By Beatrice E. Rangel
It took Alexis de Tocqueville three years to create the USA brand.
And from its launch in 1835, it has been the most successful political brand. Its name stood for good government, ability to build consensus, respect for ideas and above all faith in the redeeming virtues of self-government.
This brand excellence endured a civil war, five recessions, two world wars, two pandemics and a terrorist attack on the homeland.
But on September the 29th it took 90 minutes for the brand to collapse.
As 200 million people worldwide watched in disbelief, the current and aspiring occupants of the White House tore down every bit of the USA brand.
President Trump interrupted both the moderator as well as his opponents 174 times in 90 minutes. This is every two minutes. None of such interruptions were enveloped in public policy proposals, but rather in personal attacks.
Mr Biden, on his turn, did nothing to make his opponent abide by the rules.
The result could not be more catastrophic. The world saw live the unraveling of the USA brand.
The destructive impact could not be more pungent. French post-debate headlines describe the event as "worrying for America's democracy."
In the UK political analysts indicated the event to be "a dark, horrifying, unwatchable fever dream which will surely be the first line of America's obituary."
According to Pew research, the U.S. image after the debate hit record lows all over the world with young people being particularly disturbed by the roughness and lack of concern for viewers displayed at the debate. Pew concluded that the worldwide credibility gap vis-à-vis America's chances to reinvent itself after the Covid-19 crisis widened enormously.
The debate indeed was the denial of the essence of America's character as created by the Founding Fathers -- brilliant people who disagreed among themselves on almost everything but had one concept clear: they were part of a nation and the nation was greater than all its parts.
This was the idea that allowed diversity to come together, dissent to find limits and above all to conduct public affairs with civility and parsimony.
This quality of the American collective ethos has made the U.S. stand apart from the greatest nations of this world. And it is this quality what has attracted the best talents and most devoted citizens to stand behind the star spangle banner.
Not anymore -- the magic has been destroyed in 90 minutes of a reality show that can only compete in crassness with Bad Girls. The ostentatious lack of civility, disrespect for ideas, and sheer assault to viewer intelligence will certainly make television history. Unfortunately that history heralds a silent but growing discontent with the U.S. and the betrayal of the values everyone in this world thought it stood for.
Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.
For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.
You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.