Wednesday’s vice presidential candidate debate between Vice President Mike Pence and challenger Sen. Kamala Harris was a breath of fresh air compared to the first presidential debate. Although neither candidate sufficiently answered several of the questions posed to them, both were civil, even in moments of disagreement.

Boring by comparison as it is, that’s how it should be. That was an example of exactly what Pence talked about when answering the question of an 8th-grade student on the divisiveness that’s overtaken America.

“In America, we believe in a free and open exchange of debate. And we celebrate that. ... Don’t assume that what you’re seeing on your local news networks is synonamous with the American people. ... Here in America, we can disagree, we can debate vigorously as Sen. Harris and I have on this stage tonight, but when the debate is over, we can come together as Americans,” he said.

The vice president spoke on the example set by Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, both now deceased. It’s been learned that Ginsberg and Scalia, who were polar opposites on the political spectrum, were great friends. That’s how it used to be in America, and that’s how it needs to be again.

Despite their debate performance flaws, Pence and Harris were cordial for most of the evening.

Now, that said, I do wish both candidates had better answers to the questions asked by USAToday’s Susan Page. Independents, like myself, are likely to determine the outcome of this year’s presidential race. The candidates have locked in the votes of their bases, and so the more information each ticket can provide, the better the chance they have of swaying the middle ground’s vote.

Still, it was nice to come away from a political debate without adrenal fatigue, anxiety attacks and overall depression. It’s not too late to be civil to one another, even in moments of disagreement. At the very least, the debate proved that.

Klark Byrd is the managing editor of The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6960 or

Managing Editor

Klark Byrd is the managing editor of The Paris News and the editor of Paris Life Magazine. He resides in Paris with his wife, Krystle, and their three children, Charlie, Annalise and Willow.

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