golf.

Paul Thiessen Vancouver

Donald Trump’s repeated interruptions upended the debate, perhaps intentionally. In contrast, Joe Biden finally turned away from Mr. Trump and spoke directly to the people.

More worryingly, Mr. Trump’s boorish performance, deliberate lies, racism, denial of science, along with revelations about his taxes and millions of dollars in debt, show that, win or lose, he represents a threat to U.S. democracy. He is likely to drive many Americans to the polls to vote for Mr. Biden.

Even then, Mr. Trump would still be in office until January. This is not a comforting thought.

Vincent di Norcia Barrie, Ont.

Imagine telling the person holding the highest office in the land to “shut up, man,” and calling him a liar to his face – in public! The fragile surface of civility in the United States is cracking. Who knows what horrors will emerge.

Marianne Orr Brampton, Ont.

Here is what I saw: a President who ignored the agreed rules of debate; who disrespected Joe Biden and the moderator; who lied continuously; who did not talk directly to U.S. voters; who encouraged the Proud Boys to take action; who did not smile even once.

Mr. Biden, in quiet desperation, told Mr. Trump to shut up once and later called him a clown. Do these few comments amount to 90 minutes of equally out-of-control behaviour?

Astrid Budd Toronto

Is it me, or did last night’s so-called debate reveal that neither candidate is suitable for the Oval Office? What Americans (and the world, for that matter) need is real leadership, driven by informed purpose, guided by maturity and delivered in a responsible and respectful manner.

None of that was evident to me last night. That is the real tragedy, and we will all likely pay for it the next four years, one way or another.

Mark Spurr Toronto

The best response to the debate came from our family room, when the dog left his favourite chair, jumped on the couch, sat on the remote and turned the television off.

Sandra Hare Oakville, Ont.

Whither Canada?

Re Throne Speech Fallout (Letters, Sept 29): A letter writer asks if Canada’s federal system could actually “work.” Well, like, kind of.

We can leave it to the federal government and have a dreaded “one size fits all” approach, or we can leave it to the provinces and have a dreaded “patchwork quilt.” The letter writer can take her pick.

Patty Benjamin Victoria

House money

Re Gateway Casinos Receives $200-million In First Funding From LEEFF (Report on Business, Sept. 29): The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility is targeted at large, profitable companies that are having trouble accessing capital from public markets or traditional lenders.

Gateway Casinos, the first recipient, is owned by Catalyst Capital, a Canadian private equity firm that has leveraged its asset up to $1.15-billion to pay for the purchase and subsequent acquisitions. It struggled under this debt load and was unsuccessful in selling the company well before the pandemic.

As a taxpayer and a MEC member, I find it disturbing that our federal government is bailing out a distressed gambling business, while a non-profit co-op potentially ends up with U.S. private-equity ownership. Building back better should mean protecting more large businesses like MEC, which encourages Canadians to explore our country and supports many community causes, versus providing lifelines for casinos owned by private equity.

Roger Straathof Calgary

A multimillion-dollar gambling company banks on luring hordes of hopefuls to risk their money, despite knowing that, in the long term, the house always wins. This time, for a change, luck has turned against the house, with Gateway Casinos mired in debt and blaming COVID-19. But hey – it’s getting a $200-million federal bailout.

In effect, Gateway gambled and lost, but Ottawa is covering the bet. It appears to have convinced the government that Canada’s fiscal renewal can depend on gambling dens.

Sure enough, there’s a sucker born every minute.

Doug Bale London, Ont.

Made in Canada

Re Ottawa Probes Azerbaijani Use Of Canadian Military Tech (Sept. 30): I don’t understand why Canada keeps selling military equipment to countries with suspect human-rights records, then expresses surprise when it is allegedly used in conflicts. What did the government think these countries were going to do?

Luke Mastin Toronto

If Canada is concerned about its international reputation when Canadian-sourced military equipment may be used for the purposes it was designed, then the simple answer is to stop issuing export permits, particularly to questionable allies such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Paul Clarry Aurora, Ont.

Comfort in Camus

Re Disciples Of Disease (Opinion, Sept. 26): Like many others, contributor Mark Kingwell has seized on Albert Camus’s The Plague, because its title probably provokes an easy recognition of our comparable situation with all its life-denying absurdities.

However, I find that our fast-paced, panicking sensibility doesn’t match the slow-moving cultural understanding of Oran’s infected people. Instead, our instant living seems more in tune with the perpetual sameness of the seemingly unbearable life experienced by the main character of a different Camus work: The Myth of Sisyphus.

We, who anxiously check our online statuses to define our states of being, share many compulsive habits with the rock-and-roller Sisyphus, who is always minding the position of his burden. His inevitable fate is representative of our own pandemic state, where every existential moment of lockdown and isolation is indistinguishable from before and after it.

But Sisyphus smiles; his resistance is not futile. He transcends his absurd predicament by keeping on. The trivial pursuits of being can become heroic defiance that fashions a self-image sufficiently powerful to sustain oneself.

We should follow Sisyphus’s model. Now is not the time to give up. Life is for living, no matter its habitual nonsense.

Tony D’Andrea Toronto

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